Back in 2001, I was standing around at work one day, jawing with a couple of friends about things we hoped to do in our lives--trips, adventures, accomplishments, goals. I said, "Why don't we ever write this stuff down?" Thus began my bucket list.
That evening after work, I had a coffee date with a man named Richard. Buying him a latte was my way of saying thank you for him stopping and rescuing me and my broken down car from the side of the highway a few days earlier. I got to Jittery Joe's early, so to kill some time, I took out my journal and scratched out a list of things that I had always wanted to do. I was totally absorbed in the activity by the time Richard showed up. He asked what I was writing and I told him. He pulled out a chair and said, "Let's hear it."
I read it to him and my bucket list became the subject of our first real conversation. We kept on seeing each other after that and because he knew what was on my bucket list, we spent the first few weeks of our relationship crossing off easy items, like "Share a long kiss on a crowded sidewalk" and "Learn some constellations." Richard and I fell in love and crossed even more items off my list, like "Visit the Acropolis" and "Go skinny dipping." Eventually, he became my husband. And a little while after that, I became a widow. So many of our best days had been spent on bucket list adventures. Those memories are rich and sweet--they remind me of how he taught me to venture out into the world, to believe that I had the right to claim adventures of my own.
Here's what I've learned about bucket lists along the way:
Always keep your "bucket" full. My first list had 50 items on it and I keep 50 items on it at all times. After one dream is reached, I add another. Seriously, what's the point in having a bucket list that you can finish? I want to live deeply every day of my life and still die with 50 things left to do!
Fill your bucket list with all manner of items, great and small. Most of us think of the Big Stuff when we think of bucket lists. The first item on mine was "Be Someone's Mother." Done! But I also have stuff on there like "learn to play poker," "camp out for more than one night," "spend a night in the desert to see the stars," "own a cashmere sweater," "read a story in public"...and that simple one about a kiss on the crowded street.