You are asked by a little girl full of curiosity, “Could you please tell me what bucket list is?”
“Do you have one?”
Since you are blessed with a life, you want to live your life to the fullest. You deeply desire to be kind to people (Yes, including yourself!), to care for your family, to be a reliable friend, colleague, team player.
Here, you will learn (more) about bucket list, the reason of creating your own, and how to do so. Check out also the list of bucket lists which are extraordinarily inspiring, and over 350 ideas for your bucket list.
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What is bucket list?
A bucket list is a list where you include all the things you want to experience and do before you kick the bucket and leave this world.
Things that you want to experience include things that you want to see, listen to, touch, taste and feel in your body, mind and spirit.
Things you want to do include things you want to learn, receive, own, enjoy, give, create and contribute.
The term “bucket list” has been popularized since the movie The Bucket List made a debut in 2007. What is the movie about?
Two elder men of contrasting economic backgrounds became friends during their stays in a hospital after being diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. In UK between 2006-2008, only ~ a third of lung cancer patients survive to a year, making the survival of lung cancer is amongst the lowest of all cancers.
This is the story of two previously strangers brought together by the disease. The genius Carter who is a family man, a blue-collar mechanic, and a history lover, started to write a bucket list but soon discarded it upon learning that he has less than a year to live.
Fortunately, the discarded bucket list was discovered by the rich Cole, who is a curmudgeonly cultured loner and civet coffee lover. Cole added more things to do to the list, urged Carter to do everything on the list, and offered to finance the trip.
They jet-set their final months together as a pair of best buddies, doing exciting things (skydiving, riding on a motorbike on the Great Wall of China, sitting on the Great Egyptian Pyramids) and re-discovering life: love, beauty, and kindness.
If you have not watched the movie, please do so. I personally include The Bucket List in the Best Movies List (according to my perspective).
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Why do you want to create your own bucket list?
- Having a bucket list allows you to live a purpose-driven life.
- You can use your bucket list to define your values and design your life.
- Whenever you are happy, simply ticking or adding a few things into your bucket list can make you feel grateful.
- Having a bucket list is like having a travel map to ensure that you stay true to your inner voice, when you are faced with tremendous distractions.
- When you are experiencing challenges and setbacks, simply gazing at your life list give you power.
- Your bucket list is a blueprint of milestones, goals and targets. Sometimes someone may motivate you, but it is always healthy to be able to independently self-motivate yourself and your endeavors.
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How to create your own bucket list?
“A bucket list should not be full of impulsive stuff that we pick up as we go along through life. It shouldn’t be like grabbing a chocolate bar off the display rack.” ~ Tatsuya Nakagawa, the author of Overcoming Inventoritis: The Silent Killer of Innovation
Gently interview yourself. Look deeply into your heart. Search inside yourself.
What is the meaning of life? What is the meaning of life to you?
Everyone has a unique meaning and perspectives of life, though many times we can find similarities.
It is true that when our meanings of life align – even if just partially, it is easier for people to make deep connections and engage in relationships, like Carter and Cole did.
Having similar yet unique meanings of life is just like how we share over 99.9% of DNA, but every human being is unique. Your mission is to discover and develop your own uniqueness, leave your voices and footprints.
The following questions can help you designing your bucket list:
- What are your biggest purposes and dreams?
- What do your childhood dreams really mean?
- What will you do if you have unlimited resources (time, money,relationships)?
- What would you like to say to and do for your loved ones?
- What are your talents?
“Your talent is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God.” ~ Leo Buscaglia
- Whom would you like to meet?
- What would you like to learn?
- Whom would you like to learn from most?
- What places that you want so much to visit?
- What have you always wanted to do but have not done yet?
- What legacies would you like to leave to the world?
- How can achieving your dreams and goals benefit others?
- How can you give more joy to others?
- If tomorrow is your last day of living, what would you deeply wish to do?
- If you were going to leave our planet earth a year from today, what would you do differently?
- If you had three years to create something that change your family, your community, or the world, how would you begin?
- If you were forbidden from accruing vast material wealth, how would you live your life differently?
Each of us is connected in this universe. Often, some things in your bucket list overlap with others’.
When you are young, you may not have the privileges of experience. Learning from the experience of others through direct interactions, books, blogs, podcasts, talks, videos, talks and conferences can widen your horizon and create more possibilities in your life.
