What’s important on your bucket list … or should be

Because many retirees are healthier and wealthier than those of previous generations, their bucket lists sometimes look like travel logs.

Marc E. Agronin, a geriatric psychiatrist in Miami, asks “What’s not to love about a life of dream vacations?”

His answer: “After talking with patients and colleagues, rather than feeling exhilarated by a life of adventures, they often end up feeling depressed and disconnected.” Dr. Agronin is the author of How We Age: A Doctor’s Journey into the Heart of Growing Old.

As we travel and soak up new experiences, we may lose track of what really matters: connections with family, friends and community. The high from an adventure doesn’t last. We may see our time between trips as boring interludes, and our trips as escapes from fears or failures.

Most of us finally give up the bucket list and spend time with family and friends. According to Dr. Agronin, this tends to be more satisfying.

Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Dr. Agronin says chasing bucket-list thrills ignores a deep psychological truth: You don’t need to make yourself happier in old age. We get happier naturally as we grow older.