A Different Kind of Quantum Leap: Letting Go of Ambition

Tao Te Ching Detail
Tao Te Ching Detail (Photo credit: lyzadanger)

Wise people are not absorbed

in their own needs.

They take the needs of all people as their own.

They are good to the good.

But they are also good to those

who are still absorbed in their own needs.


Because goodness is in the very nature

of the Great Integrity.

Wise people trust

those who trust.

But they also trust those who do not trust.


Because trusting is the very nature

of the Great Integrity.

Wise people merge with all other

rather than stand apart judgmentally.

In this way, all begin to open their ears and hearts,

more prepared to return to the innocence of childhood.

Verse 49, Tao Te Ching

Translated by Ralph Alan Dale

Do You Have a Reverse Bucket List?

EARHART, AMELIA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last weekend, I helped my son with his final book report of the year.  The topic was famous women and he chose Amelia Earhart.  I had forgotten much of what I knew about her.  What stood out for me beyond her many awards and accomplishments is that she died at age 39 years old in 1937.  My Dad was 14 years old then, and my mom was seven.

My father’s mother had already died by 1937 from strep throat, which changed his life forever.  Penicillin had not been discovered yet.  My father would live another 71 years.

In his life, my father travelled to Hawaii and Alaska and Germany and Jamaica.  We went on road trips and other plane adventures to experience the bicentennial in 1976 and the Wild West in Wyoming and Yellowstone. He saw even more places with my mom like Venezuela and Mount Ranier and London.

The world has changed so much for men and women in the last 75 years since Earhart’s disappearance in the Pacific.  She seems so modern because she was a pioneer of the age we now live in — where finding our interest and pursuing it with our whole heart is considered important.

Yet, what if we don’t have an overarching passion?  My Dad  didn’t seem to have any.  He loved to play bridge and be part of a family, but he didn’t seem to have great ambition.  Despite his lack of interest in adventure, he went onmany of them anyway.

Some of us are pulled into bigger adventures that maybe we can’t see if we only look at what we think we want to do.

I share all of this because I wonder if sometimes it’s good to do a reverse bucket list, and see where our destiny has taken us.  So many of us are encouraged to live BIG lives on purpose.

But what if life has a bigger purpose for you that you didn’t see.

So, here’s a suggestion.  Depending on your age, what big events happened or you made happen in the following categories:

  1. What were the 20 most important things that happened before you were 20?  What was your 20 under 20?
  2.  Your 30 under 30?
  3. Your 40 under 40?
  4. Your 50 under 50?
  5. etc

You can just keep adding 10 things to your previous list or change your lists if certain decades were “bigger” than others.

You might be surprised to find what the most meaningful events have been for you.

For instance, having my appendix removed when I was 14 and having the doctor say they were lucky they operated when they did taught me how short life can be. It’s not exactly something you put on a bucket list — but it’s on my 20 life changing events before I was 20 list.

If you have time, take a look at how much of an adventure your life has been.  If it’s not been as meaningful or adventurous as you would like by all means create a bucket list.

Just know that not everything that is important will happen because you planned it.  We live in an age of adventure — what has yours been?

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