Why To Make a Bucket List Before You Kick the Bucket

A wise man once awoke and, upon believing himself dead, exclaimed, “I can’t believe I’m dead. There was still so much on my bucket list. So many different buckets I wanted to own. Buckets!”

Okay, that wise man may have been the fictional character Tracy Jordan from 30 Rock, but he brings up a good point about having regrets. The average person might not fear dying before they collect all the cool buckets the world has to offer, but all of us worry that one day we’ll wake up and realize our lives have passed us by.

Here’s how to grab life by the reins, or in this case, handles, and not let that happen.

Make a bucket list, a place where you list all the crazy things you want to do one day, the aspirations you have for your life, or even just the goal not to live with your mother and have thirty cats.

Writing down all those “I should really do that one day!” moments holds you accountable for the things you want to pursue, instead of ending up saying, “what was it that I was going to do again?” and mindlessly logging into Facebook because you can’t remember, only to see other people doing awesome things and living their lives. How is it that they’re out being awesome and you’re inside being a Facebook stalker? Because they made a bucket list.

For the true bucket list enthusiast, there can even be lists of bucket lists. Life is complicated, therefore our bucket lists can be also. Many forms of the bucket list can exist. There’s to-do lists, vacation itineraries, summer bucket lists, year-by-year lists. Short term lists are great for setting goals over small amounts of time, but pale (pun intended) in comparison to the all-encompassing, life-goals bucket list.

It’s easy to be intimidated by an empty page just starting out, but most people have at least one or two things that they’ve always wanted to do. Here’s a couple of ways to get inspired.

#1. Add something that terrifies you. Conquer a public speaking fear, go on a huge roller coaster, befriend a spider. Your list should contain at least one thing that sets your heart racing faster than a haunted house at midnight. What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger, and makes your list stronger, too.

#2. Use other people’s creativity. Chances are your perfect bucket-list goals are out there, you just maybe haven’t thought of them yet. Fortunately the bucket-lists of the world are at your fingertips. A simple Google search to browse already made lists can remind you of activities you’ve always dreamed of doing, or introduce them to you for the first time. Try typing in something other than just “bucket-lists.” “Unique bucket lists” or “2014 bucket lists” adds some specificity to your bucket browsing.

#3. Find something that can only be done in your lifetime. Our parents got to see the premiere of Star Wars IV: A New Hope in theaters, maybe our kids will get to see the premiere of Star Wars X in their brain-streaming digital devices. Adding something to your bucket list that dates it sets a stamp on your goals, and you can tell your kids, “Hey, when I was your age I had a goal to collect every type of Pog out there and I did it” and have them look at you like you’re speaking a foreign language. But that’s something that other people who make bucket lists after you will not be able to do, which makes yours unique. Along these lines, your ‘in your lifetime’ addition to your list could be visiting one of these places on the infograph, since they’re disappearing in the next few decades.

#4. Do something whimsical. Everyone has that one thing that they’ve wanted to do since they were a little kid, but just never got to it because the world of growing up got in their way. A bucket list can’t be complete without one or two items on it that embarrass you or make people scratch their heads, because it’s unique to you and only you. If you’ve sat in a field full of grass and searched for four leafed clovers till sundown, always wanted to brave the fourth story attic of Aunt Patty’s house because she always told you there was an ice-cream monster inside, or dreamed of putting on a one-man sock-puppet show, add it to the list. Don’t be afraid to dream big or dream quirky, because that’s who you are, and writing them all into one place will help you do it.

#5. Avoid the cliches, because you will never do them. Sky-diving. Seeing the northern lights. Being fluent in three languages. All of these are the things that come to mind immediately whenever anyone mentions creating a bucket-list. And all of them are also things that you will probably never actually end up doing. Never stick something on your list unless you’re sure that one day you will commit to doing. Before you write it down, think about it. If the powers that be align correctly so you have the funding and the time, will you actually go sky-diving? Learn French? Travel to the Aurora Borealis? If those are thing that you genuinely want to do, write them down. If you’re adding things to your list because they sound awesome, they will forever remain a line on a list. Your bucket list should be a dream-organizer, each number a little slice of the plans you have for your life so you don’t wake up like Tracy Jordan and wonder why you never collected all of the buckets you had planned.



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