The bucket list- the list of all the things you want to do before you die. How many of us really take the time to think about it? How many of us intentionally create this list and refer to it? I do. It’s a powerful tool for me and has given my life so much purpose and meaning.
I truly began to create and write down my bucket list my senior year of college. I was stuck with this constant, awful feeling that time was moving too fast and the best four years of my life were slipping through my fingers. I got caught up in trying to slow time down, and since (duh Maria!) that’s not possible, it only led to more disappointment. Luckily, I was fortunate enough to have been selected to be in a leadership class with some of the most amazing people I know to this day. Because you had to be a senior to be a part of the experience, everyone else felt like I did and we were given a space to discuss, grow from, and share this feeling. Through these discussions and my own personal reflection, I realized there was nothing I could do to stop time. I could wish and hope and fight it as much as I wanted, but the days continued to fly by.
During this time I started practicing intentionality. I looked for meaning in every day, realizing that we can’t only live for the big stuff because there’s so much little stuff that can bring us joy too. I began to enjoy walking around campus to class and being mindful of the things that made me happy. If it was the weather, a cute dog, a good song in my headphones, I truly took the time to enjoy it. Once I started to get better at this practice, I realized that as my days felt more joyful I felt as though I was truly making the most of the time I had left and I quickly became okay with how quickly it was passing. I made it a point to say yes to plans that came up and really cherish the time I had left with some of my best friends. Although there were still times where it was incredibly difficult to come to terms with what I felt was going to be the end of the best four years of my life, the intentionality behind creating those experiences has left me with some of my favorite memories. I’ve also been able to reflect on those incredible times while working to make the years following the next best four, and so on. I remember learning in one of my Psychology courses how having something to look forward had a big impact on our happiness, so after an invigorating conversation about passions and dreams in my leadership experience I made my bucket list.
Without thinking, I wrote down everything I could remember I ever wanted to do. From really really big things, like put my hammock up on every continent or meet Ellen Degeneres (if anyone reading this has any connections… let me know), to really small things like see the Lumineers in concert or take a photography class I scribbled it all down. If you’ve ever heard someone say that when you write goals down you’re more likely to accomplish them, this is the perfect example. When I have an itch to do something or when I’m planning my next trip, I can always refer to my bucket list for perfectly concrete ideas.
Since writing it down, I’ve gone skydiving….
backpacked the Grand Canyon…
moved to Colorado…
and much, much more!
Some of the most incredible experiences of my entire life have come from my bucket list. It’s a life tool that keeps me excited to be alive, and excited for what’s to come. If you haven’t made a bucket list, or if it’s only in the mental stages, I highly recommend creating one and/or writing one down. It’s your personal experience and you can adjust it as often as you’d like. Be honest with yourself about the things you want to do and get out there and do them! If you know anyone that could benefit from my experiences, please share!