Originally published on Unwritten by Elisabeth Tuck.
I like lists; they give me a sense of control over my life, and a way of measuring my own achievements. If I am crossing things off a list, I feel like I can actually see my progress. It’s the same with my scratch map. I love to see another country revealed, in the same way it was revealed to me when I visited.
Traditionally, the bucket list is mostly associated with travel. It’s also linked to ‘kicking the bucket’ though in reality, who wants to think about death as the end to the adventures? Not me. I tend to adapt the list to something more short term like a 30 before 30 challenge. Maybe I am avoiding the death element, or maybe I just like to see my goals fulfilled more quickly, so that I can move onto setting more.
However you do it, a bucket list can be beneficial in terms of prompting you to think about what you really want to get out of the next one, three, five or more years. It can also act as a tool to portray the distance you have come, when you’re feeling stagnated.
On the flip side, a bucket list only measures the things you have marked down. Numerous times I’ve travelled to places I wouldn’t have planned and experienced things I didn’t know possible. What do I do? Do I add them and cross them off? That feels like cheating!
If you travel a lot, you will know that often the unexpected adventures and pursuits are the best, so writing the story before it’s lived isn’t the best way to go. On the other hand, there are some travel goals that get shelved year upon year, so perhaps setting a time-centred target will help you to get there faster.
At the end of the day, there is no right answer. You might love a list, you might hate a list. If that list encourages you to do one more thing than you otherwise would have, then it is worth it. Remember not to judge yourself only by those measures. Try making a list of the things you have achieved instead and praise yourself for what has happened. No one needs additional negativity in their life!!
I am, and always will be, a wanderer at heart, but I have grown to understand that I cannot know in advance how that will look. It is however good for me to keep my dreams alive on a bucket list of sorts from time to time. As any traveler will know, the dreams keep your mind alive!