Do you have a bucket list? Last weekend, I re-watched the movie The Bucket List starring Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson who are terminally ill, both left with only six months to live. They decide to make a bucket list comprising all the things they have never tried before but wanted to.
Their list includes classic bucket list items like visit the Taj Mahal in India, get a tattoo and go skydiving. But it was the more intangible things on the list that caught my attention.
Witness something truly majestic
Help a complete stranger for a common good
Laugh till I cry
In the middle of this pandemic and isolation, we are probably not feeling pulled to write our “things to do before we die” lists. There are enough grief, isolation and economic crises so many of us are moving through. If asked to make a list, some may only be able to write one thing: “Get through to the end of this day”. If that’s you, we see you and are here to support you in whatever ways possible.
As I chat with friends and family members, more and more are trying to be more intentional about writing lists of things to do that bring joy. A bucket list for pandemic days, so to speak… because who doesn’t need something to look forward to! Despite all that we can’t control, perhaps there is some hope in attempting to focus on the positive things that we can.
You’ll see a lot of soaking up “simple pleasures” on this bucket list:
Are you sick of them yet? My kids STILL protest every time I announce it’s time for a walk! But getting outside is a sure way to get fresh air, start to move stress out of the body and take in some picturesque neighbourhoods. My mom’s friend made it a goal to walk along every street in her town (Chatham). Walking every street in Toronto might be too lofty of a goal, but there are so many great spots to explore. See the park suggestions in #4.
2. Baths, Candles, Music
I know you might be rolling your eyes at me at this point. But seriously, when was the last time you stopped to actually run yourself a hot, relaxing bath?! Epsom salts are key here too for the tired, achy muscles you have from all that walking. 😉
3. Food and drink
This of course is a no-brainer but needs to be mentioned. When I polled my Facebook friends about what brought them more joy than they thought would do so, food came up quite a bit! Some of the responses that came up were things like “trying new recipes with my kids”, chocolate and steeped tea, online grocery shopping and red wine with ice cubes. (She says “Don’t knock it ’til you try it”?)
One friend told me, “I buy myself fresh flowers for the weekend and make myself a meal that I would serve company, set the table and listen to some good music.” What a lovely, simple idea! Yet how often do we take the time to care for ourselves like we would for company?
Now that we are beginning to feel more spring-like temperatures, it will be even easier to get outside and experience nature. This article outlines some “must-go-to” parks in Toronto include Glen Stewart Ravine, Edwards Gardens, Don Valley River Park and High Park…just to name a few!
If you can’t get out to nature, why not try to bring it to you? One idea is to make a DIY bird feeder to put in your backyard and enjoy the simple pleasure of watching the different birds come enjoy it. My cousin told me that he and his wife have been surprised by how much joy they’ve found watching the ducks, geese, eagles and ice floating down the river.
This might seem like a random one, but I had to include it. I recently had a “painting themed weekend” and couldn’t believe how much joy it brought. It started with a “family arts night” using dollar store canvases and paint on Friday. Despite my serious lack of artistic ability, I clung to the mantra, “The joy is in the process – not the product!” Then on Saturday, the kids and I put a fresh coat of paint on my son’s bedroom walls. Perhaps it was the feeling of accomplishment. And who doesn’t love a good “before and after”?!
We hope there’s something here that you take with you and that it sparks more joy than you thought possible. If nothing resonates from this Top 5 List, maybe you can take from Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman’s. None of us are able to visit the Pyramids, the Great Wall of China or Victoria Falls right now. But we can hopefully find ways to have a good belly laugh, help a stranger and witness something majestic.
What’s on YOUR pandemic Bucket List? Feel free to comment below!