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Why you should put your bucket list in the bin

PUBLISHED: 06:46 19 June 2017 | UPDATED: 14:39 19 June 2017

Ticking off those world sights on your bucketlist? Maybe you should concentrate on those you love instead, says Sharon Griffiths.

Ticking off those world sights on your bucketlist? Maybe you should concentrate on those you love instead, says Sharon Griffiths.

Archant

We should treasure the people we love - not bucket lists, says Sharon Griffiths

Forget the bucket list – just enjoy life.

Bucket lists make fun seem both serious and ridiculous. Everyone I know seems to have a bucket list at the moment. All those people longing to go swimming with dolphins or climbing Kilimanjaro. Great if they do. Fantastic, in fact.

But if they don’t it’s just another failure to add to life’s long list.

There’s a whole industry of bossy books telling you “100 places to see before you die.” Or 100 foods to try, 100 beaches to visit, 100 books to read, films to see. Just looking at all those titles is exhausting.

And when you’ve done them all, what next? A final trip to Switzerland because there are no more worlds to conquer?

I have my own wish list of course. While waiting to learn to play the flute – one day - and learn Italian and seeing the Terracotta Warriors, younger son and I are working our way around the world’s top cocktail bars. Mother and son bonding over Negronis. Has to be done.

A friend is determined to visit every American state. He’s done 32 now and is getting very antsy about the rest. I’m not sure how much he sees and enjoys about the states he visit. It’s the tick list that matters.

So everyone has dreams to do something more interesting, more exciting away from the humdrum routine. If we didn’t, we’d probably all still be happily living in caves and gathering nuts and berries and hoping for a chunk of roast auroch. It’s those dreams that inspire us to up our game and try something different.

Meanwhile, as John Lennon said, Life is what happens when you’re busy making plans.

The downside of those lists is that just making them seems to inspire dissatisfaction. We’re so busy wanting bigger and better adventures that we forget what we’ve got.

Until something happens.

A madman with a bomb or a knife, a dreadful accident, or a fire that becomes an inferno in minutes. Things that only ever happen in other countries to other people are happening here, to us, to people and places we know.

When that happens, our instinct is always to hug our families a little bit closer and appreciate that what we have, however humdrum, is really amazing. Heaven in ordinary.

So for now, at least, those bucket lists can wait. In the light of recent events they seem ridiculously self-indulgent and irrelevant. Those of us untouched by tragedy can thank our lucky stars and do what we can to help those that were.

At least those dolphins might enjoy the peace.

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