OCTOBER 20 ― “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable ― if anything is excellent or praiseworthy ― think about such things.” ― Paul the Apostle
Maybe it’s a sign of the times but “reverse” seems to be trending.
We’ve got Marie Kondo minimalism (reversing accumulation), reverse-hacking (bucking shortcuts), student-led learning (instead of teacher-led), WFH (instead of being in office!), reverse tourism (going to local unfamiliar “unknown” spots instead of popular touristy attractions) and, something I only recently heard of: the reverse bucket list.
If the normal bucket list was about what you intend to achieve, the reverse list is about the milestones or goals you’ve already completed.
A kind of curriculum vitae which covers more than just one’s professional career, I suppose. It’s a list which outlines what you’ve accomplished in the past few years (or even decades?) or perhaps what got ticked off your bucket list.
If you’ve never written one, it probably can’t hurt trying. A representative list could be something like:
1. Finished Masters’ degree (2008)
2. Visited Taj Mahal (2015)
3. Reconciled with Timmy (2014)
4. Hit 5-figures in salary (2018)
5. Took daughter to her first tulip farm (2014)
And so on and so forth. You get the idea.
The act of writing down such a positive list of goals completed and occasionally revisiting (and adding to) it may do wonders for us, especially in these days when mental health problems are on the rise.
The reverse bucket list forces (imagine that) us to recount all the good we’ve achieved, all the blessings we’ve been given, all the milestones we’ve hit, etc.
It redirects our mind towards these wonderful positives which not only bathes us in a warm glow but also gives hope and motivation for the future, both for us and our loved ones (eg, if I could reconcile with Timmy, then maybe my rocky friendship with Sally needn’t end in disaster, or if Daddy finished his Masters’ degree whilst working part-time then hey you can too, etc).
A reverse bucket list also helps us track our “progress” in a certain objective (eg, saw Taj Mahal in 2015, Hadrian’s Wall in 2017, the Great Barrier Reef in 2019, what’s next for me?) or recall the last time we tried something “big” and succeeded (eg, participated in MMA tournament in 2016 ― should I compete in something similar in 2024?).
As mentioned, this should help motivate or spur us to push our personal envelopes or quit holding back on a dream we’ve had.
To be honest, I can’t think of a better way to cleanse my mind of anxieties and fears than to recount the many times in the past I’ve made my parents proud or helped someone in an extraordinary way or just, hey, received a wonderful gift.
If reality is “all in the mind” (and to a great extent it is, isn’t it?) it should be most helpful to have regular prompters about the praiseworthy and admiral aspects of reality we’ve experienced.
Much better to do this than play back bad memories over and over again or doom-scroll social media and fear for the end of the world.
So when’s the last time you had a great chat with an old friend? Put that in your list.
When was your last delightful visit to a faraway place? Add that in too.
The last wonderful book you curled up with during the weekend? List that. And much more.
* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.