I want you to think of the bucket list that you have. Whether it’s triumphantly displayed on your blog, written shyly in your journal or catalogued in the recesses of your brain right after the recipe for spinach dip your mother gave you, I want you to rename that list “Things I Wish To Do Sometime Before I Die”.
Not very powerful is it?
When death is your finish line, you’re running the wrong race.
Considering that you are a perishable item with an expiry date, we could go further and rename your bucket list “Things I Wish To Do Sometime Before I Die, Which Could Be Any Time.”
How does that feel? Uninspired? A tiny bit morbid? Suddenly less than exciting? Good. That means we are doing it right.
We are a society of list makers. We plan, and then act accordingly. We base what we buy, where we eat, how we cook, and where we travel- on the books and blogs and reviews we read before we step foot outside our home. We believe that when it comes to life experiences, research can prepare you. We write lists of what we want to experience in life, proudly display the list for everyone to see then (if you are lucky) dutifully begin to research which item we can cross off first.
Throw out your bucket list and live your life with the urgency it deserves.
A bucket list is a wish list. It’s a scrapbook page, a pinterest board or the declaration you excitedly share with your friends after your fourth martini. While in the process of creating it, you are fueled with excitement and then you forget about it and order another martini and the topic changes from riding elephants to shirtless Ryan Reynolds and your bucket list is forgotten for the moment.
If I had started with a bucket list when they first became popular, I would still be trying to get Joey Lawrence to be my boyfriend. Bucket lists require upkeep and review. They deprive you of adventure and the thrill you find only when you veer off the beaten path. My greatest adventures were not events I could have listed and planned in the breathtaking and awe-inspiring ways I experienced them.
Backpacking Europe is something lots of people put on their bucket list. I have done that. But more than the backpacking, what I remember most about that trip was stumbling into a hidden Picasso exhibit with a handful of people and being inches away from masterpieces. I got goosebumps realizing I was breathing on Picasso. While others marveled at the color selection and clear lines, I was in awe- counting each paintbrush hair that had fallen out of Picasso’s paintbrush and was painted onto the canvas. I expect no one puts counting paintbrush hairs on their bucket list.
No amount of research can prepare you for life. No list will ensure years full of adventures and excitement. Writing something down doesn’t make it true. Telling someone else won’t ensure it happens. Living an experience is the only way to make it real. The only way to guarantee a life full of exhilarating thrills, joyous accomplishments and memorable experiences is to LIVE that life, not plan it. Throw out your bucket list. Plan less, do more and live a life worthy of envy.
Your time is now.