You can read ten thousands of books, travel ten thousands of li, and realize ten thousands of dreams. No limit!
The only limitation is you yourself, if you do not free yourself to take the necessary actions.
Therefore, release yourself. Allow your deepest and most sincere heart tells you what your purposes are.
Clarity on your purposes enables you to focus and act on them.
Like a scientist who pursues his or her curiosity in solving a problem of a question, you stand on the shoulder of giant. You refer to people who have designed their inspiring bucket lists. Some things will resonate with you.
You can do anything, but not everything.
Therefore, you must add only things that are meaningful to you into your bucket list. It is always good to prioritize.
Your bucket list needs not be static. Like life, your bucket list is ideally dynamic.
After you have achieved some things, you can add new things into your bucket list. Sometimes, as you travel in your life journey, you may have some significant or subtle changes in your life’s values and attitudes. It is okay to eliminate some things from your bucket list.
Your bucket list can be for your own view only (private) or public. It is up to you, really!
Personally, I enjoy learning about the bucket lists of other people and derive joy from knowing that they dare to dream big and have worked hard to achieve their goals.
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Lists of bucket lists that I love (the list is growing …)
- 101 things to do before die of Alex Beauchamp (19740217-?), once-a-tomboy youthful children-charmer
- Carefully considered and exciting goals of Blake Boles (1983-?), a self-directed learning advocate and author of Better than College
- The Boston startup bucket list
- Science-flavored bucket list by Amber Bullingham (1989-?)
- The Bucket List of Carter Chambers (Morgan Freeman) and Edward Cole (Jack Nicholson)
- 30 before 30 of Charity (1987-?), a professional wedding photographer who loves India & Italy.
- Celestine Chua (198406-?) who practices ignoring news in order to focus on her work
- Summer bucket list of Amy Dooley, a frugal stay at home Mom
- Life list of Marelisa Fabrega, a lawyer, an entrepreneur and a voracious reader
- Jing’s life list
- Bucket list of Ann McElhatton (1982-?), a beach chair scientist
- Life List of The Phoenix
- 30 before 30 of Ai Sakura (198405-?), a working Mom
- fun-loving Bucket list of Jennifer Wong Hok / Jenn Woong (1990-?)
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What to include in your bucket lists?
You can include anything. Don’t worry if others laugh at you, thinking that you are a great day-dreamer or a nut, as long as you never allow your inner judge inside think any less of your goals.
“Anything one man can imagine, other men can make real.” ~ Jules Verne, Around the World in Eighty Days
Some (overlapping) categories of things worth adding to your bucket lists:
- agape love / charity
- romantic love
- relationship / people (including friends, colleagues, customers, bosses, heroes / heroines, the blessed, the less fortunate, everyone)
- contribution / legacy
- learning / talent / creative pursuits
- career / vocation
- milestones / celebrations / festival / events
- health & well-beings / sports
- movies / music / books
- travel / adventure
- nature / environment
- spiritual wealth
- income / material wealth / money
- possessions / gadgets
Over hundreds of things that people want to do in life …
- Love yourself
- Choose to be happy, frame your perspectives positively
- Keep a gratitude journal | Record at least a thing that you are grateful for today
- Know yourself (知己) | Figure out what deeply drives you
- Define your life values & philosophies
- Outline your belief system
- Set your ethical compass | Create your own 10 commandments
- Smile to at least 3 people daily
- Laugh more | Make others laugh
- Praise genuinely | Learn to accept compliment well
- Fall in love
- Decide to love, regardless of your emotional experiences
- Be loved
- Grow old with your loved one
- Go on a blind date, for singles
- Propose / renew your vows in a majestic place | a church / cathedral | the Eiffel Tower
- Be happily married
- Be married again (for widow / widower)
- Keep my virginity until marriage
- a dream wedding : by the beach | by the garden | in the church | underwater
- Renew wedding vows
- Forgive & forget past hurts, unhappiness
- Forgive yourself
- Forgive others
- Build meaningful relationships
- Heal broken relationships
- Acquire conflict resolution skills
- Stand up for yourself
- Tell your Dad and Mom “I love you”
- Treat your parents for special meals, once in a lifetime trip, or a simple pampering
- Be a loving father / a mother | a grandfather / a grandmother | a great grandfather / a great grandmother
- See your children grow up and become independent
- Kiss the tiny toes of your babies
- Kiss the most beautiful girl / the most handsome guy in the world
- A family vacation
- A family reunion with all my siblings
- Attend a school reunion
- Keep in touch with your school friends
- Meet your heroes & heroines : statesmen / stateswomen | sport stars | artists | Nobel Laureates
- Attend an inauguration of a president
- Make a positive difference to the world
- Make someone’s dream come true
- Help those in need
- Help those who cannot help you back
- Help a family in need
- Help a complete stranger for the good
- Don’t wait – but ask for help & support
- Learn at least a new thing well every year
- Learn how to balloon sculpt
- Read to little children
- Read at least a book a week
- Read n books yearly, n can be 20, 52, 100, up to you
- Read over 100 books of classic literature
- Read The Harvard Classics by spending 15 minutes a day for a year & you get the elements of a Harvard liberal education for free!
