words Al Woods
Thinking about a bucket list of things you want to do in life? While anytime is better than never when it comes to getting around to the things you want to do, having a family changes things. It means responsibility, stability, and several other responsibilities that, while they’ll be the best things you ever did, aren’t necessarily non-stop fun.
If you want to give your children a stable childhood, you generally have two alternatives: do as much as you can before starting a family, or wait till your kids no longer depend on you. How adventurous will you feel by that time? For most of us, the best time to address that bucket list will be a time when we’re young, resilient, and just a little bit “crazy.” So, what should you consider fitting in?
Seeing more of the world sounds great, but where’s the money to come from? If you don’t have the budget, consider working your way around the world. You get paid, and as long as you have international travel medical insurance, there’s not a lot that can go wrong. Your work pays for your basics, and your free time is spent playing tourist.
Working as an au pair, on cruise ships, or in the tourism industry may not be super-lucrative, but it’s a great way to see the world when you don’t have the budget to hop around at will. You’ll also have an opportunity to spend more time in the countries you visit, getting to know the local culture in ways you’d never have experienced as an ordinary tourist. First prize? Business travel that allows you to advance your career and see more of the world! Kill two birds with one stone!
My buddy gave up hangliding! He’s been a keen flyer for decades, but the arrival of his daughter has led him to take a more sober view of life. Accidents happen. He doesn’t want his daughter to grow up without her daddy just because Daddy likes to jump off mountains. What would you do? Chances are, you’d give up your adrenaline-fuelled passion for the same reason. Don’t have a family yet? Make the most of it! While many adrenaline sports are actually a lot safer than they look, there’s always some risk. Do it before it becomes a moral issue. Play it as safe as you can, but play it!
Think of all the things you might not want to do when you’re mid-career with kids depending on you. Three months living on a houseboat, for example, might not be feasible for the average mom or dad, but it might be possible now. Do it just for the heck of it! Once your bundles of joy arrive, you’ll be too focussed on them to do crazy stuff just because you feel like it. That’s how it should be, so use your opportunity now.
You’ve just finished being answerable to your parents. You’re not yet answerable for the welfare of a parcel of kids. For a very limited window in time, your resources and your time are entirely your own. Don’t waste your opportunity. You’re answerable only to yourself and your conscience. That leaves you a lot of leeway for being just a little bit selfish. Set up that music studio even though you suspect you’ve little chance of making it big in the music world. Strut your stuff as a beauty industry ambassador even though you know you have a “sell by” date of around 25 years old. Go for the experiences you can enjoy now while taking care of yourself and not jeopardising your future. “You” are your primary responsibility, and that’s not a situation that’s going to last forever. Enjoy it!
Sometimes, it’s the little things that you’ll look back on with the most fondness: lying in on a Saturday morning; having the bathroom to yourself for a lengthy pampering session; or staying out late on a Saturday night with your friends. Although your bucket list might not include these simple pleasures, you should enjoy them while you can. Recognize your freedom. Enjoy it. There’ll be plenty of time for early rising and staying in on weekends once your family enters the equation.
And when it does? You’ll be thankful. You’ll be proud. And you won’t be the number one priority in your world any longer, but that’s OK too. Prioritise yourself while you can. Prioritise your family when you have one. Prioritise yourself in the golden moments before you do. It’s all part of living life to the full. Know where you are in your life and career progression, and make the most of your freedoms before getting down to the really serious stuff!