Beyond the Bucketlist

Yesterday I got the edits back from the publisher, and I’m hoping to turn them around in the next week. So I’ll be a blogging a little less than usual.

But first, I wanted to pass along three wise paragraphs about bucketlists. Bucketlists, of course, are those laundry lists of “exotic sensations of one kind or another (“Skydive”; “Shower in a waterfall”; “Eat jellied eels from a stall in London”).”

I am all for experiences that take us out of the everyday, but I resonated with the author’s critique of bucketlists:

Really? This is the best we can do? This is what it’s all about? These are the things that make our lives worth living? When I think about what really makes me happy, what I really crave, I come up with a very different list: concentrated, purposeful work, especially creative work; being with people I love; feeling like I’m part of something larger. Meaning, connectedness, doing strenuously what you do well: not sights, not thrills, and not even pleasures, as welcome as they are. Not passivity, not letting the world come in and tickle you, but creativity, curiosity, altruism, engagement, craft. Raising children, or teaching students, or hanging out with friends. Playing music, not listening to it. Making things, or making them happen. Thinking hard and feeling deeply.

At their best, religious communities are places that call forth these moments of purposeful work and connectedness. They are not the only places that do this, of course.

This essay resonates with me, since I’m not in a very Dive the Great Barrier Reef kind of place. This week, I’ll be seeking satisfaction in simple things: this week’s muffins. Welcoming Robert home from his trip to New York. Moderating a session meeting. Trying to make James laugh.

And trying to put words together in a way that matters.

h/t: Andrew Sullivan


One thought on “Beyond the Bucketlist

  1. jharader says:

    Thank you for this post! I used this general idea and a quote from the essay you cite in a funeral meditation yesterday.

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