Let’s start by saying that everyone should have a bucket list. Bucket lists aren’t just for the old, the rich or the nearly dead. They are for everyone who has wishes and dreams and wants to set some goals for themselves.
What Is It?
So what is a bucket list? By definition, it is a list of things that a person wants to experience before they die. Just like in the movie by the same name with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, some people create a bucket list of expensive things they want to do or see before they pass from this life and they check them off as they do them, presumably to die in peace once they have crossed them all off. This version of a bucket list though, to me, is flawed because the list is static, people end up spending most of their life getting ready to do it and some never get there.
Think of a bucket’s purpose. You fill it with something, you empty it, and then you fill it again. Sometimes the bucket is half-empty or half full and sometimes it is overflowing. It could contain something as simple as water, or you could fill it with money. The bucket is simply a container to hold your dreams and goals. You fill it up with ideas and then take them out as you do them. You will always be adding more to your bucket. These ideas don’t need to be grandiose or expensive. You may have a dream of going on a safari or maybe you want to go cave exploring a short drive away but haven’t done it yet. It could be something as simple as trying a new flavor of ice cream. The idea is to write it down on your bucket list, do it, and then cross it off the list.
When Should You Start?
If you do not have a bucket list, then the time to start one is “right now”. A bucket list isn’t something to do in retirement. You should try new things all the time and try to make some dreams a reality now – you may never get a tomorrow. It’s a morbid thought but the sad reality is that some people plan for years and years to do things when they retire only to lose their health or worse and never achieve their goals. Go ahead and put things on your list that are achievable right now. Have you wanted to go to a live rock concert? Do you want to learn a new language? These are goals that you can work to right now while saving up for that big dream of living on a sailboat. Start the list now.
Where should I go and what should I do?
Sometimes it’s hard to come up with ideas on where you’d like to go or what you would like to see. This is especially true if you haven’t done much travelling before. Fortunately, there are a number of good bucket list websites you can visit to get inspiration and ideas from others. There is nothing wrong with looking at someone else’s goals and saying to yourself, “I want to do that!” No matter what you come up with on your own, chances are someone else either has done it or wants to do it. If travel is going to be on your bucket list but you don’t have a travel partner, these sites can be great resources for finding people with like-type goals to travel with.
Why Should I Have A Bucket List?
There is something very satisfying about striking something you have done off a list. It gives you a sense of completion, a feeling of accomplishment. You will be checking things off your list but you will also be adding new things to it. A bucket list should be a living thing.
Everyone should have one as it helps to organize your dreams and wishes and gives you something to look forward to. Never eaten sushi? If it’s something that you want to make a goal of trying then put it on your bucket list. You could actually do it next week or next year but when you eventually try it, you will have the satisfaction of crossing it off your list! Keep your list easily accessible so that you can put new goals on it whenever the urge hits you. The next time you are planning a day out, a weekend away or a longer vacation take a look through your bucket list. It may very well guide you to your next adventure.
How Do I Pick?
One thing you will discover is that you start to hit your bucket list items almost by accident. Many years ago, I put “kayaking with whales” on my list. In my mind, it was something that would be so great to do but that likely might never be achieved. Last year however I fell into it by sheer accident. While out on a whale watching tour, we saw an adventure company taking people out in kayaks. I remembered that it was on my list and within a few hours, we were in our kayaks paddling along next to beautiful minke whales. I didn’t set out on a journey to get to that goal but I got there nonetheless.
I also had “learn to scuba dive” on my bucket list. We went to a resort a few years ago and I wanted to snorkel. When we were looking at the tour options, I discovered that scuba diving was one of the included options. The next thing I knew I was signed up for the “open water certification” course that I completed while at the resort…another happy bucket list coincidence?
Not every goal will organically happen for you, some will still require planning. If you want to visit a live volcano and see live lava flowing it’s probably not going to just happen unless you live near one. You can research places that you can travel to where you might be able to experience this. Researching Hawaii, Iceland, Indonesia or anywhere else volcano tourism exists is your first step to reaching your goal. If you have “hold my grandchild” as a bucket list item, you know that the goal is pretty much out of your hands but if and when the day comes you will joyfully cross it off your list.
The beauty of a bucket list is that it gives you targets to shoot for and encourages you to step outside the box. You may need to expand your comfort level now and then and you will definitely become more open to new ideas as you knock things off your list but you will also likely start adding new goals and experiences to the list that you would never have seen yourself doing. This is what I call living a bucket list life…if you are not doing it ask yourself what you have to lose. Then start your list.