Opinion: Dear Susi Q, Resolutions or Bucket List in 2023?


I didn’t make resolutions this year, but I do want to create a bucket list. Is this a good idea, or will I set myself up for disappointment?

–Wondering what’s next

Kathleen “Kay” Wenger, LMFT, LPCC, Clinical Supervisor, Behavioral Health Programs at the Susi Q; Owner, LagunaBeachCounseling.com responds:

New Year’s resolutions are so yesterday at this point. Not to mention that most of my older clients prefer not to wait to make decisions about changes in their lives – after all, why wait until the beginning of a new year to resolve to accomplish something important to you, especially when you don’t have as many years left as you did when you were younger? 

Also, the Boomer-and-beyond generation is generally wise to the notion that extravagant promises to oneself at the beginning of the year, such as losing vast amounts of weight or running on the treadmill for an hour, are seldom kept in the long term. That can lead to unnecessary depression. 

I think a bucket list, an approach that has become increasingly common in the past couple of decades, is a better idea. It’s a much more positive way to make the most of one’s later years. 

True, bucket lists may include items that may ultimately prove impossible to accomplish – perhaps that trip to the Antarctic will prove too expensive or time-consuming – but half the fun is writing down a wish-list and seeing if you can make it happen. Unlike New Year resolutions, bucket list items don’t feel punitive. Instead, they’re aspirational in nature and can be quite energizing.

Nor do they have to be big-ticket ideas. Deciding that you’ll spend more time with your beloved grandchildren, or take a weekend road trip with them, might be more rewarding than that Antarctic trip. Perhaps joining a book club is on your list, or going to a concert – or learning Tai Chi. Check out the fun programs at the Susi Q for inspiration!

Resolutions feel like work: bucket list items remind you that there are plenty of fun activities to enjoy, no matter your age!

“Dear Susi Q,” brought to you by the nonprofit Laguna Beach Seniors, is intended to provide readers with helpful advice on relationships, retirement, home safety, transportation, mental/physical health, and local entertainment and educational resources. It’s “Dear Abby” for the Laguna Beach crowd.

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