I don’t want to climb a mountain

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?

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About the author

Rodney Olsen

Rodney is a husband, father, cyclist and blogger from Perth Western Australia.

He previously worked in radio for about 25 years but these days he spends his time at Compassion Australia, working towards releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name.

The views he expresses here are his own.

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5 Comments

  • I agree…a bucket that needs filling suggests something is empty in the first place. If the bucket is full already (of meaningful things), it doesnt need filling with experiences that sound great but are endlessly trying to fill a vacuum that will always exist.

  • More thoughts off wiki…Research has identified a number of attributes that correlate with happiness: relationships and social interaction, extraversion, marital status, employment, health, democratic freedom, optimism, endorphins released through physical exercise and eating chocolate, religious involvement, income and proximity to other happy people.

  • John Goddard was a young man when he penned 127 goals, the likes of which you mentioned. To date, he accomplished supposedly111 of them. Whatever a man wants to accomplish, the evidence points to the goal setters as the ones who reap the greatest rewards.

    My goals are more in line with you, Rodney, but I also find much inspiration in the story of John Goddard, who tells what you can accomplish if you really want something.

    I have zalready seen what setting sites has done for me. But as a man with limited income and means, I have traveled across the ocean several times, seen many beautiful places, and learned about other worlds.

    I may evebn make it to Perth one day.

    Tuhan memberkati, Rodney (Bahasa Indonesia for God bless you)

  • I think it’s ok to have goals…even big ones…but we mustn’t let those big goals overshadow our need to be faithful in the everyday and most important things such as loving God, caring for our families, being a good friend, caring for the poor, being good stewards of God’s creation etc. It’s also good to be asking ourselves why we set certain goals. For whose glory?

    I have a few things I’d like to achieve such as writing a book (and then a screenplay and getting it made into a movie) but if those never come to pass, it will be disappointing, but God has mapped out an even better future. Eternity with him. None of our earthly achievements can overshadow that.
    .-= sarah invites you to read From Head to Hand: The End! =-.