By Marja

My interpretation of a bucket list differs from its common understanding as presented in typical internet sites even though their basic premises originate from the same motivational source. An article defines the term in the apt way I can also subscribe: “Bucket list is a list of all the goals you want to achieve, dreams you want to fulfill, and life experiences you wish to experience before you die. — It’s a reminder of all the things we want to achieve in our time on Earth so that instead of spending our time on pointless things, we direct it toward things that matter to us.” (Source: https://personalexcellence.co/blog/bucket-list/)

However, when I read various bucket list ideas of what those “incredible” things might look like in practice, I could kick the bucket out of boredom. For starters, let’s make it clear what I definitely don’t want to do – as opposed to some bucket list suggestions. My reverse bucket list includes the following top ten activities to be avoided:

  • Go bungee jumping or freediving! [I don’t need a brain injury.]
  • Run with the bulls in Pamplona, North Spain! [Animal cruelty.]
  • Climb Kilimanjaro or Mount Everest! [And leave behind a garbage pile that threatens mountain ecosystem?]
  • Solve a Rubik’s Cube! [No chance, I totally lack ability of geometric-spatial reasoning.]
  • Learn how to juggle! [Sounds deadly boring and does not meet my talent.]
  • Learn how to cook a new dish! [Waste of time, since food industry, restaurants and husbands have been invented.]
  • Meet Gordon Ramsay! [I would rather meet George Clooney.]
  • Be in the Saturday Night Live audience [If I never watched the show on TV, why would I go there live and catch a corona virus? Daily Show with Trevor Noah appeals to me more.]
  • Compliment yourself every day in the mirror! [Simplistic autosuggestive pep talk will not work for my skeptical-critical mind. I require scientific evidence!]
  • Set or break a Guinness world record [By doing what? No clue… Why? What’s the rationale?]

Butterfly (Source: kie-ker @ Pixabay)

My prime goal is to undergo backward metamorphosis in reverse order in the attempt to restore my genuine habitus and bring back my characteristic lifestyle. I try to shake off the burden of false consciousness, i.e. the socially induced misperception of my role, which has piled up slowly and indiscernibly over the years. I pursue a figurative rebirth[i] in order to reinstate my previous drive, vigor and guts from the heyday of my golden age. Rather than return to the past, I wish to resume the best parts of my former makeup and combine those inherent qualities with my present strengths. The revitalized disposition could even become a stronger version of the old me in the best case. In broad terms, the exercise is ultimately dealing with soul-searching, self-realization and living according to my values.

This abstract sounding aspiration involves a myriad of practical steps, concrete objectives and measurable milestones. The latter will lead us to the bucket list, which serves as a tool of the transformative exercise. The items listed below should be conceived in the context of my metamorphosis effort, although I will not outline the complete framework with its causal relations.

Tasks:

Build self-management skills that allow people to control their thoughts, feelings and actions. At the core of self-management are three elements: organizing your commitments and time; cultivating the motivation and capability to learn new things on your own in support of your work; and expanding and nurturing your personal network. (Source: https://er.educause.edu/blogs/2015/9/power-to-the-people-why-self-management-is-important)

To put it succinctly:

  1. Discover or acknowledge your true interests, and then move on determining and narrowing down your exact focus. Make use of technology foresight and trend scouting techniques in the process of identifying your branch. Keep antennas alert to receive and notify the weak signals, too. (Note: The foundations already exist so that there is no need to start from the scratch.)
  2. Start using virtual time management and project planning tools systematically in guiding your daily activities. Compare options and pick up the most user-friendly alternative which fits your needs best. Find the right rhythm of working hours according to your biological clock.
  3. Create a web page.
  4. Learn and apply mental methods and attitudinal approaches that keep away the chaos between the ears in hectic, uncertain or otherwise stressful situations. Start with simple prioritization rules formulated in quotes and proverbs. Examples: “One step at a time.” “To achieve great things, we must be self-confined… mastery is revealed in limitation.” “When we forget the rush, we begin to remember the things we have forgotten in our hurry.” Collect your favorite aphorisms together and make a collage of them!  Moreover, listen to Saku Tuominen’s wise instructions.  (Note: Saku Tuominen is a Finnish entrepreneur, innovator, creative director, executive producer, restaurateur, author and keynote speaker.)
  5. Make time every day to read at least short sections of those great books, blogs and trade journals that are already awaiting to be opened. Take part in useful webinars, online classes and meetups on weekly basis. Structure your archives in such a way that the needed information can be tracked down easily.
  6. Enter networks, social media groups and in-person events or associations that create added value to you while they are supporting your goals. Contact relevant persons to introduce your initiatives. Learn from peers by sharing knowledge, ideas and experience. Look for like-minded people with similar interests, instead of hanging around in any pointless Facebook group which, say, comments upon cat videos. Find your own bubble that offers inspirational input to you!

