I'm currently reading How to Live a Good Life by Jonathan Fields. According to Fields, we have three buckets: vitality, connections, and contribution.
Our vitality bucket is making sure we're doing things for ourselves that, for lack of a better word, help us keep our sanity. Basically, all work and no play make us incredibly overwhelmed and stressed. When we are paying attention to our vitality buckets, we're doing things that we enjoy.
Our connections bucket has to do with the connections we have with others in our lives. Who do we spend time with, what do we do with them, and are we making sure that those connections make a positive impact on our lives?
Our contribution bucket is just that. What are we doing to make a contribution in our world? How are we making it a better place?
Fields invites us to take a look at all three buckets and determine which bucket maybe needs a little more TLC. Where are we overflowing and where are we lacking?
It was easy for me to determine which one of my buckets was lacking: my contributions bucket. When I think of contributions, I think about in what ways do I give of my time to others. How am I making a difference in my world? Now, my problem is that I often dive in head first. I get involved in a lot of activities at once, get overwhelmed, don't do any of them well, and then I end up stopping everything as abruptly as I started.
So, I'm learning from previous mistakes as I embark upon filling my contributions bucket one activity at a time. I started with volunteering time at my local community library. Saturday was my first day with a three-hour shift. When we give of ourselves, we get so much more in return.
Although there were only four people who came in during my time and one of them was my wonderful husband, I enjoyed conversations with the other three. Two were people I knew, and the other one recognized my name and knew exactly where I live. That's called living in a small town.
I'm looking forward to contributing more time to the library, as well as to some other endeavors I'm contemplating. However, I'm going to take it one activity at a time and add to my plate as I'm ready.
Much of that has to do with not wanting to deplete my other two buckets. As Fields points out, we need to make sure we are cognizant of all three buckets. It would be easy to focus all our attention on the bucket that needs it the most, but we must be careful that all of our time and energy isn't going solely to that one. It's imperative that we keep asking ourselves questions to make sure we are taking care of each bucket. Once we have done so, we need to plan how we are going to add to it and then act.
Even though I haven't finished Fields' book, I have a feeling it's going to be one that I will come back to time and time again.
I'm a lover of life, an eternal optimist, and I have an intense desire to add value through simple living and positive vibes.