Revisiting the bucket list

2164965650_227a2440a5_zA few years ago, I posted a List of 100 Dreams here on my blog (that link goes to the full list). Since I just turned in a piece for Fast Company on building a better bucket list, I've been pondering my own.

I hadn't read the list in a while, and so I was gratified to see that in the past three years, I've done several things I'd listed. I have hosted a big Thanksgiving celebration (61). We're having more dinner parties (67), and taking family photos (71). I now live near an awesome running path (82) -- I can do a 35 minute loop, 75% of which is on trails, running right out my door. We visited Seattle this summer (42), and spent two weeks at the beach (41). It's not a month, but it was some time. I own a car (93).  I own a bike (94). I have an amazing garden (90) -- not because of my own efforts, but because we bought a house with ridiculous landscaping. It's good to buy in a down market! The place is on 0.75 acres. I'm not sure if that counts as "acreage" or not (87), but we are 90 minutes from the ocean and 90 minutes from the beach, a stipulation that made it into that same bucket list item.

On the professional front, I'm glad that I do seem to always have another book on the horizon (3). I haven't published a novel yet, but I wrote one that's with my agent now (so on the road to 2). I still have not written those Christmas sonnets. Maybe this year?

Some things are no longer items I want on my list. I no longer want to ghostwrite anyone's memoirs, even if I'm fascinated by the person. I'd prefer to just meet and chat with the person I find fascinating! The Oprah Winfrey show no longer exists in its old form, so being on that is out.

I'll work on revisiting the list over the next few months, and publish a new one this fall. Do you have a bucket list, or have you made a List of 100 Dreams? If so, have you knocked off any items off recently?

Photo courtesy flickr user mil8

 

 

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25 Responses to Revisiting the bucket list


  1. I have a professional bucket list, in my head, not written down. It has some silly things on it and some serious things on it. I’m happy to say that yes, my work has been cited in a textbook (something I put on my list in 9th grade!) and I own an IPUMS mug (something you get for finding a flaw in one of their datasets), and many other things. But there’s still a lot more to go for. And I’ll keep adding to it as I go on, both silly and serious.

    • Laura says:

      @nicoleandmaggie – I love that you get a mug for finding a flaw in the data set. I hope it has something clever written on it!

      • Um, it has a picture of the US made out of numbers. Does that count?

        • Laura says:

          Maybe. I was hoping for some clever pun with the word “err.”

          • On the back there’s the phonetic pronunciation of ipums and its tagline, “use it for good…never for evil!”

      • Cara Marcano says:

        tonight we are trying your suggestion of late reservation at cool restaurant… latin dancing is on my bucket list always and my husband hates dancing even though he is prob more latino than me! we booked an 8:15 reservation at very cool restaurant 15 minutes from us at a sculpture garden for their take on latin night… the food should be great and the dancing fun… going to try your late night reservation idea ..

        • Laura says:

          @Cara- I hope the late night dancing was fun!

  2. Linda says:

    In the past year I’ve gone on a cruise and snorkeled, I also spent a weekend exploring downtown Chicago. I’m working through a book of local hikes trying to do them all. A big one I haven’t done yet is visit the Grand Canyon.

    • Laura says:

      @Linda- I haven’t done that yet either. I guess I’ve just always figured I’d see the Grand Canyon at some point, but maybe I should put it on the list!

  3. Pamela says:

    I was able to cross of one bucket list item earlier this summer when my husband and I went to Scotland! That was awesome. My list has somewhere around 120 items on it, although a lot of it is things I want to make, like jam and pickles and yogurt and such, and things I want to read, like all of Charles Dickens and a biography of every US President (I’m on Thomas Jefferson, so I have a way to go…). I like having the list, but right now I’m not finding it too inspiring, and I’m not sure why.

