Friday, 1 November 2013

A musing about bucket lists, also Happy November!

Last night I listed to a documentary podcast about bucket lists. It was about this women who had this crazy untreatable cancer but who was currently in remission so she was feeling well enough to travel around and do all the things on her bucket list. It was super depressing and I only made it through half of it before dissolving into tears and switching to something a bit less death-related. (I really need to start doing a better job of weeding out the 'will in no way help with sleep' podcasts).

However, it did get me thinking about bucket lists and their purpose in people's lives and if it is really a good thing. I am not sure what I think about bucket lists. The pro-side would be that having a list of activities to accomplish would be helpful for some people to help them create goals in life and might motivate people to get off the couch and start making memories. It would give someone something to plan around or an excuse to take a trip that they have always wanted to take 'before it's too late'.

My concern would be that if a person made a bucket list and then became more ill ( it seems like people only make them when they get a terminal disease or realize they are reaching the end of their life expectancy) and weren't able to physically or financially complete the list , would they feel like they have let themselves down or feel regretful by not finishing the list? I feel like it could add extra stress or guilt to someone's death that no one needs. I hate unfinished lists so having a physical list of stuff I should have done before I died would stress me out. But I would be dead so maybe that is a moot point.

The other problem I have is what happens when you finish the list? Do you then stop trying new experiences and say that you have finished everything you can? I don't really like that either because no one should ever be finished learning or having new experiences.

Part of my problem is that I  am partially perplexed by the notion of bucket lists because a) mine would be a mile long and I would have to be either incredibly rich or live a very long life to check everything off the list and b) making a bucket list seems a little redundant. I feel like I have taken many of the opportunities that arisen in my life (not all but many) that I don't know how a list of ideas would have helped.

Maybe it is all about just knowing the importance of living knowing that no one is guaranteed that they will have 'next year' to take that crazy trip or jump out of the plane or try the new restaurant or read that book or learn an instrument or whatever. Although, if everyone lived according to that philosophy, no one would have a savings account or try to better their lives for the future. So maybe that is not a good life philosophy.

Hmmm, I guess the middle ground is that it is good to have goals in life and things you want to achieve which is where a bucket list would help but at the same time, if you die before getting the chance to complete everything you want, that doesn't mean you have failed.

I thought writing out my mixed feelings about bucket lists would help me come to some sort of conclusion but that has proven to not be the case. Maybe that is what I get for not listening to the second part of the podcast. Anyone else have any thoughts about bucket lists?

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