I admit that a year ago I hadn’t even heard of the phrase “Bucket List” and even had to ask what it meant. Of course once it was patiently explained to me that it meant “Things to Do Before you Kick the Bucket”, it was blindingly obvious, but the phrase had previously passed me by. One good friend has a Bucket List. She’s doing quite well at ticking things off it, but also seems to add things at a frightening rate, so I’m not sure how that will work.
So for a few months the only thing on my Bucket List was ….. umm ….. to make a Bucket List. Trouble was, I quite genuinely couldn’t think of anything to put on it. This got me to thinking about the nature of contentment, happiness, completeness, and all that kind of thing.
Obviously the big thing on my Bucket List for a while has been to have my own little corner of paradise in Spain, and since achieving that last summer I have been resoundingly, overwhelmingly, radiantly, and rather annoyingly, happy. Happiness tinged, of course, with the loss of my mother after I had begun the purchase, and the sadness that she would never see my Axarquía home.
And that’s a massive item to have ticked off. I’ve been saving up for almost ten years to make it possible (which means it’s mildly annoying when people say “Oh aren’t you lucky!” as though I woke up one morning with the deeds to a house unexpectedly on the doormat).
I wonder if the number of items on people’s Bucket Lists says something about their level of contentment? Or, perhaps harshly, about their capacity for contentment? It seems to me there’s a fairly obvious correlation between a list of things unachieved, and a niggling feeling of discontent. And reading one of the ex-pat forums on the internet, there is quite a number of people who HAVE achieved what might be on many other people’s Bucket Lists, ie to live in Spain (or the foreign country of their choice), yet remain very discontent with it. They appear to have very long Bucket Lists, consisting of (1) change Spanish bureaucracy to be more like the UK; (2) change the Spanish language to be more like the UK; (3) change Spanish laws to be identical to the UK; (4) change everything about Spain to be more like the UK, except the weather.
Then this weekend I listened to a young woman called Helen Fawkes on Radio 4. She is a journalist, now writing a blog called “living with cancer” at http://helenfawkes.wordpress.com . She doesn’t call hers a Bucket List – she calls it a List for Living. I like that. It’s about shaping our lives to how we want to live them, hopefully for quite a long time, rather than about ticking things off so we can head happily towards our graves!
So I’d like to hear what’s on other people’s Lists for Living. This will hardly be scientific, but it would be interesting to see whether people who have made the move to their chosen “paradise” have fewer items on their Lists for Living.
As for me, I have just one item left on mine, and all being well that one will have a tick beside it by the end of 2013. When it has, I shall write about it. Until then ….. I’m keeping it quiet 🙂
© Tamara Essex 2013