Bucket Lists: What Not To Do

Bucket Lists: What Not To Do

Bucket lists are not accepted by everyone, and some people go as far as to fight against them. They claim bucket lists do not increase joy in your life, but take it away.

I disagree.

The problem isn’t the bucket list itself – it’s certain aspects of the bucket list-making (and enjoying) process that get messed up due to our humanness.

But, no need to fret, because there are ways to guarantee your bucket list will bring you maximum happiness. Here’s a quick list to get you started.

Tunnel Vision

One of people’s greatest concerns with making a bucket list is the lack of spontaneity that they can often lead. If you are so focused on parasailing as soon as you get to Hawaii, you could miss out on so many other opportunities.

This does not mean you shouldn’t make a bucket list.

Solution: Make that bucket list and include whatever you want, as broad or as specific as you feel. But do not focus on these items over living your life day to day. You could miss out so easily this way.

Don’t turn down random adventures that may deter you from completing something on your bucket list. Think of your bucket list as a list of guidance, things to do in case you get stuck and want some happy in your life. Don’t think of it as a to-do list. If you don’t get everything done, that’s ok, that doesn’t have to be its purpose.

I missed the opportunity to cross off more bucket list items in order to spend time with this adorable chunk I call my cousin. Priorities, people!

Great Expectations

Even without a bucket list, we’ve all been there before. We think and dream about something so much that when it actually happens, we’re let down. It’s not as fun or as beautiful or as exciting as we always dreamed and hoped it would be.

I’ve fallen into this trap a few times with items on my bucket list too, just as a human who errs is bound to do. I would dream up this perfect moment where I would cross of an item, snap an Instagram-worthy photo, and then be left feeling complete and blissful. The experience was still fun, but, because I imagined it as perfect, it could never live up to the hype.

Solution: Lower your expectations. If you add “See the Grand Canyon” to your list, don’t constantly Google pictures of the Grand Canyon. Do not (I repeat, do not) fantasize about a specific moment where you’ll see a dozen big horn sheep grazing near you, and then you glance up and see the most beautiful sunset behind the most picturesque piece of nature you’ve ever witnessed. The Grand Canyon is beautiful, but nothing can beat your imagination.

If you get real with life, and you understand that not every item on your bucket list will make you feel glorious as you cross them off, then it will be a lot more fun to actually experience those dreams you have. If you catch yourself fantasizing or hyping it up, don’t panic or beat yourself up. We’ve all been there, and it will be ok regardless.

Try to lower your expectations of life as a whole! It can make you happier and realize how beautiful and complex the world actually is.

Avoiding Change Like the Plague

People are not perfect. People make mistakes. People change their minds. People decide they want something different sometimes. People get into moods. People realize they aren’t capable of various activities.

Things happen.

Many people view bucket lists as static and unchanging, or even incapable of being changed.

I admit, I thought this too when I started. I made my list as perfect as I could, not wanting to have to ever change a single word. It was later when I realized that there were a few missing words, a misspelling, and a weird comma mistake, that I knew bucket lists had to be adaptable.

I realized this even more when I was talking with my uncle. I had “Ride an elephant” on my bucket list because I’d seen it on the Internet at some point and I wanted to try that. I didn’t know, however, that riding elephants meant supporting animal torture and actually hurt and endangered the lives of those elephants.

I didn’t know what to do. Did I erase the entire item number and then mess up the rest of my numbering system? Did I just leave it with the intention of never actually completing it? Did I start an entire new bucket list? No I did not.

Solution: I simply changed it. It is now “Hug an elephant,” something completely safe for the animals. Maybe something you wrote years ago just isn’t your thing anymore and it’s not as easy as changing one word. That’s ok! Just erase it and put something else, even if you have to leave it blank for a while.

There is no shame in editing, erasing, adding, and altering your bucket list. It’s yours! You can do whatever you want! Just don’t be so stubborn that you refuse to adapt to life. Life is what this bucket list is all about!