About a year and a half ago I posted a bucket list. I imagined what I would do if I only had six months to live. Four things instantly sprung to my mind and in a very strange string of events I did all of them, within six months. It was a pretty tumultuous experience at times, but very worthwhile. I can now write another bucket list, free of old baggage, this time looking forward.
I’ve spent a whole lot of time thinking about what direction I want my life to take after my direction pre-first bucket hasn’t quite worked out for me. At the beginning of this quest I tended to limit myself by instantly countering every dream my mind dared to bring up with scenarios of why this wouldn’t work.
So I’m trying a different approach now. I dare to dream. And instead of obsessively thinking about finding the golden bullet, the master-plan that solves it all, I strive to concentrate my energy on tiny micro-steps that I can take and have total control over right now and that align me ever so slightly more with my dream.
It’s not a mere wishful thinking type of approach. I’m taking very practical steps, but very small ones for a change. I try to settle my ever-so-doubtful mind by giving it micro tasks that are totally doable. I’m feeding it a string of micro successes which I hope will compound on each other: by changing my reality incrementally and by giving my mind confidence that it can actually achieve the whole thing.
I don’t know if this approach will work. But it might and therefore is certainly worth a try. Because it gets me moving while the other option keeps me stuck. And that I certainly don’t want. So here is my new bucket list. It’s a marriage of things I would do if I came into a lot of money (a concept that frees your mind from worries) and if I had only, say, five years to live (a concept that speeds up the identification of what is truly heartfelt):
- Get a divorce – as fast, fair, and amicable as possible.
- Find a job that is close to my heart and that I can do remotely and part-time.
- Move back home to the sea, buy my own mini house with a beautiful garden.
- Live abundantly with less. Take long walks on the beach. Garden.
- Find true love.
I have no specific roadmap of how to get there. It’s very ambitious financially, though not totally delusional. Some of the things are also partly out of my control as they need external input, like the work bit. And some things just can’t be planned, like love.
However, I feel I can increase the chance for it all to happen by setting the sail in the right direction and that means first and foremost:
- Taking control of my finances, upping my savings rate, and doing what I can to speed up the divorce, gently and firmly,
- Keeping my eyes peeled for the right job opportunity and embracing it courageously when it presents itself,
- Visiting the sea from time to time to keep my goal tangible
- Keep decluttering and start living abundantly with less,
- Taking good care of myself and my dreams.
I’ve started by restructuring my bank accounts, creating different jars that help me budget my spending in view of my aspired savings rate. I automated my savings transfer at the beginning of the month, prioritizing saving over spending, and reduced costs by canceling or downgrading subscriptions, cooking more, eating out less, selling stuff I no longer need.
And finally I made sure to have a healthy dose of fun while doing so. I am not a frugalist. I want to focus my time and money more on what adds true value to my life, not take from it. So I rented out a mini house at the sea for a few days, as a birthday gift to a friend (and myself) to get a feel for it. I also invited my mom to a little beach holiday, as a gift for her birthday (and myself) which we enjoyed tremendously.
I tend to assume that the closer I come to merging my reality with my dream I will feel more centered, more fulfilled, more self-realized. And that, I feel, is the best ground imaginable for the mature, grown-up kind of relationship that I have in mind.
A relationship where two people don’t need each other–financially, emotionally, or otherwise–but want to be with each other. Renewing this decision every day because they are free to stay or go anytime–but chose to stay. Because they love to.
Wish me luck.