The Reverse Bucket List


By Robin Bush – ISR Communications

As January arrives, traditionally, we think about resolutions, reflect on our bucket list, or even our “someday” list,  but there’s something we might do instead.  What if we focused our energy this year on creating a life of passion and purpose?

As we adapt to transitions in our lives and the world around us, we may feel there isn’t a lot of time left to do radically different, or even somewhat different, things with the life we have.  Do we have the courage to switch direction?  What would we turn to if there were no barriers?  That’s dreaming big.  What if the realities are overwhelming, frightening, and leaving you feeling stuck?  How do you turn those challenges into opportunities?

Have you heard of the Reverse Bucket List?  Instead of the traditional bucket list, which is a list of things we always wanted to do but maybe never did because we thought we couldn’t, the reverse bucket list is a list of all the things we have accomplished in our lives, from the littlest thing that made you feel you made a difference to the big things that you are proud of, where you learned the most, and the people who transformed your thinking or who showed you what caring really means.

You can look at your Reverse Bucket List when you are feeling down or discouraged or in times of great challenge as a reminder that you have a wealth of experiences that have made you who you are and have given you the strength to face whatever comes your way.  Thinking about when you were happiest or most fulfilled reminds you that you might do the same thing again to give your life meaning today.

How do you create your Reverse Bucket List?  Start by writing down who you have impacted, your proudest moments, and the things you are grateful for having done.  In short, appreciate yourself.  Then consider all you have learned and which of those things have become your gifts.  Ask yourself what you fought for and what passions you have followed.  What did you yearn for at different ages and focus on those that came to fruition?  What dreams did you make come true?

The final step is to look at all those accomplishments, passions, and dreams.  Those have given your life meaning.  They are the tall blocks on which you can stand now to more clearly see what you most want to do with the future.  Today, you begin living with no regrets over what you haven’t done because you focus on all you have done and use that for momentum to get out there and do things, even those that might push your comfort zone.  You have proof on your list that you have done it; now do it again.  This is how you thrive during what some call your third act – the time after retirement.  You have the power to ignite your life and live a life of passion and joy, no matter your circumstances.