03 Jan Creating your Bucket List
I sat down on New Year’s Day to do something I’d never done before – create my bucket list. I have lots of ideas about things I want to do, see, feel, and experience in life – perfect candidates for a bucket list – but somehow too many of my days were getting filled with other kinds of busyness. What about you?
You can start a bucket list at any age! I began by writing a list of all those want-to-do’s floating around in my head, and already it is making a difference. You see, I looked at that list of items and immediately picked out a small thing I could do that very day. I also had on my list some big items, such as attending my high school reunion in Alberta in a few years. I realized that a bucket list brings focus and clarity about what’s important, to help live life to the fullest.
Expanding the list
After 10 minutes of brainstorming, I had about two dozen items on the list. I thought that was plenty, but then I nudged myself to broaden my thinking and aim for 100 items (I’m currently at 62, and still adding ideas). Here are the categories I used to focus on different areas of life, and an example of each. Some are big ideas and some are small.
Family – make and fly a kite together
Friends – once a month have lunch with a different friend
Neighbourhood / Others – meet the new neighbours
Career / Fulfillment – write a book about aging well
Learning – learn 25 basic sign language signs
Fun / Leisure – make four quilted wall hangings, one for each season of the year
Money – attend my high school reunion, start saving now
Personal Growth / Spirituality / Mindfulness – strengthen my negotiation skills
Food / Nutrition – find – and try out – 12 new salad recipes
Health / Exercise – stand straight and tall in old age
Actually doing it
My plan is to pull the list out once a month to make sure I’m actually doing the things on my list, that I’m living life to the fullest. I think that will also help me identify a priority or two for the month(s) ahead.
I’m reminded of the image of filling a jar first with stones, then pebbles, and finally sand, instead of starting with the sand. This helps to remind me each day to focus first on my life priorities (the bucket list), then the things I have to do, and fill in the remaining spaces of my days with the details. Otherwise I might fritter away my time day after day, which would add up year after year, which could eventually consume a whole life.
Reviewing your bucket list
Even if you already have a bucket list, it’s a good idea to review it once a year – maybe on New Year’s Day or on your birthday. Likely there will be things you’ve already done, other items you want to drop, and probably add some new ideas to the bucket.
Remember that a bucket list is your own collection of dreams and goals, for your own satisfaction and fulfillment – and it’s never too early or too late to start a bucket list.