    • Laura says:

      @Pamela – maybe you need to look at some other people’s lists for inspiration? Check out BucketList.org, they have several thousand…

  4. Carrie says:

    I published an ebook for Amazon Kindle and I’m almost done with the next one. My goal is to have 10 there. It did FAR better than I expected. I had low expectations but high hopes, and those were exceeded. 🙂

    • Laura says:

      @Carrie – nice work! I’m still trying to figure out the happy combination of “low expectations but high hopes.” It sounds good…

  5. oilandgarlic says:

    I’ve been joking with friends about bucket lists. She created one and then a friend and I sort of used her list as a springboard for ” lesser” goals. Example, if she wrote “Visit Mexico”, I wrote “Watch a film set in Mexico”. That was all in good fun but now I think I should write a real one. I had one long ago but can’t find it. I remember one item I had was “falling in love”!

    Oh, ditto for eating way through Italy. I think I’m half way there!!

    • Laura says:

      @oilandgarlic – I like the idea of lesser goals. They’re doable and usually within your sphere of influence. What’s wrong with that? Nothing wrong with aiming big but nothing wrong with aiming small, too. There are plenty of small things that would improve our lives that we just never get around to doing.

  6. Ana says:

    I’ve never done this…might give it a try, both personally and professionally. I always wonder—should I be realistic, or aim ridiculously high? Maybe a good mix, to give me something to continue striving for, but also some items I can cross off more easily to give me a sense of accomplishment 🙂

    • I like to think I haven’t gotten a top 3 journal publication *yet*. (Nobel Prize, however, is not on my list.)

    • Laura says:

      @Ana – do both. A good mix. You can knock off some easy goals and start setting long term plans for bigger ones. You might not want to be too mundane, though. Bucket list items should have a quality of being something you don’t do enough and want to. I get people to start on making such a list in workshops, and some people literally give me their to-do list, which is kind of missing the point. Is “bake a cake for my sister’s birthday this weekend” actually a dream, or is it just something you have to do Friday night because your sister’s planning for you to provide dessert at her party?

    • ARC says:

      I think Laura’s exercise of making it a list of 100 forces you to have BOTH big and small items. 100 is a lot of things.

      • Laura says:

        100 items is a lot. I like that you’re kind of scraping the bottom of the barrel by the end. Forces you to think.

  7. Cara Marcano says:

    My husband had hot-air-balloon ride on his bucket list. So we did it this week ! On a Monday night ! and it was awesome !
    Gifting someone special their bucket list item kind of puts it on yours ! I don’t have one up-to-date !

  8. ARC says:

    I posted my list after taking an online course that encouraged making one (which I had never thought of doing before that!):
    http://houseofpeanut.blogspot.com/2011/10/handcrafted-life-plan-part-5-again.html

    I’ve done a bunch of those things since, even some of the ones I never imagined (like having more than 1 kid). So there’s power in writing it down – I think the brain keeps it “on file”, so to speak. Or it’s magic, I like to believe that too 🙂

    I’m now working on a new list with 100 items like you suggested, and it’s actually harder to come up with that many. I’m stuck at around 79.

  9. Cloud says:

    I haven’t checked in on my list lately. After reading 168 hours, I tried to write a list of 100 things. I didn’t make it to 100- it might be fun to revisit it and see how I’m doing. I did write a personal fun list of 12 things for 2013 (the idea was to do one per month), and I’m a bit behind on that. We’re also one month behind on our family fun list (also 12 things). The summer sort of got away from us!

  10. I read your 168 Hours book and started the List of 100 Dreams that you recommended. I only have about 25 dreams on there so far because I kept feeling like I needed to pick a well-rounded and perfect 100 dreams. But this post makes me think it’s okay to revise the list over time, which I hadn’t considered. How do you let go of one of the dreams without guilt?

    • Laura says:

      @The Happiness Advocate — I view it as a living document. And the crazy thing about a bucket list is that it can expand, rather than shrink over time, because hopefully one’s life and sense of possibility expands rather than shrinks over time. Since I’m the one who put an item on the list, I can let it go. It wasn’t a contract with anyone else that I’ve let down. And I’ve decided I’ve got other dreams.

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