You Guys, I Think I Have Basically Just Explained The Meaning Of Life

So I have this theory about buckets. Wait, wait, don't walk away just yet: it's not really about buckets, it's about life. But it involves buckets. I mean, sort of. Peripherally. Just listen.

I feel like everyone, in their life, has a set of buckets. We mostly all have the same buckets, although they change as we age and our lives expland and contract. My own buckets, at least at the moment, are these: my marriage, my job, my house, my friendships, my family, and my general appearance and well-being.

We are, at any given time, trying to balance those buckets: to keep them full and cared-for. And it is difficult: they almost never, ever line up. Right now, for instance, I'm feeling very happy in my marriage, but I'm not so pleased with my appearance. I've been a little neglectful of my friendships recently, so that bucket is rather depleted, but I spent a wonderful weekend with my family, and so that bucket is all topped up. There is rarely, rarely, a time when all my buckets are full and functioning properly. Most of the time, I find, I'm struggling to get them aligned. And when they are aligned, it's glorious.

I hardly think this is a new and novel idea, but it's been the way I've thought about my life for the longest time. I'm curious to know if you think about your life this way too. What are your buckets? How many of them are full? 

She Likes Purple
Apr 07, 2011

Mine are: my marriage, my family (immediate and extended in separate buckets), my job, my friendships, my weight-loss and fitness goals, my house, my writing, and my adventures (doing new things and seeing new places is important to me).

Often -- no almost always -- the bucket that gets the short end is my house. It's the one area I'm almost never proud of. I don't know if I'll ever get a hold of the chores and update and decorate rooms on top of that. I have this dream home that is never put together, and it's actually kind of tough to admit that but there it is.

Apr 07, 2011

There's an entire self-helpish book based on this premise, right?

Nothing But Bonfires
Apr 07, 2011

Is there? I don't know, I haven't read it. This is just how I've always thought about it.

Mine: Marriage/home life, friendships, family, work, creativity/artistry, appearance. Right now, I'm feeling like work is full full full, and everything else is feeling a bit neglected. Marriage/home life is at the forefront, but in a weird way that doesn't quite feel nurtured - it almost feels rushed, in a way.

I feel like that isn't making sense, but in essence: I know what you mean.

Apr 07, 2011

I like this, and I tend to agree. I feel like one area is always being short-changed a little. My buckets would be by relationship, my teaching job, my family, my friends, my health goals. Oh, and my cat. I like this idea, though.

Apr 07, 2011

My buckets: myself/my health, my relationship, my dogs, my home, playing the piano, my job and 'other people.' (Other people = family & friends, not so much acquaintances.)

Sadly, my job seems to be the one that gets most of the attention these days since I'm still pretty new to it. I've also been a bit obsessed lately w/ home-decor stuff, so am spending a lot of time thinking about that.

But on the whole I'm usually able to find a pretty good balance. Goes with not having too many buckets to focus on, maybe... :)

Apr 07, 2011

I think April was saying that she thought this was an idea for a book that's still to be written rather than one that's already been published - but I may be wrong.

So when you die and, as they say, kick the bucket, I wonder which one you kick? Presumably the one that has to do with your health? That becomes an increasingly important bucket as you get older.

Apr 08, 2011

I've always envisaged the areas in my life as juggling balls (probably as a result of working for a circus school), where I try to keep them all in the air and at an even pace, but inevitably one falls to the ground after a while. Your buckets work really well as a visual too. Mine are the same as yours, and I agree that it is not often they are all at the same level. Although now I think about it, mine are pretty good right now: our marriage is going well (six months this Saturday!), the house is mostly finished and I just got saved from the threat of unemployment. My friendship one is always slightly low, however, mostly because my two best friends live in Germany and Australia and I never, ever see them as much as I want to.

Apr 08, 2011

When imagine this, I picture laundry. Neatly folded, balanced piles.

Instead of buckets, I imagine clothes hampers or laundry baskets. (But wait! They're the really nice ones. Fancy ones that you can't quite afford, but buy, anyway, knowing they'll make laundry day so lovely.)