- Memorize the Periodic Table of Elements through a song
- Pull an all-nighter | Burn the midnight oil
- Complete an online course | over 40 MOOCs
- Pursue a further study
- Earn a college degree
- Attend an Ivy League | a top 10 / 20 / 50 / 100 university
- Enrol yourself in a free Ivy League course online
- Earn a master degree
- Earn an MBA
- Pursue a DIY MBA : yes you can do it yourself!
- Earn a PhD | serve as a professor
- Earn a MD | serve as a medical doctor / physician
- Earn a JD
- Run for an election
- Serve as a Justice of Peace to marry loving couples
- Pursue your passion in literature
- Write a love letter
- Write a heartfelt thank you letter
- Write more thank you notes
- Write a letter to the future | to your future generations | to the world
- Write an article for newspapers | magazines | scientific / research journals e.g. Nature | Science | Harvard Business Review
- Write a poem
- Write a book
- Write a novel of romance | science fiction
- Write a manifesto
- Write your obituary
- Create an infographic
- Post a photo a day
- Write & send a postcard : from every foreign country you have been to | to a Santa
- Send a message in a bottle
- Write codes | Learn programming
- Create computer games
- Embrace ITs
- Practise a no-computer-screen, no mobile-phone period
- Pursue your passion in arts
- Learn oil painting | paint a self-portrait
- Photograph a self-portrait
- Win a photography contest
- Write a song
- Play a musical instrument : guitar, ukulele, drum, piano, violin
- Play in a band
- Sing with a band
- Learn to yodel
- Be a DJ / VJ for a night
- Dance : ballet | folk dancing | salsa | tango | ballroom dancing | belly dance | hip hop | Korean pop
- Busker on a city street
- Perform in front of an audience : sing, deliver a public talk
- Deliver a TED Talk
- Attend a concert / a play | @ Carnegie Hall
- Attend a Broadway musical | watch a musical in London
- Attend a Moulin Rouge show
- Sing at the top of your voice from the peak of a mountain
- Create a documentary of wildlife
- Watch a movie, n movies (n can be let say 100)
- Attend a movie premiere
- Attend an Academy Awards Ceremony | Cannes Film Festival
- Visit museums : The Smithsonians | Louvre | London Natural History Museum | American Natural History Museum | The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao
- Pursue your passion in sciences
- Pursue your passion in sports / martial arts
- Learn wushu / karate / taekwondo
- Learn meditation | qigong | reiki
- Enjoy Now & Here
- Participate in a spiritual retreat (meditation / religious camp)
- Spiritually grow, regardless if you believe in a religion or are an atheist
- Pray daily
- Read the scriptures daily
- Win a contest
- Win a lucky draw | lottery
- Win a competition
- Win a Nobel Prize | Pulitzer Prize | Fields Prize
- Deconstruct failures & learn from them
- Pursue more than one career / profession / vocation to build a unique body of work
- Create a new field of profession e.g. mathemusic as Vi Hart (1987-?) has done by combining her music training and love for maths
- Do an apprenticeship with a master
- Master a craft e.g. carpentry | electricity | plumbing | culinary | baking | photography | videography | cinematography
- Be a chef | be a gourmet cook
- Publish a book of recipes
- Learn to sew
- Knit a scarf
- Be a fashion designer | Design your own fashion & wear them | be your own model
- Do internship | Intern @ a startup | Intern @ a Fortune 500 company
- Join a fast-moving business / innovation team
- Make a life-changing invention / innovation
- Discover a new species
- Ask for a raise / promotion
- Offer your products / services free
- Sell your products / services | hone your sales skills
- Do a job that you love | Love your job
- Work from home
- Start a business | be an entrepreneur
