The Bucket List is the New Rat Race
Kelly : ‘ So how was your trip to Spain ? ’ Me : ‘ It was Fantastic ! ’ Kelly : ‘ You went to Ibiza, didn’t you ? ’ Me : ‘ No, I didn’t have enough time left for it ’ Kelly : ‘ Oh NO !! If you go to Spain again, Ibiza is a MUST for your Bucket List ! ’
All the energy that I had gathered from Barcelona to Madrid along the high speed Euro Rail had suddenly disappeared into thin air. Oh what a blunder I had committed, I thought to myself for not including Ibiza into my travel itinerary ! However, this conversation was my inspiration to writing this post, of how bucket lists have become the new rat race of our times.
A decade ago, high paying jobs, fancy automobiles and electronics, a well furnished home were the popular items on one’s bucket list. As we progressed and our standard of living skyrocketed with higher purchasing power, we consumed more and more of these big ticket items, reducing the value of materialism considerably. Having too much had lost its sparkle and the definition of success had changed.
Enter EXPERIENCES !
Sure, we can have everything, but its time to downsize, sell everything to make it fit into one tiny suitcase, be a minimalist and focus on the secret to happiness – experiences. While there is nothing wrong with this notion, it has also become a competitive sport of ‘ Who has the best experience ? ’ The comparisons have now moved from the size of your house to the total number of items you’ve checked on your experience-bucket-list.
Have you been skydiving ? Skydiving in New Zealand I hope ? Have you been to Croatia ? Did you try the exotic pizza, 67.83 miles south of Rome ? If you haven’t seen these 5 places before 30, you are NOT LIVING!
Oh yes, this is true and you know it ! It’s a darn race all over again, only this time, the hamster wheel is churning a new formula called experiences. Whatever you do, wherever you travel, it is no longer enough. There must be something that you missed along the way — that local ice cream place, the scent of fresh flowers along a path unavailable on Google Maps or the strength of rapids while river rafting !
Give me a break !
An entire industry has flourished catering to the needs of those seeking to invest in experiences instead of things. Travel overseas to a place with a complex language and currency, experience the culture to come back and show off some of the phrases you learned in a foreign language and adorn your minimalist home with the cute souvenir you found in the middle of nowhere.
Your competition is getting fierce and this time you don’t just have your neighbors flaunting their experiences, but an entire world on social media telling you how their experience is a must for your bucket list. Even your photos are no longer good enough and you must own a DSLR and practice some professional shots before you decide to hop on that bus to the Eiffel Tower.
You have been doing everything wrong if you aren’t doing it differently from others. If you are doing anything remotely common, your experience is worthless. Our fulfillment in life must now only be attained by ticking items on a list that has been carefully curated by an industry selling you experiences.
Experience is the New Product — and before you start assuming this is a post to rant about current times, it most certainly is not. It is to simply illustrate the chaotic nuisance a simple concept can create where even if you view the city of Paris from the balcony of Gustav Eiffel’s top floor apartment in the Eiffel Tower, your spirits will be dampened for avoiding that beautiful winery in the south of France.
Stop letting others define YOUR bucket list !
You don’t have to pressure yourself into visiting a winery if you hate wine. You don’t really need to purchase a professional camera if you hate lugging around an extra piece of luggage. There is most certainly no need to hike the Everest if you hate cold weather !
Keep it simple. While you are relaxing on your couch enjoying the weekend, there is always going to be someone out there trying to convince you to dip your toes in Plitvice Lake in Croatia and while this is devaluing your personal experiences, it is also causing a large amount of mental stress.
Realize that this is just another promise to happiness on the new hamster wheel of bucket lists. And like most of the major questions, the answer to this problem also lies within you. It is your responsibility to understand your needs and create that bucket list of your own willing.
Don’t seek validation from the world by showing off. Stop with the selfies from every destination or restaurant you visit. Avoid reacting to others when they try to define real happiness for you.
You could be living anywhere in the world, in the most common circumstances and ensure that you are enjoying your time. With the people you love and care about. Creating some beautiful memories on your phone camera, without the pressure of adjusting the ISO setting on it. Savor the present moment by evading the distractions of a shiny bucket list the world is trying to force you to adopt.
Your present moment is completely and wholeheartedly yours, holding you close and waiting to be cherished.
What you Seek cannot be found in a list, but has been Within You all along.
Carpe Diem !
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