Five Weeks With a Reverse Bucket List

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There are five weeks of summer vacation left. When I’m in the thick of the school year, especially during the brutal Western NY winter, five weeks of summer vacation sounds immensely long and glorious, let alone the 10 weeks in all. And it is. I’m not going to lie-one of the best things about being a teacher and a mom with school-aged children is that we have lots of quality family time in the summers.

But like I said, five weeks of summer vacation does sound deliciously long and yet each day that goes by I have this internal struggle:

I should be productive. I should be relaxing.

I should frolic and play with my boys. I should enjoy the quiet ‘me’ time while they’re busy catching frogs.

I should paint and clean and put on a new addition to our house. I should sit on my big comfy couch and enjoy a cup of coffee and work through my large reading pile.

You get the idea. It really isn’t a ‘problem’ since it’s one of those good problems to have but, no doubt, it’s a real feeling that I try to manage every day. Check out this great post by @tishrich about this idea. Glad I’m not alone.

And now there’s five weeks left.

Almost every summer I’ve made a list…a ‘Bucket List’ of some sorts. Things my boys and I wanted to experience before the summer ends and, of course, the things I need To Do so that I feel that my time had been productive and that I’d accomplished something by the end of the summer.

Well, this summer we’ve been operating without a Bucket List. And it’s freeing! I think I’d still have the internal struggle of ‘do vs don’t’ but I don’t have The List to taunt me. I am enjoying a less scheduled and more relaxed atmosphere at home and I think my boys are too. Today was a beautiful, sunny day and I woke thinking we’d run off to the zoo or a park or even one of those adventure ropes courses in the woods but really we all just wanted to be home. The boys enjoyed catching frogs that hopped crazily away from their clutches and then planned and negotiated as they created a makeshift terrarium for the 11 little hoppers.

I’m sure if my list told them to do some science by catching frogs and then make a terrarium they’d ask a million questions, groan, and want my step by step along the way. Without The List they are left to whatever their mood calls for them to do- it also helps that the neighborhood kids are really good at catching frogs.

There’s many complaints about children and adults being ‘over-scheduled’ without a chance to learn to be ‘bored’ or figure out what to do in the downtime. I’m experiencing the ‘under-scheduled’ life where it seems doors are opening with so much opportunity to enjoy life and it’s all because we are operating without The List.

I’ll call it a Reverse Bucket List.

What if you ignored the calling of making a list the next time you have a large chunk of downtime and let your mood help you enjoy life more? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

4 thoughts on “Five Weeks With a Reverse Bucket List

  1. No list here today! Started the day with a yoga class, and Andrew just said to me, “the best part about that yoga class was that we just went to it, it wasn’t planned.” The school year is so busy for all of us, it’s great to just let each summer day unfold and enjoy whatever it brings! Great post Lynn.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Living without a list is so uncomfortable for me (which tells you something, doesn’t it?)! I have been trying to take weekends and make bigger chunks of time to do whatever I feel like, with nothing scheduled, and have found myself getting into some things I haven’t done for years! It’s amazing how freeing it is!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree Aubrey, it can feel uncomfortable I think partly because our culture can be so insistent that we are ‘productive’ 24-7. It’s definitely a mindset shift to give unstructured time a priority and realize it’s good for our mind, body, and spirit. I’m glad you’re finding that giving yourself big chunks of time allows you to get into things you haven’t done in years! Yes, it’s so freeing! 😉


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