While New Year's Resolutions often focus on losing weight and saving money, the extra-hours at home this winter may be a good time to create (or update) a "Bucket List" of things we want to do while we still have the time and health.
By definition, a bucket list is a record of experiences that an individual hopes to have in his or her lifetime. Items on a bucket list can range from big and aspirational to tiny and even comical; from paying for a child’s cleft lip surgery to visiting the White House, to going grape stomping, to shaving a coconut, to hiking Kiliminjaro, the possibilities are truly endless. The beauty of a bucket list is that anyone, no matter what age, level of physical or mental ability or economic means can start a bucket list
Elsa Bailey, aptly nicknamed the “100-year-old whippersnapper”, was recently able to check off one of the items on her bucket list: seeing polar bears in their natural habitat. Bailey thought her celebratory ski down the beautiful slopes of Keystone, Colorado, was the extent of her 100th birthday celebration, but boy, was she wrong. An employee of Natural Habitat Adventures, a company that specializes in polar bear tours, heard that Bailey still had not crossed this lifelong wild encounter off her bucket list and decided to orchestrate an incredible surprise trip to Manitoba. With this wish fulfilled, Bailey already has eyes set on her next bucket list experience: a trip to view the geysers at Yellowstone.
Need help getting started on your own bucket list? Consider these tips:
- Get it all down..somewhere! We all have had the experience of hearing about a friend or acquaintance that accomplished something and thinking, “Wow. I would really love to do that.”—write it down! Invest in a notebook dedicated to your bucket list, keep an updated document on your computer or smart phone, or sign up on one of the many sites like bucketlist.org. Doing so will help you keep track of everything you want to accomplish—even when an idea strikes you on a whim!
- Write a first draft: The thought of the list having to be an epic, perfect litany that is symbolic of your life’s purpose can deter you from ever actually putting your thoughts into writing. Think of a bucket list as more of a to-do list with no time limit—finishing that book you started weeks ago or jogging a mile a day are suitable additions. Give yourself an afternoon over a nice cup of tea or cocoa to sit down and reflect on what things you hope to accomplish in your lifetime. Think of a prompt like, “Someday, I will…” and go from there. Let your creative juices flow!
- Allow your list to evolve: Don’t feel tied to your first list; think of it as a starting point and keep in mind that you will likely replace items that no longer interest you or that you don’t think are worthwhile. This is the beauty of your bucket list: it’s yours to create and revise until you come up with a list you think captures a good set of life experiences you hope to have.
- Be inspired, not daunted! Seeing the full list of all of your life aspirations may prove both inspirational and incredibly daunting. Remember that this is about personal growth and fulfillment and not a menacing challenge—as you cross smaller things off your list, you will gain momentum to start doing more and get into the habit of looking everywhere for inspiration for new ideas.