Why You Should Stop Writing Your Bucket List
What is it?
To put it simply, it is a list of things that we want to do, experience or achieve before we 'kick the bucket' (die).
It is intriguing to want to set up a bucket list. It feels and sounds exciting to be able to check off the mission impossible. While some of the tasks can be simple, some may seem insurmountable.
Today, there are numerous websites and apps that suggest you ideas on what you could do, try or experience.
There was also an inspiring movie called The Bucket List made in 2007 about two terminally ill men (by Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson) who set off on their road trip with the intent of completing their wishlist before they die. It is highly recommendable (IMO) because it is inspiring to me. It feels like a wake up call for me. Not only did they complete what they set out to do, at older age at that, they also achieved their personal mission in their last leg of their lives and lived their lives out right till the end.
Sadly, many of us give up our dreams and goals to be more mature (adult), to live with compromises and up to expectations set out by others.
How many of us, still young and alive, but are barely existing and going through the motions today?
How many of us already feel old inside that a 70 year old look more robust than us?
How many of us actually spend our time doing things that we actually want for ourselves?
What I Found Doing My Bucket List
The purpose of creating a bucket list is to ensure that we all live our lives the way we want it, and achieve something that carry meaning and memories to us when we look back.
I created my very first bucket list when I was about 20, and it quickly grew into a three page list that I just chucked it to one side and not looked at it until my year end reviews.
Some of them were so vague that I could never strike them off the list for as long as I live, for instance, jog every day, love the people around me, hug my husband to sleep every night, keep learning, read 10 books a year and so on, because I would have done it anyway as part of my lifestyle.
During the year end review, I would look at the list and strike off what I have done for that year. Then, I would add on more to the list, even the ones that I didn't really want but seemed nice to have, like seeing snow and ski (because I hate being in the cold very much)
The bucket list that I created was never a push factor for me to pro-actively plan for it, to go and live it.
It was also amazing to find out that I would go all out to tackle the difficult scary ones on the list but neglect the simple ones
Things I have checked off
- Go solo traveling
- Do cliff diving
- Visit desert and ride a camel
- Go on hot air balloon
- Set up a business
- Get a tattoo
- Bungee Jumping
- Climb a mountain
- Bring parents on a trip
- Go on a romantic getaway
- Watch Sunrise and Sunset
- Visit New Zealand
- Go Korea
- Be a Vegetarian
- Run 4 x weekly
- Learn Horse Riding
- Play the Piano
- Buy my first house.
- Go on Vipassana meditation
- Drive alone by myself
- Get married
- Paint an art piece
- Enjoy tea outdoors
- Bake a cake
- Forgive myself
Those still in the list (some of which are ridiculously simple, yet not easy)
- Run a marathon
- Say 'I love you ' to my parents
- Have a baby girl
- Set up business with my passion
- Skydive and/or go Parachuting
- Visit Disneyland
- Experience the northern lights
- Be invited to travel around the world for free (I have a whole list including seeing Stonehenge and Big Ben, Grand Canyon in Arizona, Sakura in Japan)
- Write my own Eulogy
- Meet Oprah / Obama / Hillary Clinton in person and actually converse
- Give heartfelt surprise to the one I love
- Organize a BBQ Picnic Outing
- Go scuba diving
- Play golf
- Listen more, talk less
- Touch lives with my aspirations, motivations and purpose in living
- Sleep under the stars, among others.
Some of which I have struck off because they don’t serve me anymore
- Volunteer traveling
- Whale watching
- Get an MBA
Here's Why We Should Stop Writing our Bucket List
We get carried away.
When we list down the ones that we really wanted to do, which could be less than 20, we are not satisfied. Twenty items on your bucket list seemed like an under-achievement.
So we source for ideas from others' bucket lists and adapt them to our own. We would probably get more ideas on what we also want to do or find something new which have never heard of before or even imagined before like 'pet a penguin'.
Then, we have 100+ of them and we get overwhelmed.
(Below my old list of Bucket List)
What To Do Now?
The thing about bucket list is that it should be something that you really want to achieve, while you are still here.
If you only have a month to live, what would you want to do, experience or complete in that 30 days?
Be honest and be clear about it.
Make the most of your time alive doing things that make you alive. Even if you are bogged down by work or duties and responsibilities, you still find out ways how you can make it more interesting and meaningful to you. While I stay in a city, I am not much more learned or wiser than my parents at home who watch news and Nat Geo every night. In truth, they have more general and life knowledge than me.
No one actually defined what a bucket list could contain. It's yours to define.
What we accomplish at the end of it is based on the meaning of the experience we give to ourselves. We could have 'climb a mountain' on our list but to someone it could mean conquering the Everest or the Kilimanjaro, but to me it could mean finishing a different one which could be much lower.
It could have anything and everything that you desire to achieve, from very subjective ones to specific ones. It does not have to be epic like climbing the Mount Everest (although you could do that if you want), or go wingsuit flying but it has to be close to your heart, something that you really want to do, that has meaning to you.
For some, it may be to say sorry or to forgive and speak to a family member again, or it could be to finish high school. It may be to donate $100 to your alma mater, or bring your parents to a holiday trip.
The List is Non-Exhaustive
We don't need to spend this hour, or month trying to list everything we can think of or find from Google to populate a list that we want to do before we die.
We could do what we have listed now, complete them and add on new ones that we want to do along the way.
That would make it easier for us to follow through and feel less overwhelmed.
The bucket list is meant more of a reference guide than a directive. Rather than trying to fill up the pages and adorning them, go out and live it.
It is not where you are but who you are.
Your thirst for living (to be adventurous, knowledgeable, fun loving, ambitious, passionate or something else) will determine how you will take action to live your life forward.
If you don't go and live it, the list will still stay as it is, beautiful with no scratch or folded lines; but if you go all out and live your life, cross your bucket list off, you will come back a changed person.
Stop creating more lists and start striking them off your list. Don't spend too much time decorating it or trying to expand it into a never-ending list that you never get started.
- [PS: I have re-written my Bucket List without looking at the previous one, and surprisingly felt amazed, yet relieved and excited with what I came out with.]
Spend more (quality) time with my loved ones
Have a Baby Girl
Learn to Fly a Plane
Create my own timeless fashion line
Hike the Inca Trail
Go out and Do Crazy BOLD Stuffs!
What about you? How does your bucket list look like? Share with me, I’m interested to know!
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