I was fascinated by an editorial in yesterday’s Post called Why you should swap your bucket list for a chuck-it-list, by Valerie Tiberius. If you can access it I certainly recommend it to you. It dominated my thoughts yesterday especially since I sent it to my friend Robin who supplied me with several other resources on the same theme. (You will be hearing more on this subject, for sure.)
Valerie begins by saying her seventy-five year old father announced on his birthday that he was giving up an item on his bucket list — learning to be fluent in Spanish. She goes on to say, “He seemed a little melancholy about it, but mostly relieved that he no longer had this piñata of shame hanging over his head. Best of all, he adopted a mental heuristic for this goal-no-longer that I believe has liberating potential for everyone: Learning Spanish, he told me, was now an item on his “chuck-it list.”
Now I’ve been making lists and resolutions all my life, and I certainly have a bucket list that includes a visit to the Grand Canyon and many other items and dreams, but recently I have come to understand Valerie’s “Piñata of Shame.”
She goes on to say, ” Focusing on pursuing our goals often leaves us running on a treadmill of desire and frustration. The solution to this problem lies in choosing which goals to pursue. The mere pursuit of a goal won’t promote your well-being — you have to be selective. This is where the chuck-it list comes into play.”
I am a big believer in goals and dreams, but Valerie makes a point. It is time for me to scratch off playing for “The Bears,” finding a cure for cancer, and flying first class to New Zealand off my bucket list. Valerie reminds me that, “Discarding goals that we really care about is difficult; failing to complete them can elicit sadness or regret…. When you move things to your chuck-it list because you can’t physically do them anymore (e.g., a marathon), there’s also likely to be a layer of disappointment about aging and the reminder of mortality. The same can be said about goals on a bucket list made impossible by financial constraints or time limitations: They force us to come to terms with circumstances beyond our control.
So what do we do with our beloved bucket lists. We can empty them by actually doing what we really want and are able to do, and chuck the few that never made any sense anyway. Valerie suggests: “As you age, you grow into a different person with new priorities; your goals should evolve, too. Give yourself permission to remove those items you’ll probably never get to. And most important: Don’t feel so bad about it.”
Of course now my children are saying to themselves, “Oh no, now Dad will be sending out a “Chuck it List,” for us to read.”