Everyone I know is downsizing. We still come home from our travels with souvenirs for the grandchildren, but nothing more to adorn, decorate or set off the too many things we already own. “Not one more thing for the Box,” declares Henry, which is where he puts the chotchkes his wife can’t keep herself from buying in the souk, the night market or the stalls outside the shrines.

The older most of us get, the more we let go of things that don’t really matter — not just Stuff, but fantasies, goals, and expectations, all the collected ephemera of living that sucks time, energy and pleasure out of life. Our imagination may still take us to places and experiences that thrill us to consider, and technology enable us to enjoy them virtually or digitally, even if we never get around to the remaining items on our Bucket List – we will probably never go to the moon, we’re too old to be the First Woman Who, and we’re too smart to believe that 70 is the new 50.

Among the perks of getting older is trading in the Bucket List for the F##K IT list. Crossing off what’s not important anymore and substituting, wherever possible, what will or has replaced it can be a cheerful, liberating exercise. Like comfort instead of fashion, for instance: life really is too short for tight shoes. On my current F##K IT list are the size tags on my clothes, the wrinkles on my face, and similarly futile efforts to get with the program, whether it’s Weight Watchers or reinventing myself. I remember when my mother, at 70, eschewed the expensive bridgework her dentist recommended in favor of basic maintenance; she said it didn’t make financial sense to invest in the fanciest teeth in the cemetery.

Also on my F##K IT list, are getting to the bottom of it, having to prove anything to anyone else, carrying a grudge, caring what people I don’t know (and even some I do) think of me, and agreeing to all the “obligs” I’ve spent too much time doing already – going places I don’t want to go, being with people I don’t like, and doing things I don’t enjoy.

Instead, I’ve taken a last look at my worn, tattered bucket list, crossed off things I don’t care a hoot about, and divided what’s left into categories labeled “Still Theoretically Possible,” like electing a woman president, completing my unfinished novel, seeing the northern lights, finding a man who drives at night; and” Very Long Shot”, which includes winning the lottery, writing a best-seller, and falling in love again.

Sometimes I worry that my F##CK IT list is so much longer than my Bucket List. And then I put that on it, too.

By janeellen

Jane Adams PHD Social Psychologist