Want to take a Bucket List Challenge?
As the New Year approaches, there are lots of people saying to review the past or make resolutions for the future. I’ve never been very good at that, and research shows that resolutions never seem to stick anyway. My Adventure Partner had a homework assignment recently he was struggling with – creating a Bucket List with 101 things to do before dying. We even watched The Bucket List (starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman).
I’ve never created a list before. Maybe it’s been the delusion of youth, that one is invincible and won’t die. But reality is, we don’t live forever (and too many family and friends have passed over, and this year, many beloved celebrities too). I decided to attempt this list with my Adventure Partner.
To be honest, I struggled too. Have you made one? As we look towards the whole ‘new year, new you’ schtick, maybe creating a Bucket List will be more inspirational than “I’ll lose 10 lbs”. So I am challenging you to create your own Bucket List. Here are some tips get you started (Googling helps a lot too). If you need further inspiration, I’ve included my list. I haven’t quite made it to 101. A friend joked that if I included all I’ve already done, I’d be way past that number.
Tips for creating your own list
First of all, this is a lesson in expanding your own mind. Like brainstorming, write it all down – even the silly or inane ones. You don’t have to share the list. Keep these two feelings with you as you write: 1) seriously, what if I knew I would die soon, what would I regret not doing? 2) You are limitless.
Here are some questions I found that helped me with the bucket list challenge (I’ve changed to more my style, and I apologize to the original author that I don’t remember, so can’t refer you to her):
- What if you were to die tomorrow? What would you wish you could do before you die? (This adds Immediacy. An incentive to help you feel what would be really important to you. This phrase often came to me over the years when learning to overcome regrets. Regrets suck, this could be your opportunity to do something about yours)
- What would you do if you had unlimited time, money and resources? (Forget about your job responsibilities, not currently having money or maybe not knowing how you’d get this desired thing done. Dream big)
- What have you always wanted to do but have not done yet? (I used this question to look back at yearnings I had as a kid, as a teen, and as a younger me. I know I no longer want to be a veterinarian, but I do still want to ride a horse on a beach. Maybe as a kid you were told your ideas were…silly, not practical, impossible. But are they? You get to decide.)
Travel is not about places
- Any countries, places or locations you want to visit? As a kid my parents didn’t take us on cross-country camping trips. We explored locally. By college I started traveling internationally (inspiring my family to do so too, but that’s another story). One of my early jobs allowed me to visit businesses on the West Coast, and I learned to explore areas in short bursts.
- One movie that inspired me to want to see more of America was “Michael” (starring John Travolta) and the main character’s desire to see the world’s largest ball of string. Last summer I traveled with friends in an RV from PA to NV. This is why my Bucket List includes seeing so much of America over international destinations.
Travel is not all about places. “Life is a journey, not a destination” – Ralph Waldo Emerson. I grew up with this thought, learning that the travel to a destination is part of the journey to be enjoyed (even the long waits in airports…it’s all about how you look at it). It’s more about having experiences, making connections with people and a location’s vibe (energy, history, culture).
Travel is not just about checking places off a list, but about how you expand your learnings, your horizons, your relationship with a new place and appreciation from where you’ve come. And sometimes, travel helps us with our perspectives of where we exist in the span of time and the world.
- What are your biggest goals and dreams? This question used to be hard for me until I practiced. Start with any goal and any dream. Then go bigger. Allow yourself to get outlandish, because sometimes it’s in the crazy dreams you find what really inspires you.
- What do you want to see in person? Or who? To see something (“what”) in person is to participate with it. Photos are a great way to visualize something, but to truly experience it – seeing it in person (and not even behind the lens of the camera) is the only way. For “who” seeing someone in person delivers a unique experience. I grew up loving the Beatles. I was too young to see them in concert, but I did finally get to see Paul McCartney in concert (twice!). Seeing him live I experienced his energy and his joy of performing – something I never knew listening to songs on the radio or albums/cd/internet.
- What achievements do you want to have? (This is about you. Not what your parents or others expect of you).
- What adventures do you want to have / feel?
- Are there any special moments you want to witness?
- What activities or skills do you want to learn or try out? Let go of any thoughts that you can’t learn new things (for whatever reasons) or worry that you don’t know already how to do things “perfectly”. Be open to making mistakes as you try new things, which has been proven to be the best way to learn.
- What are the most important things you can ever do? Go by your own definition of important. I answered this as “having children” and “loving others unconditionally.” Your concept of important matters only to you.
- What would you like to say/do together with other people? People you love? Family? Friends? This could vary from having that mega party you always wanted to throw, to making amends so you don’t have regrets.
- Are there any specific people you want to meet in person? Go for it on this one, you never know! I once went to a fundraiser party, and somehow met Sting!
