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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Column: Set goals, but drop the bucket list

    I’ve always been a firm believer in following your dreams. If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough, right?

    Well, I’m not so sure about that one.

    I took a look at my bucket list the other day. It’s not even called “my bucket list”; it’s called “things to do in my 20s.” According to it, I have 10 years to accomplish bungee jumping in South Africa, starring in a musical, swimming the hot springs in Iceland and spectating an Olympic event, just to name a few. What can I say? I’m ambitious.

    Fast forward: what happens on my 30th birthday when I realize I have only accomplished a few of my irrational “goals”?

    Perhaps bucket lists are the worst ideas in the entire world.

    Suzy Strutner from the The Huffington Post clearly agrees. In an article titled “7 Reasons Not to Make a Bucket List,” Strutner argues bucket lists turn spontaneous traveling into a chore and can lead a person to see a trip as a failure if they aren’t able to accomplish the one thing they travelled across the world to do — like snorkeling with jellyfish.

    Most importantly, though, bucket lists are adding to the current generation’s need to one-up each other all the time. Things are done for Instagram posts or Facebook statuses; the goal is to prove that one’s experiences and life is better instead of turning off and enjoying the moment. A bucket list should be about collecting moments that will make one feel happy and fulfilled, not about feeling superior.

    I’m worried the things I want to do in my 20s are nearly impossible to accomplish. Instead of being caught in tourist traps in Asia or stressing about never playing an entire round of golf on Pinehurst No. 2, it’s better to just make memories and be happy.

    Gail Gonzales, a UA adjunct professor in the department of psychology, said, however, writing down goals is always a good thing and makes it more likely we will achieve them.

    “Goals have to be specific, measurable and have target dates,” Gonzales said. “If you don’t reach them by the target date, then you re-evaluate and revise.”

    But maybe it’s important to differentiate goals and dreams — with goals listed clearly on bulletin boards and dreams relegated to the bucket list in the back of journals.

    The whole world is in front of us. It’s possible to accomplish big things as long as one takes it step-by-step instead of getting overwhelmed by list after list. Pursue goals, but don’t lose sight of the dream.

    And maybe in five years, I’ll buy you a drink in Bangkok.


    Trey Ross is a journalism sophomore. Follow her on Twitter.

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