Friday, March 25, 2016

The emptiness of bucket-list living

As a therapist, I’ve talked to numerous seniors as both patients and colleagues. Rather than feeling exhilarated by a life of bucket-list adventures, they often end up feeling depressed and disconnected.

As they travel the world to soak up experiences, too many seniors inevitably lose track of what really matters—their connections to family, friends and community. They feel like strangers in their own homes. Eventually, the bucket list becomes something of an addiction: The high from an adventure doesn’t last, so seniors find themselves piling on experiences to keep the thrills coming, further alienating them from real life back home.

There’s a way out of this trap. Retirees should think about using all of the advantages that make a bucket list possible, such as wealth and vigor, to build something much deeper and more meaningful. Instead of taking a dream vacation to chase fleeting thrills, they should use their time to create something more lasting instead—whether that means building bonds with family or their community or reimagining travel adventures as an opportunity to share experiences and wisdom with grandchildren.
--Marc Agronin, WSJ, on doing what really matters