Anti-Bucket List Gal

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by Suzanne Reisler Litwin

Astronaut Chris Hadfield said it best, “I’m an anti-bucket list guy.  I don’t like bucket lists. That means that for almost your entire life you’re carrying around visual evidence of your own failure. Why do you do that to yourself?”

And… Where did the term bucket list come from? Perhaps it originated from the 2007 Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman film “Bucket List” in which, two terminally ill men escape from a cancer ward and head off on a road trip with a wish list of to-dos before they die. Perhaps the term originated before the film?

Regardless of the origin, the term “bucket list” a thing people like to complete within their lifetime.

I sort of break down the bucket list concept into much smaller parts.  I woke up today and I’m just grateful for that.  My bucket list is done!

Now, I’m going to do something super with this day.  I usually have a plan which I try to stick to.  It could be writing, class preparation, researching or studying new course materials or curriculum development in new courses. It could be a bunch of errands and stuff to do around the house. It could be family matters, friends stuff, and exercise stuff – all kinds of things.

The something super in my day is simply the wonderful of being.  Just being is everything. Today, the wonderful was giving books away to a charity.  Tomorrow could be something completely different.  Maybe the wonderful will be going for a run or working in the garden.

Sure, I love to go to exotic places in the world and experience amazing things.  I just won’t list it or feel bad about not doing it, because the need was documented. If the need is never documented, there is no regret or failure of completion.

Here’s an image which always scares me.  Someone is lying in bed dying and reminding themselves of all the things on their bucket list they did not and will not complete.  When a bucket list is not complete, what you have is a failure.

If you never created a bucket list, you will have a life of success!

However, if you manage to complete your bucket list before you die, I guess you are, in your mind, a complete success to yourself.

I rather just live and be successful at being grateful for just being.

My friend recently jumped out of an airplane. He posted this picture on his Facebook wall and titled it, “Off my bucket list!”  I’m afraid to ask what else is on his bucket list. Actually, I’m not interested in knowing, so we are no longer friends on Facebook.  I’m not interested in seeing him complete a bucket list and at the same time put his life in danger.

I feel life is worth so much more than the danger he seeks in completing his bucket list.

Just being is a gift.  Spend some time in a hospital and you quickly realize the freedom life has to offer.

So, why bound yourself to a bucket list?

I suppose goal-oriented people like to have something to work towards, like a bucket list.  I am a goal-oriented person, but my expectations for myself are quite low.  This way I don’t disappoint myself.

Simply waking up in the morning, feeling good and having a productive day completes my bucket list.

Everything else is just gravy!!!

I wish you a wonderful day of simply being.  Make the most of it, for you!

Suzanne Reisler Litwin is an instructor at Concordia University in The Centre for Continuing Education.  She is a writing instructor at The Cummings Centre. She writes a weekly column in The Suburban Newspaper and at the West Island Blog. Suzanne is a freelance contributor to The Suburban Newspaper, West Island Blog, Wise Women Canada, The Metropolitain, and Women on the Fence. She is the author of the children’s book, The Black Velvet Jacket. Visit suzannereislerlitwin.com to read more of her published articles, books, and poetry.

1 COMMENT

  1. Well said! What you say is something we should remember every day. It’s so easy to get lost in the other “stuff”.

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