I recently read a News Ltd. article What’s on Australia’s holiday bucket list – and how we’re really spending our time. Apparently Australians want to do things like get fit, road trip along the Great Ocean Road, experience the Northern Territory and see Uluru, swim with dolphins and learn languages etc. The top ten bucket list items all seemed pretty standard, and I would imagine that at least one item on the list would appeal to the majority of Australian adults.
What struck me more about the article, wasn’t what Australian’s had put on the bucket list, but rather the reasons why they thought they wouldn’t achieve them.
Apparently when surveyed, many said that they couldn’t afford to tick off the items on their list, or didn’t have enough time due to work commitments, or worse still, time spent doing house work!
And even though my family is now in the head space where we believe anything is possible, it wasn’t that long ago that we might have given the same responses. We absolutely understand what it feels like to spend all your time working to pay the mortgage, the utility bills, the loans and the school fees. We’ve been there for the past 10 years, (in fact until we sell our house, we are still there) but something has changed. Now we believe that all of those things on the Australian bucket list are achievable. Some might call us dreamers (many have!) but I think it’s all about perspective. If you believe you can, then you will.
Earlier this year Simon and I were feeling overwhelmed and ‘owned’ by the life that we were living. We were both working our butts off, but rarely had the time to enjoy the things we paid for. Take our house for example. It’s not a mansion on the hill or anything, but it is the kind of house that you would expect two professionals to own. Four bedrooms, separate study, games room, formal lounge, en suite, outdoor entertaining area and so on. It’s a lovely home, and we’ve been really grateful to live here, but how much do we really LOVE it? Do we love it enough to work six days a week to pay for it? And what about keeping it cool in summer and warm in winter? (Unfortunately Adelaide gets the worst of both). That’s a lot of rooms to fill, not just with furniture, but with stuff as well. And don’t get me started on how long it takes to keep it all clean and tidy! I know we may be at odds with the average Australian family, but I don’t think it all made us that happy. In fact, I actually believe that the more time you spend working to pay for your home, the more you begin to resent it.
Right now, my bucket list would be filled with things like spending more time with my beautiful kids and my wonderful husband, or having meaningful experiences, travel, yes, but not just short ‘vacations’ before heading back to the grindstone, getting fit (I’ve recently started jogging) and being healthy.
If you believe you can, then you will. Not everyone needs to go completely to the other end of the spectrum, selling everything they own to travel the globe like us. But, just by setting the goals, you’ve taken the first step. Believe that you can reach the goals, and you will find yourself in a different head space as well. Do you really need a guest bedroom that gets used a couple of times a year? How many dinner-sets is too many to own? When we figured out what it was that was keeping us from achieving our goals, the solution was simple “Get rid of them!”
After all, does my home own me, or do I own it?