how my struggle with chronic anxiety is shaping my bucket list

Okay, so I might only be 26, but I like creating bucket lists because they serve as my little reminder to avoid complacency in favor of remembering my life goals and dreams. Throughout the years, my bucket list has largely looked the same, pretty much consisting of a general theme of money, power, glory, etc…Probably the stuff of a lot of people’s bucket lists! I initially didn’t see any issue with this kind of bucket list, and in some ways I still don’t, but something came along that really made me reconsider the things I was placing importance on.

I’ve talked about it before here on the blog, but after years of struggling with horrible menstrual cycles and being labeled “dramatic” and “overly emotional”, I was finally diagnosed with chronic anxiety/depression and PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder) shortly after the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. I know it sounds a little cliché by now, but being able to put a name to what’s bothering you and being seen/heard/legitimized by people around you really does make a world of difference when dealing with an invisible illness like mental health struggles. It’s been about a year of finding the right medication, attending therapy, and practicing mindfulness with my husband’s patient support before I’ve started to feel stable. (And tbh it’s still a lot of daily work!)

So how does this relate to my bucket list? Well, like for a lot of people, the pandemic really changed things for me. The often turbulent waters of my emotions finally spilled over into an uncontrollable flood with the addition of lockdowns, media fear-mongering, and honestly not knowing if the world would ever look the same. I started to realize how important having a permanent, safe home was for me, and how vital it is to enjoy what you do for a living. Before all of this, I’d constantly sacrifice my needs for the sake of my job, and I shoved my doubts under the rug as long as I was making money. This manifested into a looot of repressed emotions, marital fights, and hefty debt accumulated thanks to an impulsive shopping addiction.

Long story short, being faced with your own mortality and that of those around you due to a worldwide pandemic really shifts the focus of life. I realized that happiness is something money just can’t compete with, and being choosy about who you’re listening to and spending time with can make a huge difference in truly being happy.

Anymore, my bucket list is more focused on having enriching life experiences, like learning to speak French or buying our first home instead of just wanting to be rich. Leading an enriched life is so much fuller in the long run than being rich (not to say that money is completely out of thought; it’s just more in perspective!). The things and people we engage with shape our mental and physical health more than we realize, and when it comes to bucket lists, this is really your time to decide how you want your life to be.

I don’t see bucket lists as stagnant; they’re constantly evolving based on the life we’re living, and that’s okay! I’ve changed what I really want to do due to having anxiety or losing interest in certain stuff; it doesn’t mean life is limited though! Allow yourself to evolve, and mourn the changes you maybe weren’t ready for, but know that there’s always the possibility for something exciting around the corner if you’re willing to expand your goals a bit. No one can determine your story but you!

Xx Tabi

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