The Case for Drafting a Chuck-it List

A wise man once said that the key to life is deciding what to pick up and what to set down.  For most of our lives, we spend our time setting and working towards goals, or creating bucket lists of the places we will visit, and the new things we will learn.  But when particular aspirations no longer serve us, especially as we grow older, creating a chuck-it list may free people from expectations or shame that can stem from holding on to values or goals that no longer support a good quality of life. 

According to a recent Washington Post Opinion article, there are many ways to achieve a sense of well-being, and constantly pursuing lofty goals can leave people feeling frustrated when they fail to reach their destination.  Over time, our priorities may change, and deciding what to “chuck” from our bucket lists becomes as important as what we add.  Taking something off our plate can be liberating, and may open the door for new and meaningful experiences. 

In older age, physical limitations may start to influence the decisions of what to discard and what to keep or add, which can be bittersweet.  Bucket lists that were made before a financial change in circumstances can also be problematic, and instead of carrying around a basket of regret or disappointment, letting go of some goals can open up room for new things and greater clarity. 

While setting new goals can motivate people and create a greater sense of purpose, cultivating gratitude is also fundamental to enjoying happiness, contentment, and well-being.  By acknowledging the things we are grateful for, we have less room for negative self-talk or feelings of isolation.  For many older adults, value is found in social connections with family, friends or within their community, through volunteer work, or joining a buddy on a more health-conscious journey. 

What are you ready to chuck from your bucket list?