Accomplish­ing Your Summer Bucket List in One Weekend (Sort of…)

summer-bucket-list-1It’s the end of summer and you know what that means…REGRET! To many, all the dreams and plans of your “EPIC SUMMER 2014” are now being inventoried, and you’re realizing that maybe, just maybe, you didn’t get to do everything you wanted to do. Fear not. No need for regret. The summer can still be salvaged. Not just on a hope and a prayer, but there’s a real science to efficient summer bucketlisting* (*Not an officially recognized gerund).

Friday 4:27 p.m. — Take out your written list and tweet it out to all your friends. This creates accountability and pressure. You cannot fail. Everyone knows what you are doing (and what you haven’t done). Tweet with determination and grit. You will be asked about this on Monday.

Friday 4:59 p.m. — Leave work one minute early. This jumpstart will provide momentum into your weekend and allow you that extra 60 seconds of time you need to fulfill your summer goals.

Friday 5:38 p.m. — Arrive at your home. Hydrate. Change into weekend clothes. Put your phone on airplane mode.

Now at this point, I can easily prescribe an action packed, non-stop itinerary involving hot air ballooning, cooking classes, yoga on the beach, spelunking, mountain zip-lining, and guitar lessons. All of these activities can, in fact, be accomplished in a 48-hour time period and I’m sure there are websites and Google searches that are far better equipped at helping you get organized for such an odyssey.

Yet, let me offer this alternative …

Friday 5:39 p.m. — Make a complete 180, much like this article is doing right now.

Bucket lists are fantastic tools for a planned world. Yet, I feel the amount of life lived in an unplanned way far exceeds what we do plan. This past summer was a healthy mix of goals met and missed for me — I had my lists, yet never spent much time reflecting on everything in between. Harvesting a first cherry tomato from our postage stamp-sized garden was not on this summer’s bucket list, yet it brought me so much joy. The same goes for walking to morning Mass with my wife, hand-in-hand as church bells rang; drinking the most delicious and smooth root beer from a keg with my dad; taking my mother-in-law out for lunch for the very first time; crying tears of joy throughout the watching of Richard Linklater’s film Boyhood — while being equally satisfied with a particularly good batch of very memorable popcorn that night.

So much of our lives is overly forward-thinking, ambitiously goal-oriented, and driven by the pressures of #YOLO, #FOLO, and covetous status updates. Our summer recap involves the big stuff — the weddings, trips, travel, new purchases, new activities, exciting bucket listy* things. (*Again, not a real word. I know). Yet what’s often missed in the simmering down of a summer summary is the beautiful minutia, or non-sexy moments.

Your summer is yours. So is your life. Both are short, so remember to look back, look forward, and don’t miss the enchanting plainness of everything that happens in between items on a bucket list. Let grace be your guide this weekend as you write your own itinerary.

Friday 5:40 p.m. — _________?__________