Do you have a bucket list?
I don’t have one, but I’ve been thinking a lot about them lately.
I know a lot of people keep lists of things they’d like to do and I know that the term “bucket list” has to do with things you wish to do before you die, or “kick the bucket.”
Whenever I think of making such a list however, I can’t think of what to put on it. At the moment, I’m pretty happy with where I am right now, and I tend to prefer to live in the moment and enjoy where I am rather than thinking ahead to all the things I haven’t done yet, all the things I might do if and when I have the time, all the things I may not ever get to do or know that currently I don’t have the resources to do.
I remember a movie I heard about recently where two men are in hospital beds, side by side, and one tells the other about his bucket list and then dies soon afterwards. The second man goes all over the world, trying to finish off the first man’s unfinished bucket list for him, in his honor, after he’s already died.
Is that the kind of list I want? A list of unaccomplished things? I think not.
And yet, I often consider all of the things I’ve already done, and I feel like I should make that list instead, that it’s so much more special to me than a list of things that might or might not happen. I have a wonderful husband, three amazing daughters, jobs I absolutely love. I’ve been a teacher, which was my dream profession when I was a child. I owned a business which incorporated a hobby I love and taught me about a profession I never dreamed I’d have as a business person, for more than a decade. I won awards, took trips and mentored others during that decade. I author a blog. I have written two books, I’m working on a third. I’ve won multiple awards as a journalist. I’ve met the President, the First Lady, Miss Universe, two Olympic medalists, and all the way on down the line to all of the politicians and decision-makers in our hometown. I’ve eaten in the White House. I’ve been on TV. Most recently, I’ve auditioned for a live performance taking place in my state later this year, and although I don’t know if I’ll make it or not, just auditioning would go on my list.
I think it’s more a list of things I never imagined I’d do, and have done, risks I’ve taken, opportunities I’ve said yes to, that I never thought possible or ever imagined would be in the realm of me or my life. Had I had a bucket list, not one of these things would I ever have thought to put on it, but yet here they are on the list of things I’ve done.
Sometimes, when I consider whether or not to take a particular risk or seize a particular opportunity, I think of the ongoing list that is running in my head of all of the incredible opportunities I’ve already had, things I’ve said yes to, and I think of how great it’d be to add whatever this latest opportunity might be, to the list in my head of things I’ve done.
I feel like that is the list I should be keeping on paper, at least for now. I feel like living in the moment and not having any regrets now, is what means more to me. I feel like I want to spend my time now loving what I’m doing today, and not spend today worrying about tomorrow.
I think I’ve decided.
The list of things I *have* done before I die, rather than the things I hope to do, the list of things I *have* accomplished, stepped up to the plate for, taken a risk for, learned from, seen and done will be my list. I think that list is the list that I want to be known for, and to be motivated by, and to tell my children and grandchildren about.
And as life goes on, as opportunities present themselves, I’ll have to decide whether they will be added to my list.
To me, it’s not about what I might do, it’s about what I’ve done.
That’s what’s on *my* list.