Death is a part of life. Though none of us want to consider not being here anymore, it is the finite aspect of life that gives it so much meaning. It’s easy to get caught up in the slog of the day-to-day and to forget to appreciate everything that life has to offer. Creating a bucket list is a promise to yourself not to take life for granted—a promise to enjoy your life to the fullest. If you’re ready to make that promise to yourself, here’s the ultimate man’s guide to creating a bucket list.
Keep the List Somewhere Special
There are two kinds of buckets lists in the world. The first is written six shots in on the back of a napkin from your favorite pub and promptly forgotten about the next morning. The second is written with care in a specially designated notebook, wrapped in leather and cherished as the years pass. If you’re looking to create a bucket list that truly means something to you, it’s this second version that you’re going for. Keep your bucket list in a dedicated notebook that means something to you and will be easy for you to locate again and again as the years go by.
Make it Personal
The point of a bucket list is to come up with things that you want to do before you die. It shouldn’t be filled with clichés or with a plethora of things you think you’re supposed to do in your lifetime. Instead, it should be a list of things that will truly give your life meaning, whether that’s going on a real safari in Africa or mastering all the achievements in World of Warcraft. This isn’t a time to be self-critical. Instead, it’s a time to reflect on what it is in your life that makes your really happy and gives your life meaning.
A bucket list is supposed to be a lifetime’s worth of dreams and desired achievements. If you write down everything you want to accomplish and it could be done in a weekend—or even a typical year—you’re probably not pushing yourself hard enough. Don’t be afraid to sit back and think about what would matter to you, not just today but years from now. What experiences will you look back on when you’re eighty years old and cherish? Those are the things that should make your bucket list.
Revisit It Over Time
Often, we think of to-do-lists as stationary items that should be checked off one by one. While it’s true that the ultimate goal is to accomplish everything on your bucket list, that doesn’t mean that you can’t revise it as life continues. Perhaps five years from now you’ll realize that you don’t really care if you scuba dive off the coast of Australia after all, but you really want to publish a novel in your lifetime. That’s okay! As your life changes, it’s natural that your life goals change as well. That’s not a failure: It’s growth, and it’s okay. The most important thing is not what’s on your bucket list, but what it represents: A commitment to make the most of the time you’ve been allotted.
Of course, creating a bucket list does no good if it sits on a shelf for the rest of your life. The goal of the bucket list is to work towards completing the items. So once you have your list in place, pick an item on it and start working towards that goal. Maybe that means you set a little of your paycheck aside each week so that you can afford that cross-country rollercoaster tour or beginning to jog so that you can one day run that 5K. Once you have your list in place, you can decide how best to work towards it. And once you accomplish one goal from your list, check it off and move to the next item. When your time comes, you’ll be proud to know that you made the most out of your life.