- Be your own boss
- Define your niche e.g. a chef of gluten-free meals
- Create jobs within a fun and supportive working environment
- Market yourself | build an online portfolio | tell your story in 1 minute (100 words), 5 minutes (600 words) | 10 minutes (1000-1250 words) | 1 hour (7000 words)
- Appear in the mass media : the front page of a newspaper | the cover of a fashion magazine | a guest show on the radio | TV show
- Set up multiple income streams
- Earn $n a year, a lifetime; n can be $1million, $1billion or more
- Be a millionaire
- Achieve financial freedom
- Invest in yourself | people | startups | stocks | commodities | properties | gold
- Save money $
- Prepare a will
- Be debt free
- Lend money through Kiva
- Multiple mini retirements throughout life
- Own a perfect black suit | a property | a car | a SUV | a yacht | a Steinway piano
- Live frugally
- Embrace sustainable ways of living
- Donate to abused / orphaned children | an animal shelter | an environmental cause
- Donate $
- Donate 80% of your material wealth
- Donate blood
- Donate hair to Locks for Love
- Donate organs
- Establish a charity trust
- Pay it forward
- Give gifts anonymously
- Give surprise gifts
- Visit an elderly person
- Mentor / tutor / teach others
- Teach a course
- Lead a course / workshop
- Volunteer, do charity work | regularly
- Volunteer 1000 hours
- Be a boy / girl scout leader
- Be a Santa to a needy family
- Save someone’s life
- Deliver a newborn | help deliver a baby | see a birth
- Be a rescuer | learn first aid skills | Be a lifeguard
- Be a bodyguard
- Befriend a stranger
- Plan events
- Organize a party
- Organize a conference
- Organize a ball
- Live by the ocean
- Live in a barn | a caravan | a treehouse | a yurt
- Live in a big city
- Live in a small city e.g. college town
- Create a time capsule
- Be a time traveler
- Travel to the past through ancient poems
- Travel the world including the Grand Tour of Europe | American Dreams | exotic Asia & Africa
- Visit every continent
- Travel to n countries, n can be your age, 30, 40, 50, 100, or more!
- See the Seven Wonders of the World
- Travel to the country of my predecessors
- Explore Antarctica
- Explore the Galapagos Islands
- Travel into the space
- Perform scientific studies at the outer space
- Be a scientist
- Be an astronaut
- Visit national parks : Yellowstone | Grand Canyon
- Visit Palm Jumeirah
- Experience magical Disneyland / Walt Disney Worlds
- Visit a theme park
- Ride a carousel
- Kiss on top of the Eiffel Tower
- Kiss in the rain passionately
- A road trip
- Backpack trip
- Be multilingual / Learn a new language
- Learn sign language
- be in your ideal weight
- Age gracefully
- Quit smoking
- Exercise daily
- Join a gym | Go to the gym regularly
- Practice gymnastics
- Practice yoga | pilate
- Stand on a hand
- Experience a body massage | a foot reflexology | a manicure | a pedicure
- Get a tattoo
- Do a marathon
- Do a triathlon
- Attend a Summer / Winter Olympics
- Join a cheer team
- Watch a football / soccer match in a stadium of your favorite team | at a World Cup
- Witness a volcano eruption
- Go on safari
- See orang utan in Borneo
- Visit a farm | milk a cow | collect eggs
- Scuba dive | appreciate beautiful tropical fish
- See a coral reef
- Skydive like Amruta Deore did
- Air walk / wing walk
- Edge walk at CN Tower Toronto, the tallest free standing building in the Western Hemisphere as of 2014
- BASE jumping | Cliff jumping
- Heli skiing
- ice skate
- Build a snowman
- Soak in a hot spring in Iceland | Japan
- Bath in a mud
- Bungee jump
- Zipline / flying fox
- Fly in a hot air balloon | attend the hot air balloon races in Albuquerque
- Fly a kite as inspired from the movie The Kite Runner
- Fly an airplane | be a pilot
- Fly in a fighter jet
