Bucket lists inspire us to live life fully, drawing us into imagining all the high points we hope to experience in this lifetime. Ideally, we seize the day, jumping into life to accomplish that bucket list well before any immediate threat of kicking the proverbial bucket that lends its name to the list. Bucket lists propel us forward.
Ever one to prefer shaking up tradition by flipping ideas around, I’m inspired this week by the opposite process. Look back, versus looking forward. Memoirs and end of life reviews offer retrospective, as defined in a post at Reason Creek, in this way:
Retrospect is a simple looking backward, it has no judgment implicit within it. Hindsight looks back over errors, reminiscing looks back with rose-colored glasses.
Bucket lists share the same challenge as “to do” lists. All those glorious aspirations can leave us feeling like failures because we focus on what we are not accomplishing. Too many ideas in my head about how many things to get done, and by what deadline, just leave me feeling pressured to be enough. I am working to be enough just as I am. I still love my “DID DO” list, where I assess what I have completed. When a friend shared that she was tallying her “bucketed” list, rather than her bucket list, I fell right in line.
Take that judgment-free lens of retrospective, shift away from what you still wish to accomplish, and tune into what you have completed in this life. Voila, you have the framework for your bucketed list. Turns out this is a grand-scale gratitude list, expanding daily appreciation into the vast landscape of a life.
To barely begin to tally how my bucket is filling, here’s a few thrills I am ever so appreciative to have had in my life:
- Giving birth to my daughters, and nurturing them into incredible vibrant women.
- Having the trust of hundreds of clients, who welcomed me as a guide on their own life paths.
- Wakened from a warm bed by my mom, to view the spectacular Northern Lights.
- Eating juicy, warm plums from the trees on my grandparents’ PA farm.
- Watching my cat give birth to kittens.
- Counting fifteen shooting stars in one week in New Mexico.
- Sailing a small boat with my dad, cold waves lapping at our freezing buttocks as he laughed his deep, throaty chuckle.
- Learning to sew with my mom, and earning her praise and a hug for my crooked, fumbled zipper.
- Catching a stunned possum, just-awakened from hibernation, in a winter’s wood with my sister when we were girls.
- Riding a fast motorcycle with a high school boyfriend. I have the revving scream of the motor memorized still.
- Attending an outdoor classical concert complete with an awe-inspiring fireworks finale.
- Sighting a pileated woodpecker, a few owls, and indigo and painted buntings.
- Sighting more than 60 bald eagles in one day, wintering in trees along the Minnesota River.
- Watching more than 20 hummingbirds, dancing their territorial and buzzing dance around a friend’s NM feeder.
- Gathering sap from trees with buckets cut from bleach bottles, then simmering it into golden maple syrup.
- Riding in a boat right next to a pod of grey whales, flanked by adorable calves.
- Visiting the Chihuly exhibit after dark at the Dallas Arboretum (see featured photo)
- Seeing the “green flash” as the sun set over the bay in Florida.
What cherished experiences do you have in your bucket?
3 thoughts on “Not your mama’s bucket list”
What a wonderful list, Ann, and what a wonderful idea for some time to be spent with journal in hand on a reflective autumn day!
It comes to gratitude in the past and then thinking of the future list comes with less pressure!
Thanks for the insights.
I knew I recognised the Chihuly shot as soon as I saw it! The night aspect had me doubting it at first! Beautiful exhibit isn’t it!?
Lovely list, I m inspired to write my own! Look out for it at critique!! Thanks Ann.