Building a better bucket list

I’m a big fan of lists. Grocery lists, to-do lists, lists of music to download, Christmas gift lists, etc. They help me to stay organized and it feels great when I mark something off that I’ve completed. Maybe you’re like me and you love lists. Or maybe you’re a list hater because ain’t nobody got time for that. Your current feeling aside, I hope you’ll feel compelled to stop and make a bucket list once you’ve finished reading this post.

A bucket list is a list for what matters most. It can be as simple or as complex as you’d like—a list of things to do or accomplish before you ‘kick the bucket’ (which is a horrible idiom, to be honest).

Let’s take a look at my first bucket list, circa 2005. I wrote this at the beginning of my senior year of high school:

It's never too early or too late to chase your dreams. Stop and make a bucket list now!

I met Cheryl, my birthmother, during my senior year of high school. I was determined to go skydiving and get a tattoo as soon as I was of legal age, and I did both within three days of turning 18. I fell in love with Brandon and we married in 2012. We don’t have any children together, but I am a step-mother to Emma.

I was certain I wanted to experience New Year’s Eve in Times Square. I haven’t done that, and now I’m not sure you could pay me to willingly walk into those crowded corrals. I still don’t know how to ski. This is really funny, considering that I lived in close proximity to ski resorts for five years after writing this list. I’m still working on some of the other things, including visiting all 50 states.

But I’ve also changed in 13 years—my beliefs, my worldview, my likes and dislikes. I’m a different person now, and I imagine I’ll be a different person in another 13 years.

Building a better bucket list

Many people glamorize bucket lists and pack them full of lavish things that might look cool or attractive on social media. One of my greatest wishes is to have a meaningful bucket list that balances fun life experiences along with things that help others and inspire me to live well. Here’s the new list I made this weekend:

It's never too early or too late to chase your dreams. Stop and build a better bucket list now!

Unsurprisingly, I want to prioritize travel. I love Disney Parks & Resorts, so they make an appearance on my list. I still want to read the entire Bible and ice skate in Rockefeller Center. But I also want to serve others, give a TED Talk, and be a published author somewhere besides on the internet.

I will also point out that I’m a flawed human and have one super glamorous, Instagram-approved item on my list: staying at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. One day when we’re finished with 50 in 5, we will go there and I’ll shed many happy tears.

My bucket list is a way to map some of my life goals. Without a map, where are you going? I’d love for you to comment and tell me one of your bucket list items—big or small!

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