Writing My WTIO (When This Is Over) Bucket List

Let me set the scene. It’s the 21st April 2021 and lockdown as we know it is a distant memory. It’s something we still talk about, but in comparison to right now, we talk in a crowded restaurant, cheers’ing large glasses of wine and sharing dishes of food. We hug, we kiss, we even appreciate the screams of the rowdy football fans…just.

You see, dreaming about the future isn’t just something we do as a calming past time anymore. It’s necessary to our mental health, especially when the present can often feel challenging. Prime example, does anyone else get more excited about the build up to Christmas than the actual day itself? Or love the build up to a holiday, prepping and getting ready? The anticipation of something exciting can help us release “happy” hormones, which is exactly why now, more than ever, we need a good old-fashioned bucket list.

And I’m not talking about one of those bucket lists of goals to achieve by the time we reach 100, including a sky dive and a trip to India. I’m talking about making a post lockdown bucket list of all those small things you can’t wait to do when life returns to normal.

The smallest of things feel precious right now. All the things we took so easily for granted because we never really imagined them getting taken away from us. Like sitting and drinking coffee with a friend. Or laying under the sun in the park freely and reading a book. Booking tickets to the theatre or typing away in a bustling co-working space.

With that said, I wanted to share just some of the things that I’ve added to my WTIO bucket list. That’s “when this is over” to you and I. Before some of these would have felt so insignificant in the grand scheme of life, but now, they feel like everything. Here’s a snippet of my post lockdown bucket list to hopefully inspire you to start one of your own…

Take a road trip

Ironically, even though I’ve spent the good part of five weeks alone, I’m already planning my solo trip of the year. I’ve done San Francisco and LA by myself, and now I want to use that money to put petrol in my car and tour along the south coast of England.

I feel like now, more than ever, the UK economy will need as much of a boost as possible, so I intend to stay in little boutique hotels and Airbnb’s, taking in all the gorgeous spots along the way, shopping in independent boutiques, eating at local cafes and bars.

I’ve already got my plan worked out to a tee, with Winchester being the first port of call (this Winchester round-up by the beautiful Monica was the initial reason for wanting to visit). I’ll then drive through to Brockenhurst in the New Forest, which is one of the most amazing parts of the UK I’ve visited. Then along the coast, stopping somewhere yet to be decided before heading to St Ives for a couple of days, back up to Newquay to perv on the surfers and up to the Costwolds for an overnight stop, before driving back to Leeds. Scrap your Californian road trip, it’s all about the English coast.

Build a balcony garden

Although I’m incredibly grateful to have balcony doors and lots of natural light right now, nothing is stirring the green-eyed monster with his green fingers than seeing people water and tend to their gorgeous gardens. So as soon as this is all over, I’m heading to the garden centre to spruce up my Juliet balcony. I mean, I’m not sure we’re going to be sitting having a BBQ on the 10inch wide space, but there’s plenty of room for a plant or seven. I might even go the extra mile and buy fairy lights to wrap around. If you have any recommendations for plants you can order online – specifically balcony plants – then please do let me know below.

Coffee and co-working

I can’t even describe how much I miss just grabbing my laptop and being able to work anywhere I like. Roll on the days when I can flirt with the Costa barista over an Irish Velvet hot chocolate. Before lockdown commenced I’d just started to get into the rhythm of working at The Greenhouse, a co-working space in Leeds (highly recommended), but I also want to get into flow of working 1-2 days a week with freelance friends and having mastermind sessions where we all bring a problem to the table and brainstorm different ways we’d each overcome it. Having those friends who understand your industry will be invaluable as we move into new territory as business owners.

Self-care Saturday

My god, I can’t wait for someone else to rub their hands all over my body. The first day we’re set free, I’m booking in for my blondness to be restored and grey hairs banished, a full body massage, and an hour’s session of reiki to clear that stagnant energy. I might even go the full hog and get a pedicure too! I know, fancy me.

Tapas & Mojitos

One thing I’ve been really enjoying over the last couple of weeks is taking the time to cook properly, try new recipes and create concoctions from essentials without being able to nip out to the shop for the odd ingredients. But oh how I miss someone else cooking for me. The dream would be, me and my family all around a table sharing tapas dishes a plenty and drinking mojitos, while the live band play Cuban music in the background. If you live in Leeds, you can experience this at my all-time favourite restaurant, Viva Cuba. Just don’t book the place out before I manage to snag a spot.

Camping under the stars

Like everyone, I’m missing my family so much right now, but especially my niece. Of course, we video call but it’s not the same as actually pretending to be unicorns together, right? So, as soon as this is over, I want to go camping…in her back garden, just in case Aunty Vickie gets cold and we need to sneak back into a warm bed in the middle of the night. We’ll have hot chocolates with marshmallows, read before bed and get all wrapped up in our sleeping bags.

Worry less

Finally, and I suspect most importantly in the post-lockdown bucket list, I want to remember this time for being the catalyst for many changes in my life. For realising that I didn’t need to work as much as I thought I did. To make time with friends and family a priority. To be kinder. To be more grateful. To say hello to my neighbours still. To consume consciously. To worry less about the small things and realise we can handle the bigger things thrown at us.

Ok, so tell me. What are you adding to your post-lockdown bucket list? I asked the same question on my Instagram @themanifestationcollective, and the answers filled my heart with happiness. Long walks, hugs with friends and family, drinking coffee outside a café, driving, taking some time out solo, seeing grandchildren, taking the kids swimming, getting a haircut, booking trips and so much more. All the things a few months ago I would never have considered a luxury. Except now, they really are and I, for one, am excited to experience them all again through new eyes.

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