Why Everyone Needs a Bucket List

A lot of times, you will hear the phrase “bucket list” thrown around, especially when people rave about something being a bucket list item. But what does this really mean? And do people really have bucket lists?! Or is this just something they talk about and never actually write down?
I am here to tell you that, yes, bucket lists are a real thing and that every person, including you, should have one!
The common definition for a bucket list is basically a list of things to do, see, or accomplish before you die (or “kick the bucket”). This is not to be confused with goals, which are everyday things you work towards or achieve over time, or bars you set for yourself. These could include things like buy a home, get married, have kids, earn a degree, get in shape, make a certain amount of money, or have a certain job. Goals don’t necessarily get crossed off the list once they’re completed, but rather will always be a part of your life in some form.
On the other hand, bucket list items are the dreams and desires you hope to experience. Basically, the things that most people put off until “one day”. Many equate this to travel destinations, like hiking Mount Everest or seeing the Pyramids in Egypt, which are perfect examples. However, they can also be things like to volunteer, learn an instrument, skydive, or read a difficult book. Sometimes goals and bucket list items will mesh together, such as learning Italian or running a marathon. But usually, bucket list items are adventures. They help you live unapologetically as if tomorrow is your last day. The only problem is that most people don’t keep actual bucket lists so they never actually do any of these items.
Why do people have the tendency to push off the things they are most passionate about? I know so many people who wish they could start a bakery, or dream of visiting Europe. But what is stopping them? Financial limitations, busy schedules, having children to raise, and not being able to take time off work are among the common excuses I hear (yes, I am here to tell you, they are excuses). However, the most common response is that they just haven’t gotten around to it yet, and will some day.
But here’s the thing. There is an extremely high probability that “some day” will never come if you keep procrastinating and assuming that there will be a better time. Your time here is limited. I am here to tell you that the time is NOW.
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Are you really LIVING, or are you just existing? This is a question each of us should ask ourselves. It’s incredible how many live life just floating on by, perfectly content to just survive. Maybe take a vacation once a year or do something exciting every once in a while, but that’s about it. They have aspirations of fun adventures and bucket list items, but will never actualize many (if any) of them because they allow them to remain a dream or fantasy. Then, later on in life when it’s too late to actually do them, they look back on all the things they wanted to do and wonder “what if”. This is the greatest tragedy of all.
According to an article Collective Evolution did on ‘The Top Five Regrets of the Dying’ many older people on their death beds admitted regretting the following things:
  1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself.
  2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
  3. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
Pretty depressing, right?
Why do we pass up on happiness, fulfillment, fun, authenticity, and joy; and instead settle for mediocrity and complacency? I have more news for you. You simply were not put on this earth to pay bills and die. Quite the contrary. You are meant to follow your passions and enjoy every moment. Each of us endure our share of pain and tribulations, and we spend a majority of our lives working our butts off. So we all deserve some enjoyment and satisfaction in life, and you should not feel guilty or burdened about it.
As for all those excuses people make, I truly believe if you want something bad enough, you will put all your energy and effort into making it happen. It may take a while and may require some determination, but eventually, it will happen for you. Whether it’s a trip to Italy, moving to New York City, or to fly in a hot air balloon, you absolutely can and should go for it. Most of the time, the only thing holding us back is ourselves. Even if you’re scared or you may fail at it, I assure you that it’s much worse to live with remorse that you did not at least try. Whether you’re 29 or 69, it’s never too late to strive for your bucket list items.
Dream big.
The honest truth is that caring for the person I love the most, my grandma, and then watching her condition deteriorate over the years until she eventually passed is what made me so passionate about living life to the fullest. I was confronted with mortality and it scared the crap out of me. That cliche saying that “tomorrow isn’t promised” became real for me, and I made a vow to myself and to my grandma that I would make every moment count. If I kept banking on doing all the things that made me feel alive “some day”, I knew that I would realistically never see them come to fruition. I had to take action and live in the NOW.
So I sat down and began my bucket list. At first I didn’t really take it that serious, as I thought it was just brainstorming cool things to do one day. But it ended up being so much more for me. The simple activity of writing down my bucket list items is what lit a fire in me to go after each and every one of them.
On top of crossing off city after city on my list, I have also gotten to experience so many profound experiences that deeply impacted me, like swimming with sharks, moving to an island, zip lining in Costa Rica, a road trip on the Pacific Coast Highway, attending Caribana in Toronto, jet skiing, kayaking, holding a crocodile while visiting the Louisiana bayou, meeting former coach of the Dallas Cowboys, Jimmy Johnson; backpacking in Europe, beach hopping across Puerto Rico, and so much more. Had I not actually took the time to create my list, many of these things would still just be fantasies lingering in my head, rather than incredible memories that shaped who I am.

 

Here are just a few reasons why it is so important to write your bucket list down:

  1. It solidifies your plans and makes you much more likely to take them serious and go out there and achieve them.
  2. It organizes your ideas so you know which items are realistic. It’s nice to say you wan’t to skydive, but can you actually get yourself to jump out of a plane?
  3. Seeing it on paper will hold you more accountable, since you’ll want to check items off one by one and enjoy that feeling of achievement each time.
  4. It will deeply motivate you to see it all written down and realize how long your list is, and how you’d better get started!
  5. You can go back and review your list from time to time to get inspired.
  6. You can prioritize items by which ones you want to do the most, or start small, then work your way to bigger items.
  7. It can be a really fun to sit down and write it all out, especially if you join with friends and collaborate on your ideas.
  8. It will really make you think about your passions and you will truly learn a lot about yourself along the way.
  9. It puts a lot of these plans in motion by letting the Universe know what you want so you can attract those things and opportunities that will help bring them to you. Sometimes they just fall in your lap in a truly amazing way.

So again, while it may not be something most people take seriously or even realize the significance of, this simple little tool has been life changing for me and I know it can be for you, too. I urge you to start working on your bucket list soon so you can begin living an extraordinary, fulfilling and joyous life like I have. I still have so many more items to go, but I assure you I am actively pursuing them one at a time. And soon, with the help of your own bucket list, you will be doing the same.

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What are some of your bucket list items? Please leave a comment and share! 🙂

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