Bucket Lists May Have Holes in the Bucket

Luxuriating in the company of friends and food just outside of Firenze, a wise soul named Natale Cerbara tickled the conversation by suggesting, “We are no longer living in a goal based but rather a target based world.” And it got me thinking.

People used to have goals in their lives that they envisioned would, upon arrival, center their life’s meaning. These goals were as often deeply personal as they were common. These goals were thought to afford peace no matter the perceived value in someone else’s life. These goals were intended destinations not to scratch off a list but to be transformative. And as a personal satori, these goals were dreamt of as a coming home of the soul on this life’s journey. Sadly, this path has more recently become the road not taken as more and more answer the trumpet call of bucket lists and a target based rather than a goal based life.

True goals are not flavor of the month targets. True goals are not something to tick off and move past. True goals when realized lend both depth and peace – albeit a dynamic peace and certainly not a life in the shallows. No more. Goal vision has been broadly replaced by bucket list braggadocio. Sadly, bucket lists may have holes in the bucket.

Of course every arrival is a departure in the making. But to dream and extend effort to arrive only to check the time until you can leave is not testimony to the transitory nature of life but to an insatiable appetite that knows only appetite. If the buckets in bucket lists were made into drums, the drums would bang hollow.

Moses’s challenge was not to climb a mountain but to find the humility to find God.

The triumph of the children of Israel at the Red Sea with the Pharaoh’s chariots at their back was not swimming across but finding the faith to cross over.

And for each of us who has ever dreamt of finding a way through life’s dark woods of failing ourselves, or addiction, or poverty the triumph is knowing the courage of taking one step at a time and taking that first step which is the first step in every leap of faith.

Targets are rungs on a goal-based ladder. Choose your targets. Have a goal, your goal. And use your bucket to drink deeply from life’s deepest well.

Noah benShea

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