My Life Laundry Baskets are: learning, health, finances, and relationships. Lately, I'd say that my health basket is brimming with lovely, fluffy piles of laundry.

As for everything else, though, I'm haphazardly throwing stuff in their general direction.
I'm more likely to perfect one basket at the expense of all the rest.

Whoa. This is deep for 6am.

Apr 08, 2011

No, I meant an actual book. I dont recall who wrote it, but when I was a student teacher my classroom piloted an educational program based on it.

Apr 08, 2011

Yes, although I have generally thought of this in terms of only two buckets (personal and professional. Apparently I need more subdividable buckets). Generally if one is going well, the other is not so well.

Apr 08, 2011

There is a book out there with the same premise...however, it is more about having 1 bucket and positive things fill your bucket and negative take out of it, mostly surrounding things others say. The reason I know-my husband's family, (aunt, cousin, sister and mother) all giggle about it as I think my sister-in-law had to read that book for a graduate level class for teaching. She relayed the theory to the other women and they all thought it was kind of funny and true. So now, if one of them makes a joke about the other or says something unkind, even not seriously, they will tell each other, "don't take from my bucket!"

Either way, its a good visual to help balance out the many important things in your life.

Apr 08, 2011

Your bucket analogy is a good one!

Most of mine don't have to be 'full', they just have to be at a certain level for me to be content...the key is to realize which one I'm needing the most at a certain time.

I don't believe in 'balance' like other people do. Life is never balanced, it's always changing and evolving, up n down n all around.

I believe in fueling the part of me that needs it the most. If I feel out of sorts and can't tell which one needs filling, that usually means I need sunshine and fresh air...(that could be the spring fever talkin')


Apr 08, 2011

This spoke to me enough to drag me from lurking (kicking and screaming, practically). My buckets are work, marriage, motherhood, my health, my family, my friends. In my case I feel like one bucket (work) is somehow draining the others. It's full, but not in a satisfying way, and it's at the expense of everything else.

Apr 08, 2011

I'm with DanaB... keep juggling those buckets! And I'm also all for taking time to discover new buckets, and kick the old peripheral buckets to the curb when they're played out.

Marriage, Family, and Friends buckets all stay central. Hobbies/interests buckets can be added or kicked to the curb at will.


Apr 08, 2011

FINALLY de-lurking to say that i absolutely love the way you thought of balancing life like they are buckets of water (maybe mine can be full of wine?). I would have never thought of this. Anyway, mine are: my family, my friends, my boyfriend, trying to find a full time job, and my sanity. Not sure how many are balanced, but I'm figuring it out.

Apr 08, 2011

This made me think of this marriage book I read that talked about 'love tanks' and how your love tank can be empty, and how you can learn to fill up your significant other's 'love tank.'

It was somewhat cheesy, but had some good points- and now my husband will tell me his love tank is empty and needs me to do XYZ for him. It always makes me laugh.

This applies to buckets in the sense that maybe we should be willing to let others help fill up our buckets/tanks, so they can be more balanced.

I'm really not sure what that means. I'm no self-help guru.

Apr 08, 2011

I had a conversation with a friend several years ago about bucket-suckers. She was encouraging me to eliminate the people in my life who suck my bucket dry and concentrate on those who help me fill it up instead.

Apr 08, 2011

I can't even believe I'm going to say this but I'm kind of reminded by something that Carrie Bradshaw said--that we're always looking for a man, a job, or an apartment. For most of my life, this has proven to be true. I have a few more buckets than that (family, friends, health, etc) but the job/home buckets sure do take up a lot of time.

Apr 08, 2011

Buckets - relationship, work, home, family, me and other. (there always has to be a misc category, don't you think?) When I moved away from everything for a job, it sure made it easy to focus on certain buckets, but it does make it a lonely one too.

