WHY YOUR BUCKET LIST MATTERS
If you are in any way feeling depressed, as we all wait for life to improve outside our doors, I recommend starting up your Bucket List.
Why do this, when so little seems possible? Just my point. Because as virtual shut-ins for some time ahead, we can examine what’s important and how we want to live our lives. Why not? What else are we going to do? Next season of “The Crown” is not for months! There’s plenty of time.
Buy why? Why put ourselves through this painful charade of writing down what we want, as though we deserve to achieve it? As though any of it is even possible?
Because keeping a vibrant Bucket List and SHARING it, can bring about opportunities for you to have the support you need to accomplish your dreams.
And your dreams realized might create positive shifts for a multitude of people. Isn’t that an awfully nice consequence of you living out your Bucket List? Lots of people get inspired to live their Bucket List?
Take my mother, for example. Sylvia Myers Willoughby celebrated her first solo art show at the age of 92 in December of 2019. Shortly after the remarkable story of her debut appeared in the local paper, mom went into hospice. Shortly after that, she was under lockdown at her assisted living facility. She declined quickly and passed away on July 14, 2020 at her family cottage on the shores of her beloved Lake JoSylvia.
Before she died, she told me, “I knew I was leaving four extraordinary children, but I never dreamt I would leave a legacy with my art. But now, I have.” My mother didn’t have the words to add to that. It was an incredible late-in-life miracle.
And it all started with her, just saying it out loud. Giving voice to a DREAM.
There she was, my husband Dan driving, en route to her new “condo” in an assisted living facility in New Hampshire, hooked up to oxygen, her pink walker in the trunk.
She’d just seen all her years of art work get “shoved” (her words) into a cold storage unit off a country road. Life was over, as far as she was concerned.
She’d been forced to give up her independent life in Florida and part with nearly all of her lovely belongings to get squeezed into a dorm with “broken-down old people.” (Again, her words.) At least they were fellow New Englanders. And her sister would be down the hall. Sadly, along with losing her freedom she was losing capacity in her lungs. (Pulmonary fibrosis. Not recommended.) Time was clearly running out.
I wonder about this - what if my little Yankee Lady mama had not shared that Bucket List wish with my husband? Not allowed herself that moment of wistfulness and hope? Not sighed that dream aloud, that she’d always wanted a solo art show.
There wouldn’t have been any art debut, any sale of paintings and prints, Sylvia website, bequeathing of a large mural to Sunapee Cove, no article above the fold in the paper, no coffee table book, no collection of cards saved and framed in homes around the country.
No Sylvia story to inspire or delight anyone. No book called, “It’s Too Late to Quit.”
No you and me, talking about resurrecting your Bucket List. Now, before we get into a few ideas for sparking that List, I’m wondering….
Are you scared of being too old to achieve stuff on your Bucket List?
Are you 92 yet? No? Let’s move on.
What else scares you about admitting you have dreams?
Maybe it just makes you feel like crap that you haven’t accomplished much of anything that matters, really matters, to you? Ouch!
Two ideas for dealing with that awful regret come from “Its Too Late to Quit.”
ADVICE #1 Let go of your toxic comparisons to other lives you think you should have led.
Okay, that is a challenge. But imagine how freeing it will be! Certainly you will continue to harbor envy for the likes of Cate Blanchett, but you will realize she is not out there flaunting her glamorous life just to make you feel bad. She’s really not.
ADVICE #2 Embrace the idea that you matter. Your dreams, wishes, and desires are important. It matters what becomes of them.
I suggest writing that down and having those words YOU MATTER to empower you, as you create your Bucket List. Pin it to your desktop/phone/mirror. YOU MATTER.
As for rules or guidelines for creating a Bucket List, I rather imagine that there aren’t that many, except write them all down and don’t censor.
Not ready to begin? Ha ha! START ANYWAY with these questions:
What is something you’ve always wanted to do? Doesn’t matter if it’s big or small, purposeful or random. Open up to your (perhaps) way younger self, bursting with hope and passion, and ideas.
If you are stuck for inspiration, check out all the wild and clever ideas at bucketlist.org. Time capsules! Mountain climbing! Play the ukulele!
What would give your life great meaning? Are there people you want to help? Books you want to write? Art you desire to share?
What do you want to learn? Is there a skill, a language, a sport, a way to live, that would enhance the quality of your life? Like if I could learn to manage my anxiety, would I be significantly more calm and productive? Gosh, maybe!
Where do you want to live, or visit? Quick story about how, as teenagers, my friend Lorraine and I would annoy my mother by gossiping in French when she came into the room. Not only did I scribble in my diary about how awfully smart we thought we were, I swore that Lorraine and I would soon go to Paris, and then backpack around the Continent. The fact that I have yet to see the Eiffel Tower means it’s on the damn list!
Who do you want to meet? Do you revere any real-time, living and breathing heroes?
Is there a level of physical fitness and health you would LOVE to achieve? As you contemplate that goal, do you want to stuff down an entire box of Entenmann’s chocolate doughnuts? How sad does it make you, to consider the shape you currently are in? Pretty full of despair? Are you annoyed at me for bringing it up?
Cool! I’m honored! Write your physical fitness goal on your Bucket List.
ALL seemingly unobtainable goals related to your finances, love life, and career also go on your list. My Buddhist mentor advised me to get some guts and chant for 100 things, at least.
ADVICE #3 If you think that creating your Bucket List is too time consuming, stop right now, grab a pen and some paper, and write it down.
ADVICE #4 For a moment, feel the joy of your dream fulfilled. Build on that. Believe it.
How do you build on that?
ADVICE #5 Share your Bucket List. Get over your Shy Self. Ask for help. Allow people to help you.
Write it up in a word document, watch for places to share it and people to share it with, and look for ways you can help others realize their bucket list. For example….
HEADS UP FRIENDS!
We are planning to host a free and fun webinar - “Claiming your Marathon - Your Impossible Dream.” - focused on making the impossible, possible by reframing our lives as a marathon, not a sprint.
If you’d like to be kept in the loop, email me your interest. email@example.com.
Here’s the blog I wrote about my experience: How to Reach a (nearly) Impossible Goal: 10 Lessons Learned from Running 26.2 Miles
See my mother’s triumphant smile as she is interviewed at her solo art show? Positive proof that your can realize your dreams, despite your age.
I truly hope you might treat yourself to a dose of wild hope. As I mentioned earlier, we will be doing this free and fun webinar on “Claiming your Marathon - Your Impossible Dream.”
Thanks for playing!
Onward with gratitude,
Support your journey with a copy of “It’s Too Late to Quit,” for your bedside table or meditation spot, dedicated to you from me and accompanied by a “Believe” decal.
EASY PEASY Send $13 to my PayPal account: firstname.lastname@example.org
Of course, we will need your mailing address.
Here’s a link to the Amazon page with over 40 reviews. If you want an e-version, you can get it there. If you are flat broke, email me at email@example.com and we will work something out. I want to do what I can to inspire you.
“Claiming your Marathon - Your Impossible Dream.”
If you read my blog, you’ll see some of the strategies we will discuss with guests:
- Marathoner Dr. Dean Goodman (still running distance in his 70’s)
- Angel Lady film director Edgar Pablos
- Activist artist Daneeta Jackson of Planet Daneeta
- Triathlete, veteran and cancer champion, health innovator Clayton Treska
- And more!
If you’d like to be kept in the loop to reserve a free place, email me your interest - firstname.lastname@example.org.