Everyone loves a gift. Big, small, funny, quirky, silly or practical; we say it’s the thought that counts. Meaning the thought is more important than the actual gift. But sometimes, every so often, the actual gift can mean more to the person than the original thought.
When I left my last job in Australia, I was genuinely sad. I had been with the company for 3.5 years and grown attached to the brand and the people. I felt lucky to have worked with the people there especially my work bestie and my boss who quickly become my mentor/work Dad.
On my last day, I had a goodbye lunch, speeches, gifts and drinks. My gift was picked out by before mentioned work bestie so I knew it was going to be good. Inside my box was a collection of things including a book – the bucket list.
I thanked everyone, and remember thinking at the time it was a really thoughtful gift, then slid it away in my bag and went right back to downing doubles.
It was until a few months ago – New Year’s Eve in fact when I was reflecting on an amazing 2015 before heading off to Hogmanay (which btw was the best street party ever!) – I realised how powerful the gift actually was.
The bucket list
You know what it is. You’ve probably seen the movie. Oxford dictionary terms it;
A number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to have or accomplish during their lifetime
But the origins of the word stems from the phrase kick the bucket aka when you die.
And that, right there, is the flaw with the concept. The problem I have with the depictions thrown around by Google, urban dictionary and the movie is the idea that it’s the things you want to do before you die. Which to me immediately makes the idea of accomplishing or even writing one seem like a task for the future, not now.
But the bucket list is about the NOW. It’s about reminding us to live in the moment and go after our dreams before it’s too late. There are no guidelines for what a lifetime constitutes. And we never know where life will take us. So why would we wait to write our lists? And what are we even waiting for?
On the flight to London, I wrote my list. I filled out the book with all the things I want in the near future. Things like where I want to travel to, food I want to eat, things I want to learn, events I want to go to, experiences I want to have and the people I want to meet.
It became my personal ‘to do’ list for this new chapter. And you know what? My journey in London has been shaped on exactly that – setting out to accomplish that ‘to do’ list.
I’m sure all of us at some point have written one or several ‘to-do’ lists to remind us of the things we need to accomplish to succeed in our jobs. So why wouldn’t we want a ‘to-do’ list for ourselves? A list that reminds us of the bigger picture of what we really want from our life. Not just in the distant future but NOW. A list that keeps us in check, when we start to focus on things that aren’t a priority.
To me, that is exactly what a bucket list is. It’s life’s ‘to do’ list. The most important ‘to do’ list of them all. And the bucket list book – is the gift I’ve received that means more to me than the original thought.