I suppose the idea is to create goals. It provides motivation to get you out of that easy chair and do something for a change. “Look at all these things I still have to do with my life.” And some people have had some extraordinary adventures fulfilling their bucket list.
But you know, I really, really don’t want one.
It’s not that I’m more motivated than the next person—there are far more focused and goal oriented people than me. I procrastinate with the best of them. And my life is relatively ho-hum—no globe-trotting adventures in the offing for me.
But you see, I could die tomorrow. Life is fickle that way—anyone can die tomorrow. And when I die, I don’t want my last thought to be, “Gah! All those things I never got to accomplish on my bucket list!”
Don’t I have books I want to read? Of course. And if I don’t read them before I die, I will have read hundreds if not thousands of really good ones in my lifetime. Come visit my groaning shelves.
Don’t I have places I want to visit? You bet. And if I don’t visit them before I die, I still will have visited hundreds of places in my lifetime, with gorgeous views, exciting architecture, and so many wonderful people. Some of these places are within a mile of my house.
Aren’t there new experiences I want to have, people I want to meet, things I want to touch, smell, see, hear, taste? No question. But every single day of my life I experience things, meet people, touch, see, smell, hear, taste things of all kinds. I pay attention.
You know what I want to be thinking when I die? I’m not entirely sure. But, “I ate a good dinner last night;” or “I love my family;” or “That music is beautiful,” all sound pretty good to me. You notice that none of those are regrets.
When it’s my time to die, I don’t want to be thinking about what I didn’t accomplish. What matters to me is what I’m accomplishing right now. Today. Sure there are things in the future I’d like to do. But if I don’t do them, I still plan on being able to say, “I lived a full life.” That’s how I want to live.