A journey of self-motivation, smoothies, and shenanigans

Life List vs. Bucket List: Finding "The One"

15 August 2021

I recently got out of a 10 year relationship. It was anxiety-inducing, tumultuous, and at the end of the day, not the right fit. It was hard to let go of something I had spent years idolizing, romanticizing, and placing on a pedestal. The idea of being with anyone else was scary, unfamiliar, and out of my comfort zone.

As the bucket list and I started to bicker more and more, I met the life list 1. When deciding which partner was “the one”, I did what any level-headed teenager would do: I whipped out my sticky notes and made a pros and cons list (arranged by color, of course).

Here’s a recap of my brain dump:

Bucket List

What can I say, the bucket list and I go way back. From the day we met, there was never a dull moment. Our first date was a fancy steak dinner in San Francisco and by our second we were sky-diving over Monterey. When we’re together, I feel young, inspired, and alive. I tried to explain this to my parents whose disapproval was apparent at the sight of B’s sleeve tattoo. As they got to know him, however, they eventually came around. My dad is still on edge, but I know he is just trying to protect “daddy’s little girl.”

Although the highs are high in this relationship, the lows are equally as low. For every epic date there is a heated argument and for every spontaneous weekend there is a week of loneliness. The truth is, we don’t get around to seeing each other too often. We both work the dreamy 9-5, so by the time the weekend comes around we are ready for our next extravagant adventure. I am starting to question if this endless loop of ups and downs is sustainable, but that’s what the law of averages is for… right?

Life List

Without fail, the life list sends me good morning texts like clockwork. If I am extra lucky, L will bring me my morning Starbucks, even though my house is on the other side of town. During the day, it doesn’t really matter what we do - all I know is that when we’re together, I light up. Our perfect evening consists of cozying up, ordering a pizza, and turning on HGTV. When we do decide to get out of the house, we love to watch the sunset or join in on family game night. I think my favorite part about our relationship, however, is that L notices the little things that make me Ashley. From my favorite author (shoutout to Mark Manson) to my complete aversion towards mushrooms, I never lose sight of who I am when we’re together.

So, who was the one!?

As attached as I was to what felt familiar, when I finally made the decision to dump the bucket list, there were no random happy birthday texts, self-tormented rom com marathons, or empty boxes of chocolate on the foot of my bed. While my old relationship brought endless adventure, my new one brings enduring love. The life list makes me the happiest I’ve ever been and brings out the best in me.

I encourage you to consider your relationship status. Hey, maybe it doesn’t even have to be monogamous! For me, there’s overlap. The life list provides both challenge and stability and as much as the bucket list pushed my buttons, there was no one who could make me laugh harder. Just don’t be afraid to change what you want because you’ve been committed for 10 years or it’s what everyone else is doing.

Whatever you choose, make sure it’s what is right for you. Happy dating!

  1. Life List (noun): All the things that make me light up, from roses to rock climbing. Can be incorporated into day-to-day life for a go-to pick me up.