At the same time, turn your back to negative meddlers who do not understand your doings but nevertheless try to advise you or push their incompetent opinions. Don’t let anyone suffocate or downplay you!

Enhance your substance-related knowledge and develop your pertinent skills through learning-by-doing, including the above listed methods, in the following fields: your own industry specialization (a given sector, cf. bullet point 1 above), tax planning, financial assets, real estate investments and traditional building techniques in wooden houses.  In addition, continue elaborating your thin know-how in lean marketing, growth hacking and ecommerce, especially search engine optimalization. Aim for amateur-level proficiency in these areas so that you won’t entirely depend on external expert advice and you can assess the quality of experts’ statements. Perhaps you will reach an advanced expertise in them one day in the distant future. Meanwhile, active follow-up of political, economic and financial news contributes to detecting opportunities and analyzing the business environment and innovation ecosystem.

Explore suitable ways of volunteering in an animal protection organization. Find out what could be the most convenient role for you to help out there.  At home, keep on encouraging Mirri Kiltteliini (a rescue cat) to live boldly. Finalize your investigation into Mirri’s favorite food brands.

Treasure map (Source: MasterTux @ Pixabay)

My family and especially my husband would like to insert a few further items onto my bucket list, namely: 1 get a driver’s license, 2 buy a modern smartphone, and 3 learn to use a dishwasher. As for the first bullet point, self-driving/autonomous/driverless cars will take over the market sooner or later in spite of their current setbacks. As a visionary person, I will continue considering these short-sighted, self-serving interferences for the next 25–30 years. First things first!

Lower Ranking B-Class Scenarios

I would not qualify travel plans after the COVID pandemic for my bucket list since I do not rank them so high in my hierarchy of needs. Still, I must indeed admit how nice it would be to visit a few places as soon as it is safe. I pick up two uncomplicated travel dreams that will be easy to implement without any major efforts, big budgets or excessive carbon footprints.

When the time is right, I will fly to my European home country with my favorite airline, which serves exceptionally tasty meals, accompanied by friendly service. I will book a long stopover in Portugal to stay four to five days in a luxurious all-inclusive resort near Lisbon. I love Portuguese seafood dishes.  In addition to pampering myself in the resort’s swimming pools and saunas, I will attend museums and art galleries in Lisbon as well as observe its bubbling city life. Last time when I visited Lisbon less than two years ago, I reported my impressions as follows (quote):

Lisbon has become one of the coolest cities in Europe! Its spirit is vibrant, dynamic, young and creative; it has vim and vigor. Its exciting multi-cultural scene mixes African beat with Portuguese sentiment. Lisbon may not be the most beautiful city in the world but its lively streets are full of fascinating surprises. The waterfront, for instance, is an awesome place to hang around if you wish to enjoy top-level performances of grassroots culture. Lisbon appears more authentic and less touristic/commercial than Rome or Barcelona.

Secondly, I wish to delight my old mother by bringing her to Riga, the beautiful capital of Latvia. The magnificent silhouette of Riga’s Old Town with a castle and medieval church towers against the mighty River Daugava is such a memorable panorama that it makes me cry out of happiness each time I see it again.  Riga is my mother’s dream city although she travelled a lot earlier. Riga is a realistic destination for a senior citizen as the flight from Helsinki is short and my mother knows the city like her own pockets from the past.  We thus know the best restaurants with indigenous Latvian cuisine (yummy!). A night at the opera is also a ‘must’ in Riga.

Riga belongs to my adventurous heyday inseparably. Hence, a trip to this beloved Baltic metropole would complement my mission brilliantly.  This instant realization just justified my itinerary. My darling Riga, here I come!

Lisbon (Source: Author)

[i] Symbolic expression in a secular sense, neither religious nor spiritual connotations.