Have you begun to imagine, to dream about what you will do when Covid has left us? The upside of this awfulness is that it could give us all a boost to go and do the stuff we have put off for too long. You know, your bucket list? Most people have one. I don’t. Im allergic to the idea and come out in a rash at the sound of the term. This is a blog which I wrote a while ago and which I hope is worth re-visiting under our current circumstances.
Soon after I moved back to Ireland from India, many people asked me several questions about my life over there and many also said they would like to take a holiday to India. They said (and still say) it’s on their ‘bucket list’. BUCKET LIST. I imagine there is no soul alive (whose first language is English) who doesn’t know that a ‘bucket list’ is a list of things you don’t want to do today but you do want to do before you ‘kick the bucket’, which means before you die.die.
The stark reality of that word ‘die’. When life is over. Kaput. Never to come back again (unless you’re Hindu). But for me, there are much worse assumptions embedded in the concept. And here they are.
If you have a Bucket List it means:
You are ARROGANT. You’re behaving, viz. making decisions, as if you know when you’re going to die. And that is so profoundly inane that it doesn’t deserve another whit of analysis.
Based on the same silly premise it connotes ILLUSION. You’re allowing your imagination to inform you when your time will be up. Imagination has other uses but that’s not one of them.
You are more prone to OBSTACLES rather than SOLUTIONS in your thinking. Leave aside a trip to India for a second and check out how many times you say in your life ‘I can’t do that.’ If you rack up a goodly number you’re an OBSTACLE sort of person.
You see no way out of POSTPONEMENT. You have neither the money nor the time right now, the kids are too young etc. But it is possible to re-organise priorities. There is a way out. However that takes a shift in attitude. A big mighty effort too. And that is one of the toughest and most powerful challenges of all.
Finally and possibly, especially if you’re middle-aged, you may be prone to MORBIDITY. In a nutshell, you think about your own death too often. And here’s a tip on that one. When you’re asked the simple ice-breaker question ‘How are you?’ don’t answer with ‘Well, at least I’m still alive’. Ho! Ho! That’s a real give away when it comes to morbid thinking.
I’m sure you’ll accept that a bucket list remains a collection of goals, not achievements. A list of would-be actions written on a scrap of paper, figuratively or literally, that will not be actioned anytime soon. Of course there is an inherent but limited satisfaction in at least knowing what you would like to do. But for me that’s not enough. It’s no more than a list of New Year’s resolutions that you formulate in January and come February they have flown out the window into some kind of forgotten mid-air.
Nah! That won’t do at all. It takes a bit more than wishful thinking to make any dream come true. Look back analytically at your own achievements so far, big or small, and you’ll see the evidence.
So why don’t you say goodbye to your ‘Possible Self’ and make the possibility a tangible thing. In other words a reality. A shift in attitude is the starting point. Working out the obstacles of money and time etc will happen only after you hack your way through that attitude that leaves you in the comfort zone of Bucket Lists. And for some that will be like taking a razor blade to quarry the Rocks of Bawn.
And as for pinning a dream, a wish, goal, an ambition around an imaginary date of when you’re going to kick the bucket. Ah c’mon now. You’ll have to leave me out of that one.
But I don’t give up easily. And nor should you. I do hope that one day you too will join my club – the Bin the Bucket List Club.
Will I see you there?
Bibi Baskin is a Motivational speaker and a Wellness adviser who lived in India for fifteen years. She currently lives in Cork. She makes a lot of curries.