By Rachel Rooney, Toppel Peer Advisor
C.S. Lewis once said, “You are never too old to set a new goal or to dream a new dream.” In our modern, progressive society, goals and dreams have become the fuel of our lives, and we culminate our hopes of what we would like to do into bucket lists. Most of us in college have them; I know I do! My own bucket list consists of 45 things, and most of the items involve traveling to different countries. Then, there are things I know I will accomplish, such as graduate college and learn how to ride a bike. It’s important to dream, but also to realize that what we dream of is imaginary, not yet real. That’s the difference between dreams and goals, in that with goals there is a plan of action that can produce a tangible result. A good way to set goals is to the use the SMART method—specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. On a daily basis, we set goals to help us be organized and efficient, but can also be applied to what we want to do in the future.
There will also be events and experiences that will just happen to us. Some of my best experiences were unplanned and spontaneous. It’s okay to give up having to plan everything out, because the truth is we cannot do everything. Maybe I will never make it to Thailand, and if I don’t it will be okay. We need to stop making these lists just so we can feel validated at the end of our lives and that we did something. It’s okay to not cross things off our lists, because that’s not the point of life. Instead, it is to enjoy the little moments. As Kurt Vonnegut said, “Enjoy the small things in life, because one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.” That’s why I’m an advocate for Nectar Lists. It’s basically the opposite of a bucket list; instead of listing what we want to do before we kick the bucket, we list the things that have been the existence so far. The name comes from how sweet nectar is slang for “to live,” and as everyone knows “to kick the bucket” is slang for to die. I just added to my own nectar list that I got to stand on the football field with my student org at the Homecoming 2014 game at my alma mater. It was an amazing 30 seconds of my life. Just because you don’t do everything you want, doesn’t mean you didn’t live your best.
So what’s the In Between? It comprises mostly of giving up the idea that we will do everything and living in the present moment. Huffington Post argues against bucket lists, because they cause regret and negate spontaneous living. Some of those things that we’ve always wanted to do may not actually turn out the way we want and leave us disappointed. Not every moment in life is going to be good; there will be times of heartache and pain. My advice is to take the good along with the bad, both together. Because that’s life, and good moments do not always come in bulk, but in small doses. You just have to look out for them.