Why You Should Make a Bucket List

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Earlier this month, I shared how I used an intention list to find my perfect apartment back when I lived in Portland.
 
Now, for the Greatest of all intention lists: The Bucket List.
 
As you likely know, a bucket list is a list of all the things you want to do in life before you “kick the bucket.” (Not exactly my favorite image, but we’ll go with it.)
 
Do you have a bucket list?  
 
When I worked with my first life coach, we spent a lot of time on my bucket list.
 
Basically this was:

  • Find my soulmate
  • Have kids
  • Write books
  • Lead an organization with a positive social impact
  • Move to the countryside
  • Become fluent in Spanish
  • Get the skills and confidence to go on a solo backpacking trip
  • Travel to South America, Southern Europe, Japan, SE Asia

Then my coach gave me a further task: Create a timeline for it.
 
I got out a big piece of paper and drew a horizontal line. At one end, I marked my current age, 31. At the other, I wrote 95, a generous old age.
 
Then I started filling it in with all the items on my bucket list. This is where things got interesting.
 
Obviously in my 30s and 40s I needed to concentrate my efforts on finding a partner and starting a family. I also needed to work my tail off if I wanted to publish a book and be a leader of a social impact organization.
 
Uh-oh. My timeline was suddenly crammed with major life landmarks – up until age 50. But wait, what about all that travel?

Determinedly I started filling in travel wherever I could. Age 33: Travel to Colombia and Bolivia. Age 39: A year sabbatical to Japan. Age 47: Six months in South America with my husband and kids.
 
My timeline was ridiculously front-loaded. Everything I wanted to do in life had to be done in the next 20 years! I felt a bit panicked.
 
Plus, there was a vast empty expanse from age 62 to age 98. My golden years needed a bit of work.
 
I’d deal with that later. For the moment, at least I knew that I seriously needed to get moving on these big goals.  
 
I saw that I had three big desires for my life: a soulmate and family, travel adventures, and meaningful work.
 
Finding a soulmate seemed like a mix of intention, action and luck, so I decided to let that goal simmer on the sidelines. The two other projects -- meaningful work and travel adventures – seemed much more in my control.
 
I created an intention list around my perfect job and started taking steps to find it. Meanwhile, I started planning a sabbatical year in which I could hit as many of my travel destinations as possible.
 
It’s six years later. Today I unearthed my timeline from my files. Incredibly, I can check these things off:

  • Find my soulmate
  • Have kids
  • Write a couple books
  • Lead an organization with a positive social impact
  • Move to the countryside
  • Become fluent in Spanish
  • Get the skills and confidence to go on a solo backpacking trip
  • Travel to South America, Southern Europe, Japan, SE Asia

After all this time, here’s why I think having a bucket list matters:

  • It’s incredibly powerful to write down your goals.
  • It reminds you that you have limited time on this earth. You can choose to use that time to be happy and do what you love.
  • If you want to live your ideal life, you’ve got to first visualize it and believe you can have it.

Is it time to write or update your bucket list? Leave a comment below to tell me the first thing on your list that you’re going to do!
 
It’s going to be great. Enjoy.