Several years ago I wrote a bucket list for my life. It was thirty things I wanted to accomplish before I turned thirty, ranging from personal development to education and career goals. They ranged from getting a degree to learning a new language to traveling to different countries that I’d wanted to visit since I was in high school.
I don’t remember all the goals on the list, but I do remember that I accomplished almost none of them. When I was twenty-eight, that felt like a failure. After all, conventional wisdom puts a lot of stock in having a five-year plan, going to school, advancing in a career, setting goals for your personal life and checking them off. At twenty-eight I had accomplished none of the major plans I’d set for my twenties, and the things I’d worked at for several years—getting married, putting ten years into moving up the ladder in a career—suddenly dissolved. I hadn’t traveled the world, hadn’t made it to college, and had pretty much shelved art, once my passion, as a dead end.