This sign board on the street in Calgary, Alberta prompted the subject of today’s post. It is a blackboard and passers-by were posting their thoughts and others were crowded around reading the boards. It made me think….
Often I slip into the mindset that views the years to come as a sort of wind down from the life that I have lived to date. It therefore, requires me to be quite diligent and to focus on the things that I still wish to do.
I am not a ‘bucket list’ fan but the concept of having ideas and plans for the future is real to me. Bucket lists tend to be designed to make us reach past our comfort zones to define new directions for our lives. And that part is good. But the bucket list itself, becomes an activity that we do. We create a list and then, seldom act on the things that need to be done to accomplish the list. So it languishes on paper then fades into obscurity.
My sons are in their twenties and they have all these plans for the future on things they wish to be, do and places they would like to go. Their optimism never wanes and they do, as a result make fantastic progress on the goals that they set.
And I still have a big list of plans for myself too. It is easy to just drift through the day and achieve nothing.(and quite pleasurable sometimes to do just that).
But when I face forward, the road ahead is exciting too. And maybe even more thrilling than the nostalgic moments. Because the moments ahead are more intentional than the haphazard life that is behind me. I have this vague feeling that life before this, just kind of happened. One thing led to another and although I had ‘sort of’ goals and made things happen, I have a sense that it really had a momentum of its own.
But ahead, barring the unforeseen, is a series of events that I get to choose. They are the things that make me excited when I get up in the morning. The ‘try new things’ in my every day. The ‘what’s next’ mentality that opens new doors and windows on my life. If we tend to get safer and narrower as we age, this mindset is the one we need to propel us forward into new and exciting places where we meet new people, see new sights and learn new skills.The Japanese call it ‘ikigai’ or our reason to get up in the morning.
I am an avid believer in flow and letting life unfold. But I still have ideas and plans that I can set in motion to see where it takes me. Some of them are big plans, like my 8 week partly solo trip, and other things are more significant like my blossoming freelance career. Like working towards the possibility of being able to do a full lotus position in yoga. Like spending unstructured time with warm and nurturing friends. All of them add a spark to an ordinary day.