Or as I like to call mine, “Things To Do Before I Die”.  Slightly more dramatic, but the same thing.  For those that aren’t familiar with bucket lists, they are a list of your desires and fantasies.  Things you want to experience and accomplish before you leave this earth.  The term bucket refers to the term “kick the bucket”, meaning to die.  Recently a popular movie, entitled “The Bucket List” brought attention to the idea.

Why have a bucket list?  Well, the reasons are many.  They are fun to make.  They make your dreams and fantasies real.  Its on paper, so it must be real.  A list can help to remind you to plan for accomplishing an item or give you a way to track your items.  Or a bucket list could be a way to explore your desires and find things you didn’t know about yourself or rediscover things that you have forgotten.

Now, for many of us it isn’t difficult to draw up a list of the things we want to do and accomplish.  For others, like my wife Jen, it’s tough.  She doesn’t think that way.  She is not a planner and rarely plans ahead like that, though she has expressed things that she desires to do.  Her list can help her get motivated to actually do those things and discover things that she wasn’t aware of.

So, what if you don’t know where to begin?  Try a little mind mapping (I wrote a post about that here).  Buy some books, like those “1001 Things To Do…” type or watch the Travel or Discovery Channel.  Search the internet for ideas.  Try these sights for starters: 525+ Ideas for Your Bucket List or Create a Kickass Lifestyle List.

There is a world of stuff out there you don’t even know exists.  The best way to start, however, is to just write the ideas that pop into your head down on paper (or type them on your laptop).  You’d be surprised how one idea spawns another and another.

Remember, the craziest ideas are often the best.  Its not a list of the mundane things you want to do before you die.  Think big and think, I hate these office type phrases, outside of the box.  Go for it.  If you want to go skydiving, do it.  Bet $10,000 on a hand of blackjack in Vegas, why not?  Rent a jet and fly to Paris for lunch, start saving.

But crazy doesn’t have to mean expensive or long range.  It’s good to have stuff you could do today or next week on there.  A list of things that will take years of planning and saving is no fun.  Maybe you’ve always wanted to bowl in a league, learn a language or take up baking.  You can start those things now and work on your skills the reset of your life.

Here is a sample of mine:

  • Cruise a river in a small boat for a few weeks
  • Dog Fight at Air Combat USA
  • Drive Route 66
  • Go to Rock ‘n Roll Fantasy Camp
  • Learn to surf
  • See the WWII cemeteries in Normandy
  • Take a swim in all four oceans (2 down, 2 to go)*
  • Visit all the Disney parks (2 down, 9 to go)**

Of course, that’s not the full list, but it gives you a taste.  It includes stuff that plays to my interests, like WWII or playing the guitar, but also has items that get me out of my comfort zone, like dog fighting or surfing.

When it comes right down to it life is about two things.  Relationships and experiences.  Retirement is a chance to do all those things you’ve only dreamed about or never even dared to dream about.  It’s a chance to really experience life and all it can offer.  If you haven’t taken the time to write a list of those desires, do it now.  If you have a hard time, start simple but start!  Life’s a wasting.

* Thoughts differ on how many oceans there are.  I went with four, Pacific, Atlantic, Indian and Arctic.  I figure if I play in the surf of the Arctic ocean, I don’t need to seek out some other supposed ocean.

** Their are eleven individual Disney parks in 5 locations.  Anaheim has two, Orlando has four, Paris has two, Tokyo has two and Hong Kong has one.