Do you dream of traveling through Europe? Do you want to buy a boat, get a degree, or write a book? Do you have a list of ‘want to’s” or a bucket full of “some day’s?” Do you have an official Bucket List of things you want to do? Do you think you have all the time in the world to get them done?
Do you play the game, What if it was your last day to live, how would you spend it? Would you skydive, climb a mountain, or bungee jump?
I have never had a Bucket List. I didn’t think I needed to write my life dreams down. I thought it was kind of silly to carry my wild ideas in a bucket only to worry about them spilling over the top or dribbling out through a tiny hole in the bottom. They were safer neatly stashed in a wrinkle of my brain and not shared with anyone.
Until last week.
I was on an airport shuttle and heard the driver telling a passenger that he wanted to go to Hawaii before he dies. He described pictures he had seen of the tropical beaches in such detail that I could feel the breeze on my cheek and my feet in the sand. The passenger asked the monumental question… “Why don’t you go now?”
The driver explained that he didn’t know if he could take off work and didn’t have anyone to go with. He went on to say how he was single and didn’t want to go alone. He said he had a sister that would join him, but he didn’t want to go with a family member. After he finished his list of excuses, the fifty-ish-looking driver ended with, “…but I’ll go before I die.” I was convinced that if the trip to the airport was much longer the passenger would have agreed to join him in paradise.
Everyone has a reason for not exploring their dreams or experiencing the adventures they want to have. Everyone has excuses. Everyone believes they have time.
You may think you are too young or too old to do it. You may be waiting for a partner or someone to join you on the adventure. You may just need someone to say it’s ok and to give you permission. You may be afraid. Fear can be stronger than hope. Are you afraid to do something and need someone to give you a loving push? Do you live waiting and hoping for the stars to align and for everything to be perfect in your world… and then you will do it?
I also don’t play the last-day-to-live game. My logical brain thinks it is an exercise of frustration. How could we possibly fit everything we want to do before we die into one day?
But now I realize that is the point of the game. Do not wait to do all you want to do until you are rushed to get it all done. We never know when that day will come or how many days we have in this life. Start going, doing, and experiencing now!
Do not wait to begin filling and emptying that bucket. And please do not leave a bucket full of regrets, hopes, wishes, and dreams behind when you die.
Plan now to leave an empty bucket. An empty bucket to remind your friends and loved ones to follow your example of experiencing life to the fullest. Leave only memories of the adventures and dreams you experienced.
After hearing the conversation in the shuttle that day, I couldn’t shake the feeling of how behind I am. I realize that I have done many of the common Bucket List items. I did go back to school and received a degree. I have written a book- 3 to be exact. I have been to Hawaii many times. But, I have so many things I still want to do.
I also realize that with age my bucket items have changed. For example, my desire to skydive disappeared after I was in a major car accident. The risk of bodily harm is no longer appealing to me.
I did come up with several experiences for my before-I-die list. This week I started writing down my official Bucket List. I didn’t think in terms of wanting to do them, but in terms of, I WILL do them.
As I wrote, I also began planning how to make it happen. I took all excuses off the table. Instead of thinking “I couldn’t do it because,” I changed my self-talk to, “I will and this is how.”
The most important concept I have in mind is this — If not now, when?
Our Bucket List is something only we can control. It is personal and unique to our desires and dreams. Only we can control what we want to do in this life and when and how we are going to do it. Only we can decide if we will leave a bucket full of regrets or a bucket full of memories. I know which one I plan to leave.
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Pennie’s Life Lesson: If not now, when?
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