Thursday, July 1, 2010

You Are Not Your Bucket List

You may have noticed the "50 in 500" tab on my homepage.  I am certainly not the first to come up with a thing. These days everyone has a bucket list of things they want to do and see.  It seems to be a symptom of our generation that we want to make sure that we are getting a lot of things "done" in our limited time on this earth.  A noble sentiment.

Lately, I wonder if this mindset is appropriate for the type of activities that one typically finds on these lists.  For example, some of my "goals" include a backpacking trip with friends and family in the Sierra back-country, and a wine-tasting tour with my mom.  The point of these activities is to enjoy the time spent with people that I care about, engaged in activities that I enjoy doing.  I'm not sure that would qualify them as goals.

When Kalvin and I completed the C2C, one of the most difficult day-treks in the world, it wasn't "having done it" that was important so much as the "doing it."  It was the camaraderie, the effort and willpower that was required for every step, the shitty motivational songs that we made up, and it was the triumphant beer-guzzling at the bar afterward that made it worth doing.  The point is, the photographic summit moments are almost always anti-climactic.  The last steps were no more significant than any of the hundreds of thousands before it.  At the end of the day, it was both less and more than an item to be checked off a list.  Less, because an activity done for no purpose other than "fun" is not properly a goal, and more, because the time spent in exertion and challenge, and in the company of good people cannot be defined so easily as with a check mark.

I am too ignorant of the interwebz to figure out how to change the title on my "50 on 500" tab, but I am going to start thinking about it simply as a Someday/Maybe list of things that I would like to do.  There are no time limits, and there are no penalties for anything left undone.  I will simply resolve to live an adventurous life and trust that this will lead me naturally to spend my time among good friends and good times. 

* Thanks to Juliana and Linda who helped me fix the title of the tab

If you liked this, you might like:

Desert Heat, Vertical Elevation & Testicular Fortitude 
Learning to take it easy


Hansoul Kim said...

i Loved this article.

and if you ask me, "fun" definitely makes for a noble goal. after all, with fun, comes memories, comes laughs, comes tears, comes sweat, comes gratitude, comes growth, comes Love, and is LIFE.

well-written, brotha.

Juliana said...

you has wisdoms.

Trouble.Thinks said...

I completely agree. Good friends & good times. Cheers to a fun, meaningful, adventurous life! :) To all of us!

Annabelle said...

I personally LIVE for checking off lists - I suppose all of my so-called leisure activities are productivity related, so maybe that's kind of gross. But regardless, I like and respect your attitude.

citygal said...

Seriously, I agree. I had a "list" of things I wanted to accomplish before I turned 30, but really I was just setting myself up for failure. Just enjoy life, do what you want, with whom you want, and that's the best type of living. Period.

freckleonthenose said...

Right on. Goals are awesome, but doing the things you love with the people you love is even better.

luckygirl said...

your post makes me think about people that just live and do things just to be able to say they did it to their friends or post it on facebook. drives me kind of nuts. as much as i live by lists i also live for the relationships i mantain and the amount of fun i can squeeze into life. like your blog dude!

Martin said...

Hansoul - Glad you liked it. I agree that fun is a noble use of time, just not sure I should consider a good time spent with a friend as a goal "accomplished." It should be more important than just another item on the checklist, right next to picking up groceries.

Juliana - Has them wisdoms, I has.

TT - Ill drink to that

Annabelle - Im with you. I have checklists for everything. Im trying to step away from the color-coordinated list, prioritized in ABC format, and managing everything from laundry to life plans.

Citygal - Exactly. It doesnt mean dont do those things, it just means make sure you enjoy them for what they are.

Freckleonthenose - Exactly

Luckygirl - Ah facebook...yes, I know what you mean. Life is not a list of accomplishments.

Alison said...

Hmm i seem to remember me making some not so dissimilar comments about your list when i first saw it.

I'm glad you've finally come round to my way of thinking.

See. I'm always right. About everything.

Martin said...

Alison - Funny...I don't remember that. At all.

Anonymous said...

I'm definitely a list person and I do have a bucket list but I also have people who are excited about helping me complete some of my goals.