Revisiting Drafts: Life List

In 2015, I wrote a long list of things I wanted to do in my life – a bucket list, basically. It was specific to me and some things I really wanted to do at the time. I retired it and put it back into drafts a few years ago. Not just because some of it wasn’t what I wanted, but maybe because I re-evaluated why I’d actually made such a list.

When I look over it now, some of it seemed rooted in societal ideas of what constitutes ‘achievement’. I’ve had a rocky relationship with what ‘achievement’ means – in fact, the entire idea that people have to hit certain milestones in society to be considered ‘worthy’.

The list I made included travel to some destinations that I appreciate very much, which in itself is fine. I wouldn’t travel to somewhere just because it’s on some generic ‘must see’ list. I love visiting mainland Europe, and have a soft spot for France and Brittany in particular. We haven’t been away anywhere abroad since 2018 when we went to New Orleans to see friends, and then on to New York for a few days. That was a very special trip and I’ll always remember it.

What I love the most about travelling (bar the stressful packing and going through security and being around too many other people), is learning about another culture, soaking in different architecture and food, seeing fleeting glimpses of how other people live their lives. Seeing other perspectives on the world. You don’t have to travel far to get that, though – I’m a great believer in how reading is travelling in your armchair.

And I really appreciate how different almost every area of the UK is – I especially love Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, and Wales (and of course Scotland!). Covid-19 has changed my perspective on travel, though. I wouldn’t want to travel somewhere without taking precautions or going somewhere where there are zero mitigations at all, at least not until things are more under control (and they may never be, depending on political will). The one major place that both of us want to explore is Japan and its islands, but that may not happen for a few years yet. I do know that Japan has been very diligent about masking and mitigations which is really positive.

Revisiting the list though, I am reminded of things that I actually have done to date. I listed things like ‘cook a Christmas dinner’, ‘write a non-fiction book’, ‘plan a wedding to reflect both our personalities’ – all things that I’ve done, and in the case of cooking Christmas/holiday dinner, a number of times now – with help, of course (I really recommend this delicious vegan nut roast that is now my go-to recipe)! We got married in 2014 and did plenty of DIY! I wrote my first non-fiction book, Fragments, from 2016 onwards and released it in 2018.

But I also think that the things I have done on that list reflect how doing things in a way that suits me and in my own time is the ideal. It’s taken me years to work out that the way I do things doesn’t match the pace of the frenetic capitalist world we live in. I made that list and filled it with lots of things that I don’t necessarily want anymore, like writing for certain national news publications that have turned out to be a disappointment. 

I’d rather make something that looks and feels like me, rather than following what other people might expect. I’ve had my fill of trying to match other people’s unachievable expectations. I’d rather look inward to my values and work out what kind of life I want to live, that is achievable based on my pace and skillset. A bucket list can sometimes be fun, but for me became another way to measure myself against what I believed I should be and do.

I do like lists, though. And I don’t think I’ll ever stop making them. In that spirit, this is a list of ten achievable things that I would like to do, and that aren’t outside the realm of possibility in the next year.

  1. Pick up a manual camera again and document everyday life, special moments, and the world around us.
  2. Learn how to make two new vegan recipes with a medium difficulty rating, maybe from Mildred’s Vegan cookbook.
  3. Actually finish Nano Poblano this year with a post on 30th November!
  4. Watch three films I’ve been meaning to watch on my list: Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Passing, and The French Dispatch.
  5. Read two books of poetry by the end of 2022.
  6. Complete playing Cozy Grove.
  7. Begin writing a new book.
  8. Declutter and cull ready for potentially moving house next year.
  9. Learn how to use a sewing machine and sew a garment.
  10. Use up some art supplies by doing an art therapy workshop on Skillshare.

In the end, I think a list needs to be something that feels both achievable and can be done with realistic adjustments. It’s the same with dreams and goals – the older I get the more I realise that I’m not going to be able to do everything but the things that I actually do need to be what I really want, rather than things I think I ‘should’ want to do. Life is short and precious. Sometimes it requires compromise and pivots, and that’s okay. So long as love and creativity are there, nothing is in vain.

This post is part of NanoPoblano, a Cheer Peppers production! If you’d like to see what other people are writing and sharing, please click the image below.

2 thoughts on “Revisiting Drafts: Life List

  1. It’s almost like you’re making new year’s resolutions two months in advance. Get a head start… Smart!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Absolutely! And making lists is so satisfying…😅

      Liked by 1 person

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