Lesson from a Bucket [List]

Things I want to do before I die (as of 2018)

The Backstory

Lists. We all have them, whether we like it or not. In our minds, written on notes, or saved in a note-taking app… they exist.

Some of them help get things done on a daily basis, like our to-do lists at work and around the house. Other lists outline what we want to keep track of or file to find for later.

Then, there’s the more infamous list that I think most people have… a list for goals. There are plenty of people giving advice about how to achieve goals; however, in my experience, few of them talk about the “ultimate” list that most people have but never write down… their bucket list.

The Object

I have a bucket list, i.e. things I want to do before I die.

I started the list several years ago, after I got far enough along some life paths, like have a rewarding career, family, and not worry about just surviving quite as much.

So after I had a few bucket list items in my mind, I realized that I wanted to remember them and actually get them done.

My Bucket List (as of 2018)

While the list has been added to over time, it doesn’t change very often, and I’ve already checked off a few.

To-Be Completed Bucket List Items:

  • See the Milky Way Galaxy by visiting a dark sky park, i.e. darksky.org
  • Visit Gobler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, PA
  • Visit an abandoned ghost town like St. Elmo, Colorado
  • Buy something old and restore it
  • Attend a live or taping of a TV show
  • Visit Alaska
  • Drive and/or own a Delorean
  • See the launch of a rocket to space
  • Drive to the west coast
  • See a giant redwood tree in person
  • Travel by train somewhere

COMPLETED Bucket List Items:

  • Learn to play Hnefatafl, viking chess (November 2017)
  • Learn to play tri-dimensional chess, Star Trek version (October 2016)
  • Own a convertible car (May 2016)
  • Learn how to ride a motorcycle (October 2015)
  • Ride in a hot air balloon (August 2015)

The Lesson

What does it take for something to make it on my bucket list to begin with? As I thought about this, I came to a few simple conclusions:

  • It has to be achievable within one’s control
  • It has to feel awe-inspiring or inspirational in the moment
  • It has to be memorable

The feeling of inspiration and our memories are the only things we have left that matter in our last moments. Everything else stays here.

Just like any other to-do list, it is important to keep track of what you’ve done, as it not only helps to remember those moments but encourages me to keep going. While they don’t get checked off very quickly, there needs to be a little sense of urgency, because we really don’t have a lifetime to check things off the list… we don’t know how much time we have left.

The Take-aways

  • Write down your lofty goals
  • Learn what inspires you and determine what should be memorable
  • There is never enough time
  • Involve someone else in helping you check off your bucket list items. It will make them that much more meaningful.

Of course, there are items that could be added to my bucket list that are more sentimental that I want to happen… like seeing my girls grow up and having them remember me, but those are out of my control.

I want to know what’s on your bucket list. It may just inspire me to update mine. Reply below or send me a message.

Written by Shaun Holloway.