For the longest time, I have been told that I need a bucket list. For years I kept one, list all the things that I have not done yet, all the things that I want to do, places I wanted to go, and things I wanted to see. In fact, there was a movie about it that I watched. But, every time I looked at the list, I was often bummed, about the things I wouldn’t do, places I may not get to go etc. It was like I was a prisoner of things that could not be done.
When my wife passed away in May of 2017, it hit even harder. We were planning things that we would do together, and not just for the long-term future, but for things we wanted to do in 2-3 years. All those plans now lost, never to be done, and if I spend too much time, I start to really feel bad that it will never happen.
What took me some time to realize, it is not what we didn’t do, but all the things we did. We should have kept a list of where we went, what we did, who we met etc. Many people have maps or globes with pins of all the places they have been, this is the idea. When people take pictures with their phones, post on social media or share, they are creating this list. The key is to somehow organize it so that you can review it once in a while. If you spend all the time looking at what you do not have or have not done, you will not be as happy as looking at all that you succeeded. I hate that it took the loss of Sheila for me to realize all the places we went, the things we did, and the time we spent.
What is strange that I talk about looking down the mountain at work. As stated before I manage a lot of IT projects, which seem to never end. As developers, we are always looking at what features are next, what system is next to build etc. In the late 90s, we used to give lexan mementos for releases. It was the age of excess we spent money often poorly, but in hindsight, this was actually something that was important. It was celebrating milestones. The sad thing, was once budgets were cut, one manager thought to celebrate it by creating a tombstone one. We all laughed, but looking back, those little paperweights probably meant more in morale-boosting than many other things being done.
On large projects, I now remind my developers to look down and what we achieved, I take them to lunch to thank them and want them to know that no matter how much work lies ahead that we need to celebrate what we have completed. There will always be new features to do, new systems to build, and another mountain to climb. If you don’t look down and celebrate what you have achieved, as well as enjoy the view, you will miss enjoying what you got into IT for, building systems.
So in life, and in work, it is important to remember to not just look forward, but look behind.
My world famous disclaimer… so, this blog has nothing to do with my current employer. I provide the information without warranty blah blah blah. I make no money from this blog, there are no advertising, or charges to anyone. I do this as a brain dump, to leave something behind. If you want to support me, instead of doing that support one of the charities I care about, the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital and Hockey in Newark. I do moderate all comments, and try to remove anything that is not in the spirit of the site. Thanks for reading