By the time you’re in your thirties, you’ve been carrying around a lot of “shoulds” and “somedays” and “by the times” and “when I’ms” for a long time.
There are the promises you made to yourself as a little kid—“When I grow up, I’m going to_______!”
There are the dreams you grew in high school and college.
There are the frameworks you got from your family model of what you should or would emulate someday.
It’s important to hold onto to your dreams, and it’s never too late to go after the ones that are really important to you. When you’ve lost your way, tapping back into your earliest childhood dreams can be profoundly helpful in finding clarity.
But sometimes you outgrow a dream without realizing it, and instead of being fueled by the inspiring energy of the dream, what you carry around with you is the “should have” and the “have to” and the “still haven’t gotten around to” roughage of having this unaccomplished item on your bucket list.
As these bucket list items keep getting added over time, the accumulation can really start to weigh on you.
If you feel more burdened than inspired by your bucket list, it’s time to take some things off the list and make a new list: the F*ck It List.
The F*ck It List is a list of accomplishments or experiences to which you once aspired, but the prospect of which now deplete rather than raise your energy.
By all means, if a dream is really important to you, hang onto it. Make it happen.
If you truly want to accomplish or experience something, but you’re blocked by fear and insecurity, get the support you need to break through those blocks.
You can do it.
But if that dream isn’t actually important to you anymore, you can make an informed, mindful choice to let it go.
Part of self-compassion is letting yourself out of mental and emotional contracts you made a long time ago, as a less informed consumer than you are now.
Some people struggle with taking things off their bucket lists—or any kind of to-do lists–because they feel like not doing what they planned to is a question of integrity.
If you always said you would do something, taking it off the list feels like giving up.
Like flaking out.
But what if it felt like freedom?
It’s not giving up if you consciously choose something different given new information and who you are now as a result of the experiences you’ve had thus far.
So today, instead of focusing on your bucket list—how about giving yourself permission to make a F*ck It List?
Right now, grab your pen and paper or phone or laptop and get started.
Try holding the items on your bucket list up against these three lights. If any of these is true, it’s okay to add the item to your F*ck It List:
1. It mattered to you once, but it’s actually not important to you anymore.
For example, you always thought you’d write a book, but you actually hate writing and it’s not really how you want to contribute your voice.
2. It was never actually important to you—but someone else planted the seed or put the picture there, and somewhere along the line you confused their dream with yours.
For example, maybe it was always assumed that you would have kids, but you’re finding you don’t really want to.
3. It still matters to you, but not as much as something else does.
We all have just one life. As Gretchen Rubin says in The Happiness Project, “I can do anything I want, but I can’t do everything I want.” It’s okay to let go of something in service of a higher priority.
Once you have created your F*ck It List, celebrate it, smile at it, laugh at it, and allow yourself to release the negative energy that all these have tos and shoulds have created in you.
And then get going, using that freed up energy to work on something you actually care about.
Are you ready to regain the energy your no-longer relevant bucket items are sucking from you?
What are things that you’re telling yourself you have to do that you don’t actually care about?
What’s going on your F*ck It List?
Add your voice in the comments below.
Photo by Martinak15