Life: The Bucket List

There is a danger that this post is going to disintegrate into one long cliché. I want you to know now, right at the start, that if it does, it is not merely through laziness or an inability to form an opinion. It is because clichés are rolled out all the time because they are true. Often there is just no better way of putting it.

Here’s one: Life is Short.  Although we all plan to be around a really long time, we just never know what might happen; what tomorrow might bring. Recent events have made this painfully clear. I lost a friend recently. Not a hugely close friend, but someone who always arrived with a smile. Someone I was always pleased to see and who had shared one of my happiest days, my wedding day, with me. The funeral was yesterday. I was saddened most of all to finally meet her son, of whom she was so very, very proud, on one of the worst days of his life.

One of the things that I always loved and admired about my friend was the way in which she threw herself into her life with such commitment, passion, dedication. In work and in play, she followed her dreams and ambitions, completing a degree whilst working and raising her son. Learning to dance and dancing all around the world.

I have a Bucket List. We all do, don’t we? Written down or in our heads, it’s the thing to have. I wrote mine down years ago. Every so often I get it out of the drawer in which it sits, take a look at it, confirm that yes, these are the things I want to do before I die. Then I carefully put it back in the drawer again. Then…nothing. I do nothing about it. Nothing to move forward on any of my plans, my big dreams. I know that some of them are not possible for the moment. I cannot imagine taking the kids on the Trans-Siberian Railway to Mongolia so I can say in a ger and see Prezwalski’s Horse in the wild. But not everything on the list is so difficult.

Doing my 35:35 Challenge and completing several smaller challenges, has begun to change my mind-set into one of doing and less of thinking and (if I’m really honest) of making excuses and procrastinating. Now I need to take that approach with the bigger things I want to do. Learn to say ‘yes’ more often instead of ‘no’. Learn to be creative, to find ways of doing what I want and dream of doing, whilst at the same time keeping my lovely family happy too. Being a scanner means having such a giant list of things that I want to achieve that it becomes all too easy to freeze with indecision because you really don’t know where to start and get worried that by taking one course of action, you immediately close off another. This doesn’t have to be the case. Movement is good.

I’m going to take my Bucket List out of the drawer and to look at each thing on it. Then I’m going to work out whether it’s something that I can do now, or something that will need to happen later. For the ones that feel more achievable now, I am going to take the first step on each. Lesley Garner once wrote a brilliant article called ‘Stepping Stones’ in which she describes how we can get anywhere and do anything with stepping stones. I think that the Impossible League feels the same. Take your first step towards the impossible and then the second…

So, my message to you is this. Life is Short. Please make sure you live it the way you really want to. Take that first step to achieving your dreams. Follow what really makes you happy, not what you think should make you happy. Because you really, really never know what tomorrow might bring.

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7 Responses to “Life: The Bucket List”

  1. The death of my uncle (who was only a decade older than me) last summer put me in a similar frame of mind – that of wanting to make the most of life NOW

    When my uncle knew his time was short, he wrote:

    Ultimately for me life is not about length of years and days but living fully with what I have been given.

    The ‘Stepping Stones’ you mention sound rather like ‘next actions’ in ‘Getting Things Done’. The idea being that you decide what the ‘next action’ should be, however small, as this will take you another step on the way to completing a bigger task. And this makes it much more likely that you will make progress than if you just have the big task written on a list.

    • What a wonderful phrase. He was so right. It’s really easy to get caught up in things that in the grand scheme of life, really don’t matter, instead of living and loving fully. I really want to make sure that this feeling doesn’t go away now, that I live each day to its fullest for myself, my kids, my family and friends.

      I think that taking small simple steps towards bigger things is definitely the way I can manage to get things done, whilst keeping my job, my sanity – and my (long suffering) husband!

      I am glad that you feel as though you want to make the most of your life too. I think we owe it to the people who will not get the chance.

  2. Lovely post, how wonderful that you can take someothing so positive from such sadness.
    I couldn’t agree more with what you say – we often find reasons (mainly finance) for not doing what we dream of, but small things that cost nothing still bring happiness and contentment.
    Which said I am now off to wish @LouLouK well as she embarks on a new adventure, then I am going home to enjoy the sunshine while it lasts either on foot or two wheels.
    I look forward to hearing how your list progresses and wish you joyas you progress it.

  3. Beautiful post, and a timely reminder to us all just how precious life truly is. Your words have inspired me to appreciate the important people in my life and not waste energy on those who bring negative vibes!
    Best wishes for completing your bucket list x x

    • Thank you! I think you’re so right – we spend a lot of time trying to please people who really suck the happiness out of us. I’ve spent a lot more time recently with the people I love and it’s made me a lot happier…

  4. i really admire you this is a brilliant idea you sound so determined to make all your goals on your list

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