Bucket List 101: the How's and Why's to Write One ...

lmLife is short. The average human being lives approximately 25,000 days, or nearly 70 years, plodding about this great wide yonder before they’re – POP! – no more. So if you’re hoping to get anything out of it – out of those 25,000 days, out of this Life – then you’ve gotta prioritize what those things are. That’s where your bucket list comes in.

A bucket list is no ordinary list. The enumeration of tasks on your everyday to-do has no business appearing on your bucket list. A bucket list highlights all that you wish to do or accomplish before you kick that eternal bucket, and “pick up Gary’s suit from the laundromat” sure as hell ain’t any part of that.
To give you some idea, I’ll draw from my own Bucket List:
“Hike and camp out overnight on the Great Wall”
“Serve a year as a volunteer in a foreign country”
“Take a balloon ride over the Serengeti”
“Travel solo”
“Learn to tango in Buenos Aires”
“live in Europe on a dime”
(Some I've done, others are still on my list)

Of course, your bucket list needn’t be travel based. These are simply my personal priorities – explore and adventure – but they aren’t practical for everyone...may not even be “practical” for me. But the repercussions of impracticality won’t last too long, right? Only less than 25,000 days here, after all...

So now you know why you should make your bucket list, but what about how? If you’ve no idea where to start, here are five helpful tips for creating your bucket list.

1. Let It Grow Organically

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The bucket list should evolve and grow as time progresses. Rather than sit down and cement an unchanging list, produce your list spontaneously. Goals and ambitions change as you get older, but your real DREAM dreams – which should be the content of your bucket list – will likely always be a fire within you, a passion, a secret ambition; and more and more of these secret ambitions will crop up as life so often inspires them. So always grow your list. Until you really do kick the bucket.

2. Be Imaginative

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Dreams occur in the imagination. They are imaginative. So should your bucket list be. Don’t be afraid to get a little creative and random with your items listed. For instance, “hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu” may appear on many a travel-minded bucket list. But you could push it further and make it your own with a little bit of random and a whole lot of imagination – “hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in the company of an alpaca named Pachacuti.” Seem a bit unattainable? Who said YOU couldn’t be the one to name the alpaca after the famous Incan leader? Anyway, the changes don’t have to be quite that specific, but you catch my drift. Personalize your list, spice things up, and make it your own.

3. Make Some of Your Dreams Practical

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A bucket list is certainly a dream list, but you may want to keep a teensy smudge of practicality in mind in order to make these dreams attainable. If you’ve created a mile-long list of things that’ll likely never happen in a million years, whether you work towards them or not, then your list won’t be very effective. However, there is a fine line in drawing up your dreams, as you should push your limits. Otherwise, what’s the point? This is no ordinary list, so don’t make it a list of ordinary goals. I mean, “go see Star Wars” or “eat twenty hotdogs” is great and all, but Joey Chesnutt can eat 69 in one sitting, so...

4. Don’t Compare

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Which reminds me – don’t compare your bucket list to others’ bucket lists. These are YOUR goals, these are YOUR dreams. So I guess, if going to Star Wars or eating twenty hotdogs really are your biggest goals and dreams, then who am I to judge? Go for it. Own it. And feel empowered. This doesn’t mean that you can’t be inspired by other people’s lists. But don’t make your dreams a carbon copy of someone else’s. You are original and unique, and so your dreams should be.

5. Mix It up

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Though, as I mentioned before, a large portion of my list is travel-based, due to my travel-based priorities, I also mix it up by targeting different areas of my life. For instance, career-wise, I’d like to “write and publish a novel” which is yet unchecked. Financially, I hope to always live economically but make enough to one day “donate a big lump sum anonymously”. When it comes to hobbies, I’m a painter, so “exhibit in a gallery” is on my list. Spiritually, I’d love to “meditate in silence for ten days without technological stimuli” which I’ve yet to do; but it’s there, calling me to do it. And that’s what the bucket list is, really – a call to LIVE LIFE.

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