Apr 08, 2011

I was thinking about these buckets and realized that I have five or six, but that at least three of them are work. I have Marriage, Family, and Friends buckets, but then I also have Work that Makes Money, School Work/The Bleeberty-bleebing Dissertation, and The Many Jobs I Have to Do to Keep the Funding for the Dissertation. Oh, plus Writing/Blogging, Spiritual Life, and Health/Appearance/Wellbeing. So I guess that makes nine. And I didn't even put home, which goes to show you the condition of my home.

#@$&!, no wonder I'm always tired.

Apr 08, 2011

Interesting. You've made me realize that for the past however many years (9-10 since they've been married) I've had a sort of small separate bucket for my daughter-in-law alongside the "family" one. Long story, but as much as I tried and tried to merge her bucket with "ours", she seemed to still prefer having her own. But now, toward the end of a long-awaited though difficult pregnancy, there's no question in my mind that the advent of our first grandchild will effect the blending of that bucket into what will surely be the biggest and fullest one of all. A few of the other buckets are bound to be neglected for a while (who cares about the house, really?) but that family bucket? By FAR the most important one of them all!

Kate from Ohio
Apr 08, 2011

My buckets are my marriage, kids, extended family, work, house. Yesterday one of my kids told me that they wished I treated him as well as I treated Daddy. I guess he thought I was short changing the kid bucket. I might add that this was because I would not turn around to get Master Obi Wan's light saber for his show and tell. I bet his buckets are a lot different than mine.

Apr 08, 2011

Wow, I do think about my life in a very similar way, though it's more like different piles. I've got the work pile, and within that pile there are at least 3 different piles that I have to move back and forth from; then my house/garden/chores pile; the marriage pile; the family pile; and the creative pursuits pile. Those are not in any kind of order.
SO basically, I file like I'm trying to hold up these piles, but when they are ignored, they get bigger and are harder to keep up, so when I start to drop one pile, I focus on that one for awhile. The other piles then get heavier while I'm trying to lighten the one. The creativity one ends up super heavy and forgotten a lot of the time. The house one too, and you could throw pets in there. It's a miracle any of them are alive (dog, cat, turtle, bearded dragon, fish).
So my metaphorical arms hurt from how heavy my life is sometimes.

Apr 08, 2011

The financial bucket is EMPTY.

Apr 08, 2011

I think of my life the exact same way, except instead of buckets, they're plants, and instead of being empty, the plants start to wilt when they've been neglected.

My buckets/plants are: my marriage, my well-being, my family, my job, and my apartment. Right now the only plant that's blooming is my job, which I didn't really realize until I sat down and read this post. My family is fine, my marriage could use a little extra water, maybe, and my apartment and my well-being need some serious maintenance.

So, I get it. And thanks for the wake up call.

Savvy in San Francisco
Apr 08, 2011

It is so true!!! You always try to have all the buckets full but it just isn't possible! Always in pursuit of the perfect balance!

Apr 08, 2011

Sorry, the following is really long. But reading your post made me think about my buckets, and well, the following sums up my buckets:

There's a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza,
There's a hole in the bucket, dear Liza,
There's a hole.

Then fix it dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
Then fix it dear Henry, dear Henry, fix it.

With what should I fix it, dear Liza, dear Liza,
With what should I fix it, dear Liza, with what?

With a straw, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
With a straw, dear Henry, dear Henry, with a straw.

But the straw is too long, dear Liza, dear Liza,
The straw is too long, dear Liza, too long.

Then cut it dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
Then cut it dear Henry, dear Henry, cut it!

With what shall I cut it, dear Liza, dear Liza,
With what shall I cut it, dear Liza, with what?

With an ax, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
With an ax, dear Henry, an ax.

But the ax is too dull, dear Liza, dear Liza,
The ax is too dull, dear Liza, too dull.

Then, sharpen it, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
Then sharpen it dear Henry, dear Henry, sharpen it!

With what should I sharpen it, dear Liza, dear Liza,
With what should I sharpen, dear Liza, with what?

With a stone, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
With a stone, dear Henry, dear Henry, a stone.

