Am I the Only One Without a Bucket List?

It seems like everyone’s writing about their bucket lists, leaving me wondering if I should have one.  But I always thought a bucket list was created when someone knew they were dying.  I guess we’re all dying eventually, so maybe it’s not such a crazy idea.

You could also equate dying to the end of something so a bucket list could apply to the end of a month, a season, a year.  It’s starting to make a little more sense now.

I have lots of lists, but I’ve never thought to call them bucket lists. 

My lists

I have a project list, where I keep track of potential, planned and in progress projects.  I never had this before I retired, but find I need it now to keep track of all the ideas zooming through my head every day.  If I don’t write them down, I’ll forget about them.

I also like to use my project list to keep track of how long a particular project takes to complete.  Then if I’m doing it again, I’ll have a good idea how to plan for it.  I also get questions from others about how long some of these things take and this helps me answer those questions.

Some of my projects have target dates.  Those are typically the projects that involve gifts.  If I have a gift planned for a certain time, then I need to make sure it will be finished in time.  Do those kinds of things sound like a bucket list?  I don’t think so.

I have my weekly and daily “to do” lists.  Those typically include specific chores or errands, but can include activities related to my projects.  I don’t think these qualify as bucket list items either.

Tim and I created a list of home improvements for this year, which has motivated us to get some of these things finally done.  We’ve also started a list of places we’d like to travel to after he retires.  Now that might be closer to a bucket list!!

If you’ve been following my reading and cross stitch challenges, you’ll see I do have specific goals around those.  Watch for the second quarter update coming up soon!!

Setting goals

I think maybe I need defined goals for which I could create bucket list items.  This makes me think of my former job and how each year we had goals and operational plans.  I’ve always liked having goals to guide me.  But I’m not sure I truly have goals now.  Is that OK?

I keep busy every day.  Actually, the days fly by.  I’ve done that without articulated goals.  Does this indicate a lack of purpose?  While I do keep busy every day, I often feel I could be more productive.  Maybe that’s where some stated goals would help.  But I am retired after all, so how productive do I need to be?

Potential goal categories

If I were to create goals, these would be the categories I’d choose.

  1. Exercise.  You all know this is my downfall.  I’d like to think if I wrote down specific goals for this and held myself accountable, I’d be more successful.  But I’m also good with excuses reasons for not getting out for a walk or jumping on the treadmill, goals or not.
  2. Cleaning.  Another area where I need more motivation.  In my post about this, I said I couldn’t see hiring someone to do it.  Since then, a friend has referred someone who comes to her house once a month for deep cleaning.  That might be an answer.  Maybe a goal for this category should be to have more company because that seems to inspire me to clean!!
  3. Volunteering.  I’d like to find something else to do besides Book Buddy.  I know there are things I could do at church, and I’ve seriously considered joining the prayer shawl group.  Would I do this if I made it a goal?  There are definitely other things I could do and I typically let my vertigo be an excuse.
  4. Learning.  I like to learn new things but I also would like to enhance the skills I already have and enjoy.  Maybe more quilting classes?  I’ve learned a tremendous amount from my crafty communities on Instagram and Facebook.  This year, my focus has been on cross stitch and reading.  I could find a new emphasis for next year.
  5. Exploring.  This might be similar to learning, but it includes Tim.  Related to our list of travel sites, we’ve talked about getting to all 50 states together.  This really excites me.  There’s so much I haven’t seen.  I think we’re meant to do this.  We give the grandkids subscriptions to Highlights Magazine every year, and we recently received a mailing.  Included were stickers of the 50 states!!  Talk about a sign!

I think that’s a good start, don’t you?  Are there other categories you think I’m missing? 

Once I create goals for each category, does that mean I’ll have a bucket list????  Aww, it’s all semantics anyway.

Do you have a bucket list? If so, what kinds of things are on it? If not, do you think you should have one?

10 thoughts on “Am I the Only One Without a Bucket List?”

  1. Yeah, it’s just semantics! A “seasonal bucket list” sounds better than a “quarterly action plan”. For me it’s a regular look at what I’m doing and putting some plans into place for the next few months or re-focusing on my goals. Your project list & goal tracking could be elements of your seasonal bucket list, if you wanted one. Or if what you have works for you, great!

    I also have a Possibility List as well… which I’ll look at sometimes if I’m trying to plan something new. For me, writing things down seems to have a way of making serendipity happen… or else I just recognize the opportunities. But I’m a list maker, so this might not work for everyone.

    1. I’m definitely a list maker. And I think what I’m doing generally works. But I could do more with a possibilities list than I do, expanding it beyond my project list. We’ll see what I do after I finish your book!!

  2. I don’t have a bucket list. I just try to stay chilled, have fun and do the other stuff that needs to be done. I agree with the other comments about stupid work goals. And I’m not giving myself a performance review, either.

    1. I might not do so well if I had a performance review. Probably high on some things and very low on others!! And I definitely won’t assign weights to my goals. Ugh!!! 😜

  3. I never liked goals that were required of us when I worked (probably due to the job I had when leaders wanted to hold employees accountable to goals that lacked detail and were poorly written).

    Several of my friends have bucket lists. I never have. Not sure why. Maybe it’s because I was married to someone for so long who controlled everything we did. Now I’m trying to figure out what I want to do. I’m embarrassed to say that I don’t even know!

    Your blog on this topic has me thinking I need a bucket list. Wonder if anyone’s experienced a negative effect from having a bucket list (because they’re not making any progress)?

    1. Interesting thought. I would hope a bucket list wouldn’t have a negative effect. But maybe if you become too focused on it to the extent you stress yourself out, it could be negative. I never want that kind of bucket list.

      I agree about the work goals. They were never thought out or even validated as adding value. Many goals were arbitrary and not based on anything beyond being measurable. So glad I am away from that!!

  4. I always think of bucket lists as those extraordinary experiences that you want to have at least once in your life. You have a great list of goals; I’m sure they keep you very busy. For me, I think retirement is a time to NOT have goals but to savor the gift of time doing what makes you happy. A lifetime of performance goals while working makes me tire of goals – sounds like hard work!

    1. I agree that retirement should be free of the stresses experienced while working. I never want my retirement goals to create more stress for me. I do think, however, there are some areas in which I would benefit from the discipline goals can provide. I will strive for that perfect balance between purpose and just being. Thanks for your perspective!!

  5. My wife and I were doing bucket list vacations veforecger illness cruises Caribbean islands Dominican Republic and Mexico but she could no longer travel outside the United States. Since her passing I’ve been trying to lose weight and just be happy again ironically it took me until last Christmas I realized I needed to change my lifestyle so that’s what I’m working on daily exercise, healthier eating, portion eating that’s probably as close to a bucket list I’ll come.

    1. I’m so sorry about losing your wife. I can only imagine how tough that is and how it affects your life. But it’s good you’re making changes and hopefully, you’ll find happiness again. Not the same, I realize, but being happy with yourself is never a bad thing. Thanks, Mike. I appreciate you as a follower.

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