Maybe I’m just not motivated enough but I really have no desire to go and climb Mount Everest, or any other mountain for that matter. I just don’t see the point. Heck, I’m not even going to climb a set of stairs if I really don’t need to do so.
I don’t have an issue with mountain climbers, or anyone else who sets huge, challenging goals, but it’s just not my thing.
A lot of people have taken to the idea of writing a bucket list; a list of things they want to do before they die. There are some things I’d like to achieve before that day comes, whenever it may be, but I won’t be adding mountain climbing to my bucket list. I also won’t add things like living in a villa in the south of France, sailing solo around the world, jumping out of an airplane, or inventing something that will revolutionise the world. All of those are fine goals but it seems to me that many people add unachievable goals to their bucket lists and then spend the rest of their lives miserable that they haven’t achieved them yet. Bucket lists can be a great tool when used correctly but they can also be an excellent way of living a very unfulfilled life.
One of my concerns with some bucket lists is that they turn life into a ledger of extraordinary experiences which may or may not be achievable. It’s as if life can only find its true meaning in the accomplishment of random items on a self prescribed list. We tick off each item once it’s done and then head off to find the next momentary thrill. It’s as if we need to take our focus off the everyday to seek some kind of greatness when in fact our true greatness is most often found in how we deal with our everyday lives. I wonder if we are diminishing the value of what we already have to seek after something we don’t really need.
What are some of my goals in life? To marry a beautiful and intelligent woman who I deeply love. Check. To have a couple of wonderful children who I absolutely adore. Check. To have good friends that I can depend upon. Check. To work in a job that I enjoy. Check.
They might be ‘ordinary’ goals, but they’re real and will continue to provide a greater satisfaction than some of the wild goals that many other people see as essential.
Of course I’ve had my fair share of extraordinary too. I’ve cycled across Australia five times, battled Indian traffic on a bicycle a number of times, escaped a foreign city in the grip of rioting, cycled beside the Canadian Rockies and lots more, but none of that brings the satisfaction of a life well lived with people I love.
Sure there are other adventures I’d like to make a reality such as seeing the Tour de France live or travelling more extensively, but those desires will continue to take a back seat to the contentment that comes from doing the ordinary as well as I can. I refuse to let everyday life suffer, or blame it for holding me back, just so that I can tick items off a list.
If you feel you really need a bucket list, you might want to add a few ordinary things to that list. You’ll find an excellent start at the very funny post
50 Amazingly Achievable Things To Do Before You Die by Mike at Fevered Mutterings.
How about you? Are you finding fulfillment in the everyday? Are there still some goals you’d like to achieve? How important is a bucket list for you?