The concept of a bucket list has been around for years. Every generation wants to do amazing things and have incredible experiences, creating a life-long to-do list of possibilities and accomplishments. But I feel like the kinds of things you see on these list has begun to change, or at least the priority levels of different life accomplishments are shifting.
It used to be that the most common personal goals were to buy a house, own a boat, own a fancy car, etc. And now, talking with friends and sharing our goals, those kinds of things are much farther down on the list. Now we talk more about having experiences than owning nice things.
This is actually a fairly well documented change with many now calling the Millennials, “the Experience Generation.” And true, it may be the result of most of us still being in our twenties and thirties with little to no money or responsibilities, but one could argue that economics, expectations and even social media have played a huge role in this shift as well.
Whatever the reason for the change, I’d have to agree — my bucket list is almost exclusively life experiences I want to make sure I have. I suppose in my mind, there is only so much time to do things, where as there is always more time to own things.
That being said, I also wonder if so many people put “owning things” on their bucket list because it is such a specific and achievable goal. You know how much a thing costs and what it takes to acquire it, but an experience might be a bit more complicated to acquire.
This goes back to the important elements of goal setting: the more specific and measurable the goal, the more likely you are to achieve it.
Even just looking at my own list and what I’ve accomplished in the past two years, it’s the very specific things that I’ve gone after, whereas the more general and lofty goals remain unchecked.
My Bucket List (so far):
- Take a yoga class
- Learn to drive stick shift
- Go ziplining
- Try surfing
- Visit a volcano
- Be a mentor for someone
- Get a job promotion
- Have my own vegetable garