In the most non stalker-ish way possible, I’ve enjoyed watching Ben and his family really build a life of meaning and purpose that works for their family. With a large mutual friend group, our lives has been in close proximity for over the last decade and the Crawford family never ceases to amaze me. Ben and Kami truly are willing to put all “norms” on the able and only pick up what they feel works for them and their family. I asked Ben to write this piece because so many families are so hungry for deep relationships and an enjoyable life, and though Ben and Kami’s approach may not work for you, I’ve found their commitment to dive in and pursue, an immense encouragement and inspiration. You can connect with them directly at Fight For Together. Thank you Ben for sharing.
In my early 20’s, I had all sorts of epic bucket list ideas.
- I wanted to climb Everest.
- I wanted to run a marathon without training.
- I wanted to road trip to all the National Parks.
- I wanted to live in NYC for a summer.
The problem was we had toddlers and were on welfare. So instead of climbing Everest, I spent my time changing diapers. This felt like a huge failure as I sat around dreaming of the great things that might come…someday.
6 kids, 5 jobs, numerous adventures and almost 20 years later I see that failure is optional. My perspective of the bucket list has changed.
Let’s start off with the problems I experienced with the bucket list.
The bucket list doesn’t account for how we’re going to change. Many people plan their bucket list 20-40 years out. They’re working for their retirement. The problem is we don’t know who we’ll be in 20 years. Think about who you were 20 years ago. Do you really want to create a goal and make sacrifices for someone you don’t even know?
The bucket list is putting all your eggs in one, very unstable, basket. Have you heard about the people who died on Everest because they were waiting in line, this year? After having six kids, I’ve decided I don’t want to die waiting in line. Many people get to retirement and say they hate it. It’s boring. Many of the national parks I’ve been to have been miserable. Crowded with people taking pictures for Instagram. These were the things I was planning on sacrificing my life for.
The bucket list is not scalable. When I got married I fantasized of my wife and 2 kids dying in a car crash so that maybe I could climb Everest. Sad but true. It was the only way my bucket list would happen. This is why people are getting married and having fewer kids, later and later or not at all. Kids and life partners often get in the way of the bucket list because these goals are often the fantasies of one person.
And finally our most important…
The Bucket list causes us to ignore the most valuable thing that is within our control: THIS week.
Ten years ago I heard an old guy say “If you don’t do it every week, you don’t care about it.” That’s when I realized that I had been living a crappy week with the excuse that someday I would have adventure. Someday I would get fit. Someday I would write my book.
Immediately my wife and I started to put the majority of our effort into crafting a good week. One that we were proud of. To do that we created a list of the things that mattered to us: Creativity, fitness, adventure, togetherness… and we asked if we were to plan each of these values into a weekly event what would it look like?
At first it was difficult. It felt restrictive. But we realized something was going to fill up our time. It might as well be the things we say are important to us. Ten years later it’s much easier and we’ve accomplished things beyond our original bucket list. These are some benefits we learned along the way.
- It’s easy to course correct and change any time. Don’t like how it worked out? Give it another week. If you still hate it, maybe adventure isn’t what you need right now. Schedule some creativity or learning instead. The point is to realize your values, and by definition, those can change.
- You can plan events for all ages. One day a week my wife and I go out on a date. 2 days a week most of us run. 3 days a week the older kids lead the adults in weight training. On Friday and Saturday we all rest. And one day a week my wife and I have a family business meeting where we evaluate our schedule so we can add new ideas and subtract what’s not working.
- You’ll never regret it. A lifetime is made up of a bunch of individual weeks. If you learn to live a good week, you’ll live a good life that’s probably better than anything on your bucket list could give you.
And most importantly…
- You can start today. You don’t have to wait 30 years. In fact you should start today. If you don’t, you know what you’re saying is valuable to you probably isn’t.
The last 10 years I’ve come to appreciate something else. Adventure, community, and creativity, with the ones I love. Every. Single. Week. What could be better? Who knows, maybe someday the lines will die down and I’ll end up climbing Everest. But if I do, it will be the cherry on top of the sundae, not the sundae itself. I won’t sacrifice all the weeks in between now and then to get there.
Ben is a daily Vlogger with his wife Kami and 6 kids at Fight For Together.
He recorded a video discussion about this topic titled How to Have the Best Week of your Life, if you want to hear more.