- Fly business class | Fly first class
- Attend an air show
- Ride a train : Trans Siberia | Rocky Mountaineer Train | the Orient Express from Venice to London
- Ride a cable car in San Francisco
- Ride a horse / a pony
- Ride a camel
- Visit the pyramids in Egypt
- Ride an elephant
- Ride a husky sled
- Ride a helicopter
- Ride a Harley Davidson
- Learn to drive a car
- Drive a Formula 1 car
- Drive / Ride a luxurious car : Ferrari / Porsche / Lamborghini
- Ride in a limousine
- Ride in a bus | Sit at the front seat of a double decker
- Do white water rafting
- Row a boat
- Ride in a gondola in Venice
- Punting along the River Cambridge
- Swim in the ocean
- Swim in the winter | do a polar plunge at sub-temperature
- Swim with the dolphins
- Swim with the sharks at the Great Barrier Reef
- Watch whales
- Dive with sharks
- Ride roller coasters | ride every US major roller coasters
- Catch fireflies
- Camp in the forest / jungle
- Enjoy a picnic by the garden / seaside / mountain top
- Catch a rainbow near waterfall | shower in a waterfall
- Let Niagara Falls make you wet
- Glacier hiking in Alaska
- Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru
- Climb a mountain : Mt Everest | the Heavenly Stairs of the Mt Huashan Plank Trail
- Rock climbing
- Climb to the top of a lighthouse
- Climb to domes e.g. the dome of St Peter’s Basilica, St Paul’s Cathedral London
- Climb the Great Wall of China
- Appreciate simple / glorious sunrises & sunsets
- See Northern Light / Southern Light
- See a comet
- Stargaze. Remember the nursery lullaby Twinkle Twinkle Little Star?
- Sleep under the star
- Cherish spring | See and smell blooming flowers : cherry blossoms / sakura | daffodils | lavenders | magnolia | sunflowers | tulips | wisteria
- Plant a tree
- Nurture your own garden | Grow & harvest an edible garden of vegetables / herbs
- Grow bonsai trees
- Grow a flower garden
- Grow your own vegetables
- Care for a pet
- Raise human beings : experience the joy of nurturing a baby, a toddler, a child, a teen, a young adult
- Brew your own beer
- Drink Guinness in a pub in Ireland
- Make your own wine
- Drink ice wine
- Learn wine tasting
- Drink less alcohol
- Abstain from alcohol
- Drink less caffeine
- Drink human breast milk
- Detox | go on a n-day juice fast (n can be 7, 10, 14, 21)
- Eat less meat
- Be a vegetarian
- Try different worldwide cuisines : Indonesian | Thai | Vietnamese | Chinese | Japanese | Korean | Indian | French | Italian | Spanish
- Appreciate diverse vegetables : Limnocharis flava genjer | Diplazium esculentum pakis
- Appreciate diverse fruits : durian | pink guava | strawberries | blueberries
- Appreciate seafood
- Eat caviar
- Eat escargot
- Eat gelato
- Sleep on the grass
- Sleep on the sandy beach
- Sleep in a hammock
- Sleep in a castle
- Sleep in an igloo
- Sleep more
- Sleep less
- Fall asleep in the arm of your loved one
- Wake up by 6am daily
- Celebrate New Years Eve in Times Square
- Celebrate Lunar New Year in China
- Celebrate a white Christmas
- Celebrate a birthday by traveling
- Celebrate a birthday by doing good to others : visit and help an orphanage | a hospice
- Celebrate a Valentine by enjoying home-cooked meals | home-baked cakes / desserts
- Join La Tomatina ~ the biggest food fight in the world
- Tell at least n number of people about your bucket list. n can be 1, 10, 100, 1000, 10000 … Spread your enthusiasm.
- Live meaningfully, happily, healthily until you are over a century | 120 years old | 150 years old
Review your bucket list regularly.
If you feel overwhelmed, perhaps you need to subtract and prioritize what your most important things (MITs) are.
May you be blessed with a kind heart, a healthy body, a sharp mind and never say die spirit!
May your life be always fun & fruitful!
Last updated 20140604