But the stone is too dry, dear Liza, dear Liza,
The stone is too dry, dear Liza, too dry.

Then wet it, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
Then wet it dear Henry, dear Henry, wet it.

With what should I wet it, dear Liza, dear Liza,
With what should I wet it, dear Liza, with what?

With water, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
With water, dear Henry, dear Henry, with water.

But how shall I get it?, dear Liza, dear Liza,
But how shall I get it?, dear Liza, with what?

In the bucket, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
In the bucket, dear Henry, dear Henry, in the bucket!

But there's a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza,
There's a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, a hole.
There's a hole.

Apr 08, 2011

I think your general appearance is just lovely, and not just because of your cool red coat. It was great to meet you tonight and get to know another local blogger!

That balance is illusive, and think it could drive a person's stress level sky high to continuing to attempt perfection. I tend to be content to work on whichever bucket is my priority of the moment. Perhaps you could combine some of your bucketing - work out with a friend, etc.

Shut The Folk Up
Apr 08, 2011

Wait, wait, wait. Do we have a finite volume of liquid in these buckets? Is it dispersed between the buckets? Do we get more liquid for our buckets when we are living more fulfilling lives?

I think I've taken the fun out of this metaphor.

Apr 08, 2011

Buckets in order of time/energy devoted to them:


Personally I tend to use a gardening analogy. I imagine all these areas of my life planted in a garden (blooming or not) and I need to look after them. Some of them - such as kids and career- are young shoots requiring the most energy to nurture and help blossom. Others, like my marriage- are bigger, sturdier plants that are more self-sufficient so they need less day to day maintenance. Fitness is a neglected thing that I mean to get to but if there is any energy left over I end up indulging the fruits of the friendship/family and relaxation/creativity trees.

Buckets work too though - because there is a finite amount of energy/time in a day and it always gets shifted from one area to the other much as I enjoy trying to multi-task. Living is so exhausting. I feel like I need a nap just thinking about it.

Apr 09, 2011

It's funny because I totally used to have and monitor such buckets when I was in junior high and high school. I remember it very clearly, they were: Family, Friends, Love Life, Sports and Academics. Any time I was considering how things were going in my life, I would carefully think through these five vectors. I know, high maintenance, right?

I haven't thought about my buckets for years and years, but I suppose my buckets these days would be: Marriage, Children, Career, Health/Athletics, Friends, Adventure. Not so different than what they used to be I guess...just the grown up versions.

Apr 09, 2011

for some reason, i'm not thinking bucket list, and kicking the bucket(s).

Apr 11, 2011

I fell in my bucket and drowned.

Apr 12, 2011

I don't know about buckets but I always refer to the Sex and the City episode where Carrie says something to the effect of, "In New York, every woman aspires to have the same things - a good job, a good apartment, and a good relationship. But it's seemingly impossible to have them all at the same time." And that's generally been true for me, as I have almost always, in my adult life, had a good job and a good apartment and no boyfriend. The two times I had a great relationship, I had a terrible job!

Apr 13, 2011

I think about buckets, too! When people talk about work/life balance, I want to say, but the "life" part is a whole bunch of separate buckets that each need balanced. To me, balance doesn't mean each is the same amount of full, it means each is as full as you want it to be. I've got the marriage, job, friends, family, house, and mental/emotional, physical, and intellectual health (which could all be lumped into well-being). While finishing grad school, the intellectual bucket was way high, but the physical health and friends buckets were too low. I've remedied that in that last few weeks since finishing up. I try not to stress about finding balance, but just remember to re-evaluate and see what I can change to get back closer to where I want to be with all the buckets on a regular basis.

yiwu sourcing agent
May 04, 2011

So beautiful!

May 09, 2011

Certainly your thoughts seem to be useful and inspiring. I have spent a lot of time trying to find something as understandable and explicit as your explanation. I’m sure you do have some original ideas here, as far as I can see.

Jun 10, 2011 Auto Insurance 8-( Auto Insurance uhuv

Jun 22, 2011

Interesting post!

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