How to cope when it feels like your life “Bucket List” dreams are on permanent hold.
We are living in strange times. But we’re also learning a lot about our friends, family, and neighbors we never knew before. Some are handling the pandemic with a certain YOLO flair, seemingly achieving all of their life bucket list dreams and hitting their peak with exciting solo activities such as surfing, summiting mountains, and deep-sea fishing.
Others are living their “best quarantine life” in more modest ways. An ode to the importance of self-care might flit across your screen accompanied by photos of pumpkin spice candles and a yoga mat.
At first glance, these two world views seem far apart. But are they?
If your life bucket list includes backpacking through Europe or attending the next Super Bowl, you might be feeling a bit of a panic. When are these things going to be available to you again? If the proverbial clock of life is ticking, it feels like there is no time to waste.
What do you do with your life bucket list when some of your dreams are simply off the table?
Digging Deep Into the Secret Corners of Your Life Bucket List
Covid had an unusual effect on social media feeds. It wasn’t long before people got creative with their feelings of cabin fever. Soon, Instagram posts featured your friend’s perfected sourdough bread loaves, Dalgona coffee, and DIY haircuts.
Quarantine heralded a return to a simpler way of life, and there were unexpected consequences. People were suddenly writing their magnum opuses, which included everything from rock tunes to bardcore. They finally completed those long-forgotten novels that had been languishing on hard drives. They painted, they cooked, they sipped wine, they wrote poetry.
In the midst of quarantine, people had to reassess their bucket lists—and what they discovered was something unexpected. Something beautiful.
Perhaps it wasn’t flashy, and it sure didn’t cost much. But it was priceless.
You Can’t Take it With You
With everything going on in 2020, it is easy to feel you are being robbed—of peace of mind, of opportunity, of dreams, and sometimes simply of time. But perhaps your life hasn’t been put on hold. It might be waiting for you right inside your front door.
Need inspiration? Try the classic film “You Can’t Take it With You,” a Best Picture winner by “It’s a Wonderful Life” director Frank Capra. It’s the story of an eccentric family who lives together in one home. Each of them prefers their hobbies to anything money can buy. From an aspiring ballerina constantly whirling around the house, to an obsessive xylophone player, to an aunt who decided to become a playwright when a typewriter was delivered to their house by mistake—this family seems to have stumbled upon the secret to happiness. When they clash with “normal” society, it is everyone else who has to look in the mirror and ask themselves…
Is happiness really that complicated?
Life Bucket Lists: You Only Live Once
Somewhere on your long life goals list, you’re bound to run into roadblocks. There will be things left undone, because of life, or simply because you got in your own way. There will be the things that seemed less important because they couldn’t be captured on film or admired by the teeming social media masses.
Perhaps, those things left undone are the hardest things because they are also the easiest. And it’s time to fall in-love with them again.
Now is the time to find joy in cooking, not because you are going to become a world-class chef, but because you love it. Read that classic novel because you want to, not because your college professor told you to. Write that essay, or blog, or fantasy novel that has been lurking in the back of your mind even if nobody else ever reads it. Learn the art of floral arranging, or beekeeping, or snail farming, knowing you’ll never make a dime from doing it.
Your life bucket list might look a little different in this moment, and that’s ok. Seek out those things that bring out that childlike sense of play and wonder in you. Gen X women, we can’t wait to see what you do next!
Stefanie Cosman is a writer living in Los Angeles. For fun, she blogs about the quirkier side of Classic Hollywood, re-creating Audrey Hepburn’s favorite spaghetti recipe, trying out Marilyn Monroe’s more unusual beauty tricks, and finding a bit of life wisdom along the way.