Why Not . . . Make a Bucket List?
Wednesday November 2, 2016

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The bucket list is a concept that refers to “a number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to have or accomplish during their lifetime.” And while I’ve never yet created my own personal bucket list, I have reconsidered the idea of incorporating it into my life as a means for ensuring it is prioritized in a manner that best supports a life I would be proud to have lived.

My return to the idea of building a bucket list was sparked after my conversation with Fiona Ferris on The Simple Sophisticate podcast this past summer. During our conversation Fiona shared the idea of making a bucket list of all of the things and activities, etc. one would do if money wasn’t an option. I must admit, the shift in perspective was new but instantly I could see myself cultivating a bucket list that I could confidently say would enliven my life and clarify my direction if I viewed it through this lens.

So today I wanted to pose that very question to you: If money wasn’t an option or an obstacle, what would you want to do with your one and only life?

Contemplate the following:

~Where would you live?

~How would you live?

~Who would you spend your time with?

~How would you dress? 

~What would you eat?

~What hobbies would you do and how often?

~What would you learn?

~Where you would travel?

~What experiences would you explore on your travels?

~What would you learn about the world?

~How would you decorate?

~What causes would you champion?

While initially this approach may feel silly, what it will provide you with is a vision. Much like a vision board, it will remove the limitations you may have unconsciously put into place and open the world allowing you to be a child in the candy shop.

Once you have the answers to these questions and possibly others, take a close look. What do you see? Pick a handful, perhaps three, and integrate them into your goals (view this goal planner to easily map out a path to success). How can you begin to gradually make them your reality? What might you have to give up to make them possible? Is what you have to give up appearing in any of your answers to the list of questions above? If not, why not let it go? If it is present, ask yourself if is it something you can give up temporarily?

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Let me share an example of how I have answered one of the questions above. When asking where I wanted to live, I have known for some time it was Bend, Oregon. I also knew it would not be easy to make it my reality. I knew buying a house would take time, and I may have to rent for an indeterminate duration, but there was no hesitation once I knew I had an opportunity to live here. I sold my dream house that I had spent nine years remodeling and packed up my pups and moved to my long awaited home, sweet home. I am not sure when I will be buying my house in Bend, but I do know it will happen. The first step was getting here and now that I am here I am clear about the next goal and the life I want to build.

The clarity and focus this approach will provide you with will hopefully get you excited to start where you are. After all, wasn’t it Arthur Ashe who reminded us to “start where you are, use what you have, do what you can”? It’s good advice, and it all begins with getting started.

Once you know definitely what the finish line looks like, look down at just beyond your toes and make one step each day. Before you know it, you will be closer than you were yesterday, last week, last year, and eventually you will have arrived.

Today, let your dreams run free and you might just be amazed that what you dream can actually be your reality. There is no doubt in my mind that they can.


~Looking for more posts full of inspiration? Check out the LIFESTYLE archives

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7 thoughts on “Why Not . . . Make a Bucket List?

  1. I wanted to live in France for as long as I can remember, and it eventually happened. I wanted to see the world, and I did travel extensively in Europe, Africa and Asia.
    My bucket list includes travel to South America and to return, this time with my family, to some of the special places I’ve seen before.

    1. Thank you for sharing this most wonderful example! Dreams can come true if we have the courage to acknowledge them and then make steps to make them a reality. With time, anything is possible.

  2. Great post, Shannon!! Thank you, thank you, thank you! What a joy it is to read your work and am totally loving the new website design! It has such a nice flow! Xoxo, happy Wednesday 🙂 and thanks again!

  3. What a great post! A few years ago, I did the same thing. i.e. wrote a Bucket list. Most of the things on it ended up NOT depending on money so much (except for traveling and interesting experiences and perhaps my home depending on the city) and I’m in the process of ticking off those things. So a Bucket List is a great idea.

    After writing that, I restarted my hobbies–dance, music, art, crafts, literature, poetry, writing, hiking, traveled to more places, started meditation, yoga, downsized my life and possessions towards a simpler life, became a better person, changed my orientation towards service in my profession and more….

    Some of the things on my Bucket list are

    1) Live in European countries for a year or so each–e.g. France, Spain, Italy, England & Switzerland
    2) Travel all over the world (I’ve already covered all continents except South America and Antarctica)

    I would love these kinds of experiences

    a) Visit Serengeti, Lake Tanganyika and see a Safari and take a hot air balloon ride
    b) Go down the Nile in a boat and see Pyramids
    c) Visit Masai Mara
    d) Hike. Mt. Kilimanjaro
    e) Hike Machu Pichu
    f) Dance the Tango in Argentina
    g) Hike in Patagonia
    h) Visit Japan
    i) Float in the Dead Sea and visit Jerusalem
    j) Balloon ride in Cappadocia
    k) Greek Islands
    l) Go to Alaska
    m) Sky Dive somewhere gorgeous
    n) Visit the Glowworm caves and Hobbit land in NZ which I missed
    o) See the Northern lights in Norway
    p) Antarctica!

    3) Home? I don’t want anything fancy for my regular abode–just a place of my own that is simple, warm and elegant. I would decorate it really well in soft calming tones, fresh flowers, comfortable furniture, some quirkiness and an excellent finish and my own artwork. This doesn’t require a LOT of money.

    But I would love the experience of living in interesting hotels around the world e.g. the Ice Hotel, an Igloo, A tree house, underwater hotel in Dubai

    I would like to dress better but that has more to do with my figure and lack of style than money. Maybe more money could get me a great stylist…

    4) Last but not the least…get a PhD and do research psychology

  4. Thanks for the great post Shannon! It is a great reminder to think big and not be afraid of possibilities. Does anyone remember as a kid what it was like to dream? I have lost that ability and desire to relearn how to dream again.

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