- What do you want to achieve in the different areas: Social, Love, Family, Career, Finance, Health, Spiritual?
- What do you need to do to lead a life of the greatest meaning? This one I took time with as I interpreted it as meaning what’s my life purpose? That can make this question overwhelming. So I reinterpreted it to what makes me happiest? What makes me passionate and helps others? Remember to define what “greatest meaning” means to you, not what others (parents, work or even religions) try to tell you it means.
My incomplete Bucket Challenge list
I couldn’t make it to 101. But now that I’ve started I see there are many things I would still like to do. A friend joked that I’ve done so much already, that my “done” list would hit 101 quickly. Here are mine. I hope they inspire you to make your own Bucket List. Feel free to share some of your items in the comments section below!
- To have adventures of all kinds, and share them with others
- Inspire others to have adventures
- To redefine the meaning of Adventure in pop culture
- See the Aurora Borealis in both hemispheres (aurora borealis and aurora australis, technically)
- Participate in a hot air balloon festival in the southwest
- To create an outfit as I see it in my imagination
- To learn how to sew better
- To grow a healing garden
- Touch a glacier before they are gone
- Build a tree house big enough to hold a compost toilet far enough away from the sleeping area
- See the Grand Canyon with my sons
- Travel across America by car or RV
- See the funny roadside attractions all over America
- Camp in a customized/restored camper in Oregon wine country
- Hang gliding to feel the rush of wind
- Explore the Caribbean in pursuit of pirate lore
- Laze days on a beautiful sailboat in warm waters
- To have big laughs over delicious dinners with loved ones, in a house with a kitchen & dining area that overlooks turquoise waters (even a cove)
- Master healthy cooking
- Visit Africa’s cocoa country
- To create fun itineraries for others to follow
- To fully trust my own instincts
- Connect with my spirit guides on a deep conversational level
- To build my own art project at Burning Man
- Research speakeasies with friends and create my own guide
- To decorate/remodel a house completely according to my own vision
- To learn how to weld
- See my sons eyes light up with love for their partner, for their children
- Crack a whip expertly
- Spin fire
- Learn to hula hoop, including at least one cool move
- To have cool blue hair, while it’s still trendy
- To publish a book and see it on the best seller list
- Attend a really amazing magic show
- Enjoy the beaches and treasures of Bali
- Take cooking lessons in Mexico
- Attend a Burning Man regional (any)
- Attend the Southern California Burning Man regional
- To own custom-designed, well-fitting clothes
- To upcycle clothing and have the end products admired & desired
- To go material shopping at the sources (i.e. Hong Kong)
- To be fit enough to run in a marathon, mudder and/or climb art at Burning Man
- Know I healed someone with reiki
- To have a positive, mass, impact on cleaning the environment
- See the sea glass beach in Northern California
- Hike in the Redwood forest
- Take an acting class
- Be paid for having fun
- Be paid for giving (good) advice
- Go horseback riding on a beach
- To finally let go of any feelings of not being worthy
- Houseboat tour down a European river
- Learn to sing at least one song (on key)
- Take a self-defense course
- Visit with friends all around the country.
- Help build a tiny house
- Live in a tiny house
- Go off the grid
- Feel confident about giving tarot card readings for others
- Become good at belly dancing
- Go on a meditation/yoga retreat
- Hang out with Helen Hunt, Susan Sarandon, Cameron Diaz
- Create a Muppet character with someone from Jim Henson’s company
- Give & Receive connecting hugs
- Have an out-of-body experience while alive
- To be quoted as an inspirational speaker
- To become an advocate for an issue important to me
- To hire a team to help me execute my vision for Adventure Wednesdays business
- To create art with the artists who made El Pulpo Mecanico
- To own homes and be able to rent them to people in need who deserve a nice place at an affordable rate
- To fly in a helicopter over towns I’m interested in to see them from a different perspective
- To see Frank Lloyd Wright homes all over the country
- See 45th degree parallel spots across the country, across the world
- Create & sell a line of greeting cards using my photos
- Meet Elon Musk of Tesla and learn about all his ideas
- Buy property in San Diego and create a neighborhood of homes for friends
- On my San Diego property (see 75), grow thyme hedges and have lots of hummingbird foods
- Pet, but not ride, an elephant in a south Asia country
- Develop a meditation practice
- Research my ancestor, Hannah Spencer, and have a TV movie made from her story
- Create an extensive ancestry report for my sons
- Have a sari made for me in India
- To island hop in Greece with special friends
- Mardis Gras in New Orleans, attend and maybe even participate in the parade
- To become so successful that I have to choose multiple charities and causes to support
86-101…to be decided.
Let me know your Bucket List choices!
Post story update: I’ve updated my bucket list twice. Here’s one that’s based on including what I’ve already done, plus more items I want to do! “Bucket Lists to Reflect and Grow”