Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Bucket List-less

Every so often, I come across other people's bucket lists, lists of what women should have done by the age of 40, etc. I was reading one such list of aspirations and wondered if I should try it. It took me half a second to decide, no.

Not that my life is over or anything, but so far, I have had too many wonderful moments that came about in surprising ways to try and plan them. From my life on the cruise ship, to the opportunities blogging has afforded me, to the experiences I've had just from being at the right place at the right time, those are the little miracles that I look back on most fondly.

Granted, most came about because of my goals, ambitions or aspirations. Those are necessary. Those are the reasons we get up every day. And that's what makes those memories so sweet. I put myself out there as an actor, a producer, a blogger, a student, and lo and behold: all these rewards came with it! They're the proverbial pats on the shoulder for going after what you want.

I don't want to make a bucket list of places to go or adventures to have and then, 20 years later see that I've only checked off a few items and be bummed about it!

It's like how I ended up here. None of this could've happened without a few dreams falling apart. What if I'd made a different choice than to have Sylvia? What if I hadn't stayed with X long enough to have Riley? Some of my dreams from childhood may have come true, but I can't really care about that. What I got was so much better.

It's too easy to get tunnel-visioned into what you think you want. As Sondheim said in Into the Woods, "but how can you know what you want 'til you get what you want and you see if you like it?" Or, if you're sick of my Broadway musical references, there's also "you get what you need." I don't want to be so hell-bent on going to Hawaii that I may miss something that takes me to Australia. And if I look back in 20 years on some list that said Hawaii, then that means I didn't do something.

No, I'd rather stick with lists of where I've been and what I've done and count the great memories. And look forward to the unexpected moments to come.


Shannon Entin said...

I agree with you. But I DO like the concept of a "life list." I was introduced to this idea by Karen (Chookooloonks) Walrond - it's not a "race" to get things done by a certain age, but a list of things you would just love to try someday. And if you don't? No biggie. Karen explained how by having a public list, opportunities have actually come her way.

Missy June said...

I love what you said about, "None of this could've happened without a few dreams falling apart. " So true! Great perspective, I think.

BigLittleWolf said...

As one who stumbled on a few bucket lists recently (the items were all over the map) - like you, I'll do without one for now.

Enough lists to get through the everyday. No need for one to pursue both ordinary and extraordinary dreams.

Tara R. said...

I think you're right. A bucket list can so easily go from a 'want to' to a 'failed to' list. Who wants to end up disappointed in what they didn't accomplished, instead of rejoicing in what great things did happen in their lives.