Written by: Cally Worden
The 2007 film “The Bucket List” sparked great interest in the concept. The idea of creating a wish-list of things to do before you die (“kick the bucket”) is a curious one, and opinions tend to be divided on the subject. For some, it brings thoughts of death a little too close for comfort. For others, it provides a way of focussing on the important things in life before it’s too late. Would you create a bucket list? If so here are some thoughts on how to go about creating a list. Have a read, and then decide which camp you fall into.
Where are you at?
Bucket Lists are often considered by people who have a heightened sense of their own mortality. The death of a loved one, a diagnosis of some severe medical condition, or surviving a brush with death, can all bring the fragility of life into a sharp focus. Bucket Lists challenge an individual to contemplate the fact that death is a part of life. Many find that an uncomfortable realisation, or consider it something they simply to not yet want to engage with. Equally, many people decide to create a Bucket List as a way of providing a structure to their lives. For them, the Bucket List has a focus on life, not on death.
Don’t rush it
If you decide to dabble with the idea of creating a Bucket List, it is important to give your ideas time to develop. When starting to think about things we’d really love to do, most of us fantasize at least a little about travel to far-away places. Unless you are reasonably affluent, climbing on a plane on a regular basis is simply not going to be possible. It’s fine to lay out your dreams in your Bucket List, but be aware of the constraints of reality too. Acknowledging the limitations of your life is a part of becoming comfortable with it.
By all means list out your immediate fantasy List items, but then step back, do a little surfing online and have a look at some of the other ideas that people have had. Chances are you will discover a few things that you are passionate about trying that are more within reach.
Seek Inspiration, and be creative
Reading about the things that inspire others may reveal desires in you that you never before knew existed, such as learning to play a musical instrument, or dancing in the moonlight. You may find that life presents opportunities to you to help you achieve items on your Bucket List. A business conference in Germany, for example, may offer an opportunity to fulfil your dream of attending the Bier-Fest.
One woman I read about harboured a secret wish to have her own personalised stationery, a dream easily fulfilled and immensely satisfying to the individual. Without her Bucket List she may never have expressed it. There are countless opportunities in our daily lives to build-in experiences that we value, at little cost. Improving daily life in this way can be one of the more subtle benefits of a Bucket List.
If you share your Bucket List with people it places a focus on it that creates a level of interest for which you are responsible. This mild form of self-imposed pressure increase the chances of you achieving more things on your List. Sharing can inject a sense of reality.
Let it Grow
As our lives evolve so do our dreams. A Bucket List shouldn’t be static. As you tick things off, add new items when you discover them. Achieving your goals helps you to grow as a person, and this shift will generally generate new dreams.
I think a Bucket List is actually more about life than about death. It is a way of celebrating the time that you have in this world, and helping you focus on making the most of it. It goes further than the “Live for Today” ethos. It’s not necessarily about spontaneity. A Bucket List is about identifying those things in life that are important to you, and helping you to remember them, and drive towards them whenever possible.