Why a Bucket List?

I don’t have a bucket list.  That seems strange for someone who wrote about trying to live the life he wants yesterday.  However, I also wrote about living a goalless life.  That does not mean there are not things I want to do and accomplish, but it does mean I’m simply going to live my life the way I want to (as much as money and time will allow) and see what happens.  I believe a lot of the things that would be on this bucket list will happen without my writing them down on some piece of paper I keep in my wallet.

The question I’ve been pondering is why people create bucket lists.  I think they are hopeful and aspirational.  I think people create these lists in the hopes that achieving some of the things on the list will make their lives better and/or give them the life they want.  I think people should do the opposite.

Instead of striving to achieve the things on your bucket list to live the life you want, live the life you want and the things on the bucket list will happen.

I started down this road when I found a blog called Zen Habits.  It is a really cool blog by a man named Leo Babauta.  Through that website and along with starting yoga (I need to start my practice again) I started reading Zen and Buddhist philosophy.

There are two things I have gained from this.  This isn’t what the people I have read have said or written, I am paraphrasing and adjusting it to my life.

The first thing is to live life consciously.  You should strive to be mindful and present at all times.  By that I mean understand what you are doing and why you are doing it and also make sure you understand the ripples that come from each decision you make during the day for yourself and those around you.  It is amazing how many decisions we make during the day completely unconscious of what we are doing.  The accumulation of all those unconscious decisions is massive when looking back at your day and at your life.

The other main thing I have taken away from this reading is the only things you can control are your actions.  That means you cannot control how others interpret your actions and you cannot control the outcomes of those actions.  All you can do as a person is be conscious of your actions and its effects on you and others and act with kindness towards others.  Everything else that happens is out of your control.

That is why I don’t have a bucket list.  Wait, there is one more reason.  While striving to achieve all these things on my bucket list in order to give myself this great life, I might miss seeing a frozen spider web just out my window while drinking my morning tea.  Spider web

I might miss a sunset.

I might miss this whole thing called the world going on around me if I’m too preoccupied with doing tasks to make my life better.  The world and this life are beautiful and precious things.  Sometimes we get too caught up in improving both of them to remember and notice that.


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