I had to give myself a break recently. I had to tell myself that I was not any less woke or carefree or mindful because my bucket list was lame and I don’t always feel at one with a higher level of consciousness.
I actually was late to the bucket list party. I didn’t even know what one was until a few years ago. When I looked up “how to make a bucket list” these are some of the ideas that popped up on the internets:
- Ride camels in the Sahara
- Meet ___________ (insert celebrity here) in real life
- Have a flat stomach
- Visit _____________ (insert exotic location at least 5,000 miles from anywhere here)
- See an Icelandic horse in the wild
Okay, this is just not my reality. When I first read all these bucket lists, I have to admit I felt like I wasn’t living my best life. 🙂
My bucket list was more like:
- Start a new trend in which stretch marks on the stomach are the new washboard abs
- Have some bladder control
- Visit a nice restaurant and not be so tired that I nearly fall asleep waiting for my dinner
- Become a hermit
It’s good to have dreams, and if you want to see an Icelandic horse in the wild, you go, girl. Follow your dream.
But I realized I don’t have to feel compelled to do those kinds of things. My life can be complete and fulfilled with less lofty ambitions. It doesn’t make me less of a person if I would rather stay home with a good book than ride camels in the desert.
I also realized that I was thinking for a moment that if all of my dreams don’t come true, my life is somehow less. But it isn’t.
And fulfilling a dream alone won’t solve my problems with feeling overwhelmed or not living my best life.
Sometimes it can even be like putting a band-aid over something that may need stitches….I know that as soon as I get back from riding the camel or soaking in the sun, life is still there, and reality is still brutally un-tranquil. And everything will hurt worse.
Getting Away Versus Running Away
It took me a long time to figure out “me time” and “getting away.” I never loved it much because I didn’t know what to do with myself. I finally realized that I have to truly plan to refresh and strengthen my body and spirit, instead of just running away.
Before I go away for me “me time”, I try to have an idea on what I’m going to accomplish. Sometimes it’s literally just sleeping. Sometimes I realize I need to take part in nature because I get stuck in the house too much. Sometimes I go see a concert to inspire and lift me, but I always try to have a purpose in my “me time.” And I try to choose things that will make me deeper, stronger, and more able to sustain a peace within myself that will always be there, for when I can’t get away to Iceland to see a wild horse.
And it’s work. But it’s the best, most relaxing (although sometimes tearful) kind of work to try and create peace within myself.
Becoming The Peace I Am Seeking
I love what philosopher William George Jordan has to say on the subject:
Calmness comes from within. It is the peace and restfulness of the depths of our nature. The fury of storm and of wind agitate only the surface of the sea; they penetrate only two or three hundred feet; below that is the calm, unruffled deep. To be ready for the great crises of life we must learn serenity in our daily living. Calmness is the crown of self-control….
The man who is calm does not selfishly isolate himself from the world, for he is intensely interested in all the concerns the welfare of humanity. His calmness is but a Holy of Holies into which he can retire from the world to get strength to live in the world. He realizes that the full glory of individuality, the crowning of his self-control is the majesty of calmness.
Do I have a depth of calmness, my own personal Holy of Holies? A trip to Hawaii or a Saharan camels aren’t going to give that to me. It can help me and strengthen me, but I have to become the peace I am seeking, rather than try to go somewhere or do something to find it.
It’s been a hard lesson to learn, but I am beginning to understand it. Maybe this next 50 years I’ll finally get it!