I collect nuggets of wisdom, and topping the list comes from a dear friend who died at 46:
Don’t postpone joy.
At our age, where our crystallized intelligence gained from experience is rocking, you’d think we’d know what delights us and do it. But most of us still have a bucket list of “someday” goals we believe will help us hit the joy jackpot and provide us with greater meaning and purpose.
While aspirational goals like traveling to an exotic locale or running a marathon aren’t inherently bad, they’re also built on longing and joy-postponement. So, to improve your life satisfaction today, consider creating something that rhymes with bucket list: the chuck-it list.
A cornerstone belief here at Further is that living your best life at midlife isn’t about having goals for the sake of ambition. Instead, it’s about developing smart habits to support behavioral vs. outcome-driven goals by shifting your focus to being from doing.
To do this, you must be laser-focused on keeping life from shoulding all over you while choosing objectives to tackle. Philosopher Valerie Tiberius suggests this is as much about knowing what you want as it is about what you don’t want.
The solution to this problem lies in choosing which goals to pursue. The mere pursuit of a goal won’t promote your well-being — you have to be selective. This is where the chuck-it list comes into play.
Some things you’ll ditch will be simple; others, not so much. For example, I can easily bounce bungee jumping from my list, but it’s much harder to drop a long-held desire of publishing a novel. This is where the chuck-it list gets challenging.
Kick the Bucket (List)
If a bucket list supposedly brings you joy, its corollary can be painful. Whether you decide something can’t be done physically, financially, practically, or time-wise, you’re left to grapple with negative feelings like regret and sadness. Most poignantly of all, as Tiberius points out:
They force us to come to terms with circumstances beyond our control.
She suggests we shift from a self-centered perspective to a more expansive one to combat goal-related grief. Tiberius notes that her neighbor, a retired pianist and choir director, came to consider the difficult compositions she’d never play a “sweet loss” — just because she’s chucked that goal, she can still appreciate hearing the music played by others.
A bucket list isn’t a catchall, and it’s not the end-all, either. Plenty of new goals and adventures crop up that you’ll miss if you’re focused on a list that reflects an older version of you. Plus, one of the joys of getting older is we have more license than ever before to say those liberating two words (Hint: rhymes with “chuck it”).
Why you should swap your bucket list with a chuck-it list (Washington Post – gift article)