Saturday, April 18, 2009

Make This List Before Your "Bucket List"

Blowing Up the old Old!

This post is in response to Pop Art Diva’s Saturday Soapbox, “
Do You Have a Bucket List?”

I loved the movie, The Bucket List, with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. Most people have a “bucket list” in their minds—things they want to do before they “kick the bucket.” This delightfully mismatched pair of characters really got into it in a big way, traveling the world to complete their quest, even though they both had terminal illnesses. Their last-ditch "do-before-dying" included items of wild abandon like skydiving and emotional completion—a reunion with an estranged family member.

We hate this reminder, but life itself is terminal. We just don’t know how long we’ve got on this beautiful planet. My awareness of this fact has become more acute now that I am over 60, a number it pains me to type!

As I’ve contemplated my List, I’ve had a strange but wonderful realization. Many of the exotic travels and accomplishments I have hoped for, off and on in my life, pale in comparison to what I already have—and have done. This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:

Happiness isn’t getting what you want; it’s wanting what you have.

It also reminds me of the key to all manifestation and joy I have learned by living with eyes open to insight. Happiness stems from gratitude. Grateful receivers appreciate life’s gifts and continue in the flow of prosperity and divine surprises. By getting into the habit of being thankful for what you already have every day, it may surprise you how you’ll trim that Bucket List down to manageable size! Let’s face it. This could be helpful. After all, even if we live to be 100-plus, we are still in the second half of life with only limited years to achieve our goals.

It’s usually easier to see how the gratitude principal works in someone else, because we are so close to our own desires, the longings that lead to the Bucket List. Often we’ve been wed to those wants for so many years; we are not objective.

I saw how it works in someone I have been wed to for 11 years, my husband. When medical issues changed his life dramatically, he was lost and angry and understandably depressed. Over time, I have seen him transform into someone who is truly content. He loves our home nestled in nature, our pets, our life—and especially me. (Lucky me!) Stripped of the outer trappings of work and other externals that normally contribute so much to our self-worth, Tim finally has begun to find it from within—the genuine article.

So, here’s my thought. Before you write your Bucket List, write your Gratitude List. It may shorten the exercise and make it a lot easier for you!

Yes, I’d love to travel more, if and when resources allow. My fantasy trip is to visit the countries of Tim’s/my ethnic backgrounds: Poland and Luxembourg for him, Greece (again), Slovakia, and Hungary for me. We’d both love to go to Australia and New Zealand and to spend more time in Hawaii.

I want to publish books, many of them. But if what I have learned in life is helpful to those who most appreciate it, whether on my blogs, website,Twitter, or a conversation over coffee, I have really lived a life with purpose. I have already received feedback many times that I have made a difference to people.

Maybe your Bucket List, too, is shorter than you think and your life is richer—than you knew, however long or short it turns out to be.
Read these past Cool Saging Conversations:


PopArtDiva said...

Joyce - you expanded so much on my orignial post premise of "you still have time" and added to it by encouraging us to be grateful for what we have and quit "wishing for the moon" (as my Mom used to say).

I think dreams and wishes are the fuel of life but we have to be able to put everything in perspective and your post points that out!

Thanks for participating in the Saturday Soapbox!!

BTW, Slovakia, huh? I'd like to see Czechoslovakia as my mother was full blooded Czech.

Susannah said...

Good post Joyce, I actually watched that film just last week!

I agree gratitude is so important and the more you are grateful, the more you have to be grateful for.

My list hasn't been written because I can't think of anything to put on it! I hope that is a good thing or maybe it just needs more thought.

As long as me and the people I love are healthy, happy and know they're loved, and every day is appreciated for what it holds, and all the moments are savoured, and the beauty of life is breathed in and noticed, that will do for me.

Joyce Mason said...

Thanks for your Comments, PopArt and Susannah. I think we often spend so much time wishing for things we don't have; we don't even notice that we have already made many of our dreams come true. Humans love having something to reach for, and I'm all for stretching and growing. But sometimes it's good to just sit, be, and appreciate where we are and what's right in front of us, within reach. When we live with these complementary ideas in tandem, I figure the movie title we could be talking about is "It's a Wonderful Life." :)

Eileen Williams said...

Oh, Joyce, you HAVE made a difference in people's lives. I know because I'm one of them. You bring your "cool insights" into all you do and share a vision that always inspires me.
I, too, have learned the importance of gratitude in my life. I confess that when I was younger, I was into accumulating and wanting more--not just material things but "more" in many areas.
The gift of age and some perspective on life has taught me that I already have all I want or need... I just need to learn to appreciate these gifts for the blessings they truly are. Thanks for your beautifully written reminder!

Joyce Mason said...

You are so welcome, Eileen, and thank you for telling me that I make a difference to you! It is so reciprocal. Your blog gives me new food for thought every week. I love it!

I believe part of our current economic woes is the universe's a way if exposing not only the greed of corporations, but to help us rethink wants versus needs. Another opportunity is learning how to put our values into our handling of money, time, and materiality. I made a little bracelet last year with the word ENOUGH on it. I am learning that in every corner of my life, and it is liberating. I'm finding my balance somewhere between an Eastern philosophy detachment and all-American consumerism. I'm happier the more time I spend on that bridge. Thank you for your comment!