“Tell me what you plan to do with your one wild precious life?” – Mary Oliver. I end all my emails with this thought-provoking quote. My hope is to encourage folks to contemplate how they are living out their lives. Are they doing what they love or dreamed to do? What is their story?
My Octogenarian father is a gifted story teller. He is a quiet modest man but once he leans forward in his chair, eye alight we know a story is coming and wait with anticipation. My father lives his life a poem by finding joy and laughter in the most ordinary encounters in life. As a child, he was my personal alarm clock. He would pop his head in my room and exclaim “Get up, get up, the day is bursting with moments!” My sister and I would groan, cover our heads to hide our grins. The sense of every day is an adventure has helped carry me through life.
Many folks may spend their entire lives in auto pilot, unsatisfied but not sure why. Oscar Wilde best described it saying: “To live is the rarest thing in the world, most people just exist.” In recent times the art of creating a bucket list has inspired folks to live their lives as a story. A bucket list, is a list of adventures or goals a person would like to participate in, in their life time. By creating a list and completing an item, it may give a person a sense of accomplishment or well-being. The inner peace that is so much talked about in our modern times.
According to The American Heart Association, “Research has shown preplanning brings happiness and taking a vacation time has linked to more positive cardiovascular outcomes." Adventures and experiences from a bucket list may encourage one to get out of their comfort zone. Through my lists, I discovered I love curry dishes, met lifelong friends, and had rewarding experiences in nature.
Creating a bucket list does not need to be complicated. My first one I wrote everything down I could dream of no matter how outlandish, for example: cage diving among the wonderous Great White sharks of South Africa. I probably will never accomplish that one but it makes me smile to think about it.
Pictured cage diving with Great White Sharks. I have yet to do it!
How to get started on a bucket list?
- Choose a name for your list. You may have several lists, I do. For example “Things I would like to do at the beach”. One of my goals is to eat a food I haven’t tried before, but it is on the list. I then write comments about the food I tried. Another list I have is practice Tai Chi in every state I visit. So far, my "wave hands like clouds" have been practiced in 75% of the states. I even practiced Tai Chi at sunset in a pool in Santa Fe, NM!
Another bucket list item I checked off last fall - I enjoyed the hot air balloon ride with dear friends.
- Break down your bucket list. Again, you can have one big list or a specific list. An idea would be to have short term vs long term adventures or goals. For example short term would be to participate in a play this Summer while long term would be each year see a sunset in a different state or country.
I checked this off my bucket list last year - Hike the Ozark Mountains.
- Find ideas for your list. This is a glorious time to explore Mary Oliver’s question! There are many websites out there with folks checking adventures off their bucket list. All you have to do is type in bucket list in your search engine and explore!
- Once you have a list or lists, start checking them off! I encourage you to journal your experiences.
Each person is unique to what they want to experience or achieve. No bucket list will look exactly alike. By journaling you can reminisce and develop your own stories. One day you can lean into your chair with a twinkle in your eye and say to your loved ones, “ Did you know that I…?”
May your life be filled with adventure and happiness!