There has never been a more uncertain gut feeling about the future than now as we confront this pandemic and its impact on our lives and those of our loved ones.   Keeping a bucket list may at times feel futile or insignificant but it shouldn’t.  We will get past this, much like the Spanish Influenza 90 years ago. Actually, this is a good time to rethink one’s goals and rework them to fit a more thoughtful timeline.   People who are part of my circle know that I am a compulsive list-maker and commit as humanly possible to my yearly resolutions.   As a baby boomer,  I’m beginning to adjust my plans as I think about retirement.  I thought it would be fitting to explore how to keep to that elusive bucket list that we all desire, especially as we age, and time becomes an increasing obstacle.

 Let’s begin by defining what is a bucket list as it has many interpretations. I asked Siri, and as can be expected, she offered up several choices.   For the purpose of this article, I favored the following definition… a bucket list is a number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to have or accomplished during one’s lifetime.   Most folks think of a bucket list as experiences primarily related to travel, but it should be more than that.   Here is my approach, and I would love to hear your ideas on how to do this better.

Step 1.   Pull out that bucket list from wherever you have it stashed, in a notebook, a journal, or a piece of paper. 

Step 2.  If you don’t have it,( let’s assume most people don’t or can’t find it), grab a piece of paper, and let’s start dream-storming (I’ll explain this process in a minute). 

Step 2.5  For folks who found their copy, take a serious stab at examining what has or has not been achieved and whether this is a good time to also dream-storm.

Step 3.  Let begin dream-storming, by broadening our minds to create your bucket list.  Here are some categories that you can choose. It really comes down to what you are most passionate about.  Here goes

  •   Fueling your Wanderlust
  •   Career and Professional  Breakthroughs 
  •  Health and  Wellness 
  •  Creativity 
  •  Wealth Building 
  •  Making a Difference 

Step 4.  Once you selected the categories that you are most passionate about, start brainstorming a list of experiences or achievements. Don’t put limitations on any of it, just let it flow from your mind and your heart.

Step 5.  Now comes the real work.   For each category, we need to think through the who, the when, the where, the how, and how much. Grab a pen and some paper and begin to follow Step 6. 

Step 6.  There are a series of questions that you need to think about for each bucket list item to determine if it could happen. 

        Ask Yourself

  • When is the best time to make this happen, and what is the required time commitment? Examples:  learning a sport, learning to dance the tango, playing an instrument, taking on a hobby,
  • Is there any prep work towards achieving a bucket list item? Example: learning a  language if you are planning to spend a month in a foreign country.
  • Do you want to do this with a loved one, a friend, or alone?
  • What is the cost of achieving any bucket list item, and where will the money come from? Example: For me launching this blog required committing the resources to keep it going.
  • Lastly,  do you have the discipline to stick to it and, more importantly, hold yourself accountable?

This exercise can help you trim the list down to what will make you happy.  Just choosing one bucket list item can be a significant commitment.  I am currently going through this exercise, linking it to when and how I plan to retire and using this shelter-in-place time to learn new things.   I challenge you to do the same, and I leave you with this awesome inspiring quote in the hopes of getting you started.

Stop dreaming about your bucket list and start living it!—Annette White 

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