(Notice I said “further” and not “farther”. Know why? The easy to remember trick is to use “farther” for physical distance and “further” for metaphorical, or figurative, distance. It’s easy to remember because “farther” has the word “far” in it, and “far” obviously relates to physical distance. Grammar lesson over now, back to the post…)
There have been many versions of the Bucket List idea. In 2004 Richard Horne published his book 101 Things To Do Before You Die, and it spawned a slew of similar lists, from 101 movies to see to 101 places to visit, 101 dishes to try, and on and on. I even blogged a Knitting To-Do List. In 2007 the film The Bucket List was released starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman about two terminally ill men who take off on a road trip with a wish list of things to do before they “kick the bucket”.
A Bucket List can be filled with serious things, frivolous things, a mixture of the two, or just about anything else. Many versions have you make your list, print it out, and then check things off as you accomplish them. There is even a website, Bucketlist.org, that is an online resource for maintaining and keeping track of your list. There are many resources out there with thousands of suggestions for your bucket list. One helpful list of questions:
- What would you do if you had unlimited time, money and resources?
- What have you always wanted to do but have not done yet?
- What countries, places or locations do you want to visit?
- What are your biggest goals and dreams?
- What do you want to see in person?
- Whom would you like to meet in person?
- What achievements do you want to have?
- What experiences do you want to have / feel?
- What special moments do you want to witness?
- What activities or skills do you want to learn or try out?
- What are the most important things you can ever do?
- What would you like to say/do together with other people? People you love? Family? Friends?
- 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 to you?
A bucket list covers your own personal goals and dreams, but most importantly, reflects your personal values. If nothing else, making a list helps you define your value system.
My business management course instructor assigned us a slightly different slant to the Bucket List exercise this week. He broke it down into two steps. The first step is to create your “101 List”. Make it as detailed and specific as possible. Then for a second step he suggested we imagine we’re now 70 years old, and everything on our bucket list has been achieved or accomplished. Then write a description of our life at this point, in the first person and in the present tense. The result is what can be described as our vision.
He noted that we should go over our list on a regular basis, updating, adding, removing. Our visions can change.
I think the younger folks in the group (19-30) were actually more challenged to create their list. Those of us already a lot closer to 70 (50-60) seemed to be much more confident or at ease about what would be on our lists. Some were concerned that their lists would show not their values, but rather values that they had been (sometimes rigorously) taught which they weren’t completely comfortable with.
One young fellow brought up the point that “101 things we want” was way too large a number. He protested that he had no idea what would get him to that number, since he is not terribly interested in a lot of money or material things. Others had lots of advice for him. I suggested something along the lines of one of the items that is definitely going on my list, which is “Find one thing each day that brings me joy – a flower, a song, an idea, a smile, etc.” I think another one of my items will be “Laugh at least once every day.”
Those are two on my list, and I’m working on the rest. I’ll try and share more as I go.
What’s the most important thing you would put on your list? (Other than being healthy?)