Creating the Scalable Bucket List

Are the items on your bucket list achievable?

It’s a valid question. Most of us narrowly house only aspirational goals on our bucket list. Goals out of reach until we realize the perfect trifecta of time, money, and health.

I’m not urging we tamp down our dreams. Just suggesting we’d feel more accomplished if we widened our lens to include some nuance and…well…a dash of common sense.

Let me explain.

Instead of thinking, I want to be on the first manned mission to Mars, think, I can visit one of NASA’s centers to determine progress on manned missions to the Red Planet.

Studying the topic (while still on earth) would add meaningful context and extended pleasure. And it’s accessible. Check out the NASA.gov website query page for Mars. You won’t be disappointed.

What Would An Accessible Bucket List Actually Look Like?

The Journal of Palliative Medicine reports that over 3000 patients in a 2017 study chose the primary bucket list themes below.

The list starts with survey participants highest priority themes and shows preference percentages to the right of each goal.

  • the desire to travel (95%)
  • accomplish a personal goal (78.3%)
  • achieve a specific life milestone (51%)
  • spend quality time with friends and family (16.7%)
  • enjoy financial stability (24.3%)
  • complete a daring activity (15%)

Setting themes to a bucket list instead of individual goals can serve as constant provocation for continued exploration. It’s a more approachable way to put yourself on the road to fulfillment.

Here’s a case in point. It’s a way to think about attaching your goals to authentic themes in your life.

Rome, Anyone?

Let’s assume, under the themed bucket of the desire to travel, a trip to Rome was high on the list.

These are a few reasons you’d want to visit the Eternal City in the first place:

  • To see the Coliseum
  • Eat pasta until delirium sets in
  • Climb the Spanish Steps, a traditional meeting place since the early 1700s
  • Catch a glimpse of the Pope in the Vatican

But if you can’t manage a trip now, or if you’ve been there and want to keep the romance going, let’s take this to the next step. Assuming your underlying interests for the trip are:

  • History
  • Architecture
  • Religion
  • Food
  • La Dolce Vita (the sweet life)

Your focal lens has now opened up to an assortment of more available opportunities.

Next Step

This is how to bring substance to your retirement design.

Based on the underlying interests stated above, here are ways to experience Rome without physically climbing the Spanish Steps.

  • Read Edward Gibbon’s invaluable series, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. One of the most famous series of books ever written. Six volumes should keep you busy! (History, Architecture, Religion, Food)
  • Visit Washington, DC to see the influence of Roman architecture in our country’s most recognized government buildings. Here’s a starter-kit article pointing out the comparisons. (Travel, History, Architecture, Food)
  • Learn about and visit the oldest church in the United States, the San Miguel Chapel in Sante Fe, New Mexico. Built between 1610 and 1626, the same year St. Peter’s Basilica opened in Rome. Sunday Mass is still offered each week. (Religion, Architecture, History)
  • Take this free 5-week course on Rome: A Virtual Tour of the Ancient City. (Every underlying reason, including La Dolce Vita)
  • Live La Dolce Vita right here at home. Here’s a list of how you can transform your own life and do as the Romans do!

Imagine where any of these interconnected activities could lead. The only limits are your imagination and the unlocking of your inherent creativity.

Reorganize Your Bucket List With All Deliberate Speed

Why miss out on the enjoyment? And why wait until you’re fully retired to participate?

Postponing gratification isn’t smart.

How many times have you thought? I’ll have to put that on the backburner.

Life gets in the way. Complications arise. The availability of money and time fluctuates.

In Fast Company’s article, How Creating a Better Bucket List Becomes a Blueprint for Living Your Best Life, author, Laura Vanderkam, says, “The biggest payoffs from making a bucket list don’t come from taking great vacations – vacations are great anyway – but for upgrading life’s more mundane experiences.”

It’s a great article with Bucket list hints you could profit from.

Remember These Four Things

  • Most retirees complain about having nothing to do. But the real problem is they don’t know WHAT to do.
  • An achievable bucket list keeps you close to authentic, deeply-held passions.
  • An accessible bucket list keeps you moving forward. Achieving. It can stave off depressive feelings be generated when goals go unmet.
  • Purposeful activity will extend your life and increase mental and physical health.

The truth is, most items on your bucket list should improve your life every day, not your life, one day

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