I love the holiday season and everything that happens during it. It’s great to see everyone dress up, come together and give thanks over a big meal and then give each other gifts just to say I love you. The three months the holiday season contains can be the highlight of my year, but I’ve come to hate what follows them.
Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate the turning of a new year as much as the next person. Fresh starts are great to have every once and a while. But you can’t have a New Year’s celebration without bucket lists, which I don’t actually support.
I tried having bucket lists for years. Some of my friends and family have also struggled the way I did, but they’re too afraid to start the new year without adding something to their list. Here’s why I gave up mine.
All my life I had this big dream to become a world traveler. I loved where I lived, but when I got caught up thinking about how big the world is, I would practically itch to board a plane and head off somewhere. I’d write down my dream locations on my bucket list with the hope that one day I’d be able to go there.
As I got older, I saw people making smaller bucket list items. Things like trying a yoga class or seeing the Grand Canyon. I felt pressured to make my list more “achievable,” so I wrote down things that wouldn’t require the planning and money that traveling does. When I gave up bucket lists, I started traveling because I didn’t feel the need to wait anymore.
When I wrote down something big on my list, something like seeing the Eiffel Tower in person, I found myself procrastinating. Sure, I could have put money from my paychecks into savings with the purpose of getting it done, but I put money towards the present instead. There were bills to pay and nights out with friends, so my traveling dreams got further and further away.
There’s so many reasons people procrastinate their dreams that having a bucket list is the security blanket that keeps those habits in place. You just don’t know how to start yet or don’t have the time, but that dream is on your list so of course you’ll get to it someday. I only saw the Eiffel Tower after chucking my bucket list, and I’m positive it would have taken many more years if I hadn’t decided to stop writing down my goals and just complete them.
When people think of bucket list items, they usually think of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that take a while to build up to. Those things can be very important, but personally, I forgot to value the everyday things that happened in my life. After I took the time to learn how to love everyday life again, bucket lists began to make less sense.
I took hold of my life and got things done by setting up a time frame and a budget. I also stopped being afraid of doing things alone. Now I’ve grown into a confident solo traveler and I’m making new dreams every day, but it started by valuing the little things.
For some people, bucket lists make sense. It can be good to write down the things you want to get out of life so you can put it up somewhere for motivation or just as a method of remembering what your goals. However, I found that I was putting too much importance on the list itself and forgot that I had every capability of getting my dreams accomplished.
By setting a time frame for what I wanted to do and budgeting the money I’d need, I checked off my biggest dreams and desires, and then I got to have fun setting new goals. I’ve seen more of the world than I originally thought possible, all because I didn’t limit myself by keeping my dreams written on a piece of paper and began to take action.