We should want our life goals for more than just ourselves.
I wrote a bucket list a while ago. Since then, I’ve checked off a few things and left the rest untouched. Recently, I reread it.
Climb Mount Moran..
Learn to hold a handstand..
Then I noticed something: none of these things involve helping someone else. There was no donation section in my bucket list. No ‘volunteer a soup kitchen’ or ‘visit a charity overseas.’
Everything was mine to check off – for me. My immediate reaction was a sense of shock, because I obviously wasn’t doing enough for others. That was supposedly the key to happiness, right? The golden rule. I worried my goals were too self oriented and that I was selfish.
When I thought about it, though, it didn’t seem that way. I remembered when I accepted the job in Honduras.
The founder and I sat adjacent each other and I told him,
“I don’t want to help poor people..”
I took shit for that for weeks. My friends couldn’t believe that I had started a non-profit job interview by saying I didn’t want to help the poor.
I meant it though.
The clients weren’t ‘poor people’ in my eyes. I was there to help people; to help others. I wasn’t approaching this as a donor and I knew my reasons weren’t purely altruistic.
My goal was to take a good job, gain good experience, and try giving back for what the world gave me. Although my motivations have changed since then, as I’ve gotten to know the community here, the objectives were still my own, even though the net result was in service.
Not all aid has to be selfless.
Just because I’m concerned with my livelihood, doesn’t mean I’m not contributing.
And so I’ve started a second bucket list. It strictly contains things I want to do that will hopefully benefit others. Things like:
Work a non-profit job for more than a year..
Get thanked by someone you serve..
Get yelled at by someone you serve..
Buy someone a meal who needs it..
Shelter someone for a night..
Rescue a dog from a shelter..
Donate x amount of blood..
These things will broaden my worldview and maybe –just maybe – make someone else’s bucket list, more possible.
What does your service bucket list look like? Write your own and post it in the comments! Or send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org