The Alternative Bucket List


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Don’t you just love those ‘bucket lists’ and ‘things to do before you’re insert age of choice here’ articles? No, me neither.  Who thought that was a good idea?  Did someone think ‘Oh I know, let’s make people feel more inadequate by telling them they should have snorkelled off some far-flung beach, sky-dived and got hideously drunk in a famous club, and all before they’re 20’?

How about putting this on your bucket list? Go for a walk among nature on a sunny day with your loved ones.  Sit outside and enjoy the peace and quiet of your surroundings while eating a rather delicious scone, then go for a leisurely stroll, admire the view, take a few photographs and breathe in the fresh air; simple and achievable, with no need for specialist equipment other than a bottle of water and sun protection.

That’s on my list, and it’s a goal I’ve been able to achieve time and time again. I wonder if all these ‘must do’ lists only add to our anxiety about ageing and do little to make us feel we’ve actually lived well and to the full.  What consists of a fully-lived life is very personal to you and what you take pleasure from; that might be bungee-jumping in New Zealand, or spending the day walking round a stately home and gardens, or it might not.

In a bid to appear to be living our lives to the full (and putting it on social media) have we lost sight of (apologies for the cliché) the simple things; just being with those we love and admiring the world around us.

So what would be on your alternative bucket list? Think of the little things; a meal with your family in your favourite local restaurant, going to the cinema with your brother/sister, having coffee and a laugh with friends; life isn’t all about the big moments, it’s about the small ones too.  Don’t take them for granted, for they too will pass.

This post was inspired by a walk around the RSPB’s Arne Reserve in Dorset. It has a lovely café, where they serve delicious scones, and you can choose from several walks around the reserve.  The views over Poole Bay are wonderful and the walks take you through beautiful oak woodland, past purple heather and of course there’s plenty for bird watchers all year round.  Despite being a native of Dorset, this was my first visit to Arne, but I hope to make it a regular haunt in order to see the reserve in all seasons.

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Can you feel the force?


No, this isn’t a post about Star Wars.  Although at times, there is a sense of something, coincidence or ‘the force’, which seems to send a message and thereby propel us to take action and make changes in life; and I think it has been directing me recently.

Next year will be one those ‘big birthday’ years (whatever that means) and I have been thinking a lot about what I have and haven’t done yet.  Coupled with a few unhappy weeks at work, it has made me really focus on what I want from life and how best to go about it, without any excuses as to why I can’t anymore.  I came up with two major goals; to travel more and to become a full-time writer.  The latter of the two seems the more ‘unrealistic’ but I’m going to do everything I can to make it happen.  I will endeavour to use ‘the force’ to keep me motivated and refuse to give up because that would mean going through life without having realised a very important dream for me.   We all have dreams which are lost along the way and I’d rather keep those losses to a minimum.

So as tomorrow is September 1st, the start of a new month with a new season just around the corner, make a commitment to yourself to begin the journey to realising your own dreams.  Don’t wait for ‘big birthdays’ and unhappiness at work to force you into taking that first step.  Do it anyway!  And may the force be with you.