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  • Writer's pictureSteph

Bucket lists, anyone?

Updated: Mar 5

A small chest emitting golden light

In my last post, I made the case for not having New Year’s resolutions, now I am coming for you, bucket lists. Joking. I have no beef with a good bucket list, provided that the items on said list are genuinely exciting for the list author and the timeframe is large enough for the activities to be aspirational yet feasible. Before I die, I would like to jump out of a plane, go hiking in the Julian Alps in Slovenia, speak fluent Swedish, and explore Turin - among other things.

As I get to experience some things from my list, new inspiration strikes and new goals are added. Sometimes I look at a list item and it does not excite me any more, so I remove it. My bucket list is a living document and it motivates me to go after opportunities and to work harder so that I can afford to experience all those amazing things. But it’s not just about having the means, it’s also about making the time and having the energy to live that kind of life.

To make sure that this is not just a box-ticking exercise and to savour the moments in between bucket list milestones, I have one more trick up my sleeve. It’s so easy to forget the small things when you keep going and keep pushing. Have you ever done a life audit or similar reflection and when you’re prompted to think back on the past year, you find yourself struggling to remember anything prior to yesterday’s breakfast?

Enter the treasure list.

This is a super simple doc, notebook, or note app where you jot down all the new things you’ve tried and achieved, however small. The fact that you tried cherry curd. The time you had a plumber in and the presence of a hulking stranger in your home did not trigger a spike in your anxiety levels. That new tune that is stuck in your head. The moment you hold a plank for two minutes. Things that felt scary or impossible and then turned from challenges into evidence of your capability.

You can add to that list as you go along or you can ask yourself once a day (or on a weekly basis) whether you’ve tried anything new. It might make you seek out new things and each time you have a pleasant novel experience, it will increase your curiosity a little more - until you go out of your way to try new things that are outside of your comfort zone. And we all know that’s where the magic happens.

You can look at that list at the end of the year to ace that life audit or at the end of a particularly bad day. You can use it as a confidence boost when you feel anxious about an unfamiliar situation and remind yourself that something that you do routinely now without thinking, at some point in the past, felt like a massive achievement. I like to also record new fails under the section heading “awkward moments that totally did not kill me”. But you do you.

What new things, achievements, or insights would go on your treasure list?


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