A couple years ago, I enrolled in an online course entitled “Make The Most Of Your Single Life.” I was as single as a pringle at the time, and the thought of making the most of my life as a single person actually sounded exciting, especially considering singleness isn't always talked about in the most appealing way. In one particular section of the course, Stephanie (the instructor) talked about how important it is to love the season you’re in and enjoy it while you can. Because as shocking as it might seem, there are actually a lot of perks to being single. So why not enjoy them?
After talking through these perks, she challenged everyone in the course to make a single life bucket list by asking this question: “If you knew you would be married in five years, what would you do with your time, your money, and your resources in the meantime?”
This question rocked my world. Even though there was absolutely no guarantee I’d be married in five years, I really started thinking about what I wanted to do and what I wanted to accomplish during this season. Or as the cheesy Pinterest quote says, I wanted to figure out how I could bloom where I was planted.
So with Stephanie’s question in mind, I did one of my absolute favorite things. I grabbed a pen and notepad, and I started making my list. This list was filled with everything from places I wanted to travel, goals I wanted to accomplish, character qualities I wanted to develop, books I wanted to read, and so on and so forth. The more I wrote, the more excited I became, and the bigger the smile spread across my face. For the first time ever, I was focusing on the opportunities I could take right now instead of wishing for the opportunities that may or may not come down the road. And for the first time in a long time, I was excited about the season God had me in at that very moment.
Fast forward to today, as I’ve started trying to apply this mentality to all seasons of my life, because I realized that this isn’t just something I can do in regards to being single. This is something I can think about and live out in any season, whether that's single, engaged, married, in school, out of school, working, whatever.
The whole point in making this list is to take advantage of where you are at this point in your life, instead of waiting around and thinking your life won’t start until you get to the next season.
Thinking about your life through this lens is an absolute game changer. Everyone and everything around us tries so hard to convince us that life is better once you get to the next stage or the next event or the next milestone. Being content where you are isn’t exactly the most marketable lifestyle in our culture. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be content, or even excited about where we are.
Brene Brown once said, “Joy comes to us in ordinary moments. We risk missing out when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary.”
Have you ever been guilty of that? Being too busy waiting on something extraordinary that you miss the joy that comes from the ordinary? I know I have been. So many times I’ve been preoccupied with just wanting to be done with school or just wanting a new job or just wanting to be married that I fail to soak in the good that exists in the present.
Think about this way. Most people reading this are probably done with high school. So think back to when you were 16 or 17-yeas-old. At some point during that time in your life, did you ever say something like, “I can’t wait until high school’s over,” or “I’ve just got to make it to graduation,” or “Just wait until I turn 18.” I can almost guarantee we’ve all had those thoughts at least once or twice (or 47 times). We thought that life would be so much better, so much more fun, so much easier if we could just be done with high school. But eventually, we realized that while some things about life post-high school are fun and exciting, there also are some added challenges….like going to college, or moving out, or finding a job, or paying bills. The list goes on and on.
The point I’m trying to make here is that every single season has it’s pros, but every single season also has it’s cons. Unfortunately, we spend way too much time focusing on nothing but the cons of our current season and wishing for nothing but the pros of seasons to come. And that’s where I would love to see change happen.
So here’s my challenge to you. I want you to grab a pen and paper (or open the Notes app on your phone) and take a second to think about where you are in life right now. If you knew this season would be over in a few years, what are some of the things you would want to do? Where are some places you would want to go? What are some relationships you want to invest in? What character qualities would you like to develop or what thought patters would you like to change? Ask yourself these questions and start writing down the answers. Before you know it, you’ll have a bucket list tailored just for this season.
To help you get started, I’ll give you a specific example. A couple months ago I turned 25, and my little brother was so gracious to remind me on the morning of my birthday that I was halfway through my twenties. How sweet of him, right? (Insert eye roll here.) That thought stuck in my mind for a few days as I thought about hitting the halfway point of this decade. So instead of slipping into a quarter-life-crisis, I started a seasonal bucket list. It only has five things on it (for now), but they are all things I want to do before I turn 30. Those five things are:
- Travel a lot (in country and internationally)
- Start writing a book
- Speak at an event
- Get out of debt
- Feel good about my body and self-image
Again, it’s a short list, but it’s a very important list. These are some pretty lofty goals, but they’re all things I want to be able to say I did when I look back on my twenties. So what about you? When you look back on your current season, what do you want to be able to say you did? What memories do you want to make? What places do you want to see? And what steps can you start taking now to help you get there?
I hope that whatever season you’re in, you’ll take the time to make one of these lists. But even more than that, I hope that you’ll begin to see that the opportunities available to you in this season are endless, and if you look hard enough, you can find joy in even the most ordinary moments.