When I first read about ‘putting first things first’, it made a lot of sense. Just figure out what you want your life to look like and reverse-engineer your life from there. See what needs to change/accommodate it to make that ‘end of your life’ vision come to life. Want to see yourself as a millionaire at 60? No problem. Calculate how much you need to have/invest by the time you are 50, 40, 30, etc., and, work towards those goals to ultimately become a millionaire. And, if you are already at 30 with a huge gap between your goal and reality, change your life to meet your goals. It’s as simple as that. But, life seldom works this way. We (atleast most of us) cannot just drop all our commitments and take a path leading to our dreams. Our lives are more complicated than that. What do we do then?
Let’s face it. Not all items in your bucket list will be ticked off. Not all your dreams will come true, ’cause, all our lists are full of ‘100 things to do before you die’ and ‘100 place to visit before you die’ stuff which someone recommended and not necessarily driven by our own passion. So, when we honestly check our lists and remove the superficial, we’ll be left with some dreams we absolutely want to realise failing which would leave us hollow. So, if from our bucket lists, we remove the grain from the chaff and list them in an order, we can decide on what can realistically be done now and what dreams make sense only when we reach a certain milestone in life? (like building a home library, which makes sense only after purchasing a house) and work on one at a time incorporating its task components into our day to day schedules.
If this is one issue, ’living backward’ poses one another serious problem. It might project a vision of how we want to be remembered/perceived. But, is that what we really want to do is another question. Example – if I want to be remembered for a great taste in books, the ‘living backward’ version raises a possibility of me collecting books considered by others as ‘books of taste’ instead of collecting books which I actually liked. So, though I have a commendable book collection at the end of my life, does it truly reflect me? Or, would I feel hollow?
As everyday passes, we change, we learn, we grow, that’s the nature of life. What we want, how we want to live, what we dream change as we grow up. Having a strict vision and looking back causes unnecessary pain and anguish. So, periodically checking our dreams, weighing them against our values and beliefs and finalising, planning accordingly, will not only make our life productive but also meaningful.