I downloaded some worksheets that included some prompts to help me create a bucket list.
The Cornell Legacy Project found that the “wisest elders” among us say that creating and pursuing bucket list goals is something that brings nothing but rewards throughout life. But, not having one, results in regrets and missed experiences.
I felt like I needed a bucket list because I certainly cannot live my life regretting my missed experiences.
The first prompt said, “What are 10 burning desires you have for yourself?”
Of course, my first response was the same as it always is — lose weight. Then, I scratched it out and thought, “Come on, that’s a lifelong battle. Toss that relentless irritation out of the mix and have fun with this.”
Then, I asked myself questions about where I’d like to go, what I’d like to do, what experiences I’d like to have before I die.
I waited for all my urgent desires to surface.
How about Machu Picchu? Doug’s always wanted to go to Peru and experience the mystical ruins. But, that’s Doug’s dream, not mine.
I decided to stop thinking so hard about my bucket list and just put it in the back of my mind and let ideas percolate more naturally.
Yesterday, Doug and I were walking along the beach and I thought about my bucket list again. I told him that I must not be a very ambitious person because I can’t think of 100 things I want to do.
We discussed the pros and cons of goals and both agreed that while they can propel us forward in life, they can also create unneeded stress, unreasonable expectations and feelings of failure or discontent.
As we walked along the beach, listening to the waves, observing the weather worn pier, and running up the dune to avoid a crashing wave, I said, the truth is that while I want to do a few fun things before I die, I really won’t regret not going to Machu Picchu or any other worldly thing because my true bucket list is not defined by questions of things to see, people to meet, and new things to try.
If I am honest about what I want before I die, my wish list is deeper and more personal. It’s less about stuff to do and all about people to love and the fullest life to live.
Of course, I want to continue cancer-free living. Who doesn’t?
I want my daughters to live happy, fulfilled lives. I want them to experience all the love and success they want in life. I want healthy, happy, grandchildren. (No pressure Sara and Annie!)
I want to take my expanded family to Disney World and watch all their faces light up with excitement when they see Buzz Lightyear or Cinderella. I want to gather them all together and look into their bright faces and marvel over the miracle of life and how it goes on and on forever with one generation after another adding to a family’s heritage and history.
I want to spend time with my friends, laughing and making new memories. I want to keep enjoying being me, truly me without pretense because there is so much freedom and joy in not worrying about how I should be.
I want to spend as much time with my mother as possible and have her teach me how to be more like her. I want to learn from my brothers and the wisdom they’ve gained in life. I want to see my nieces and nephews marry and have children. I want to be a great-aunt over and over again.
In the end, I guess I do have a bucket list. It’s just not the adventurous parachute-out-of-a-plane, scuba-dive-in-the-red-sea variety. It’s more about getting the best out the life I already have with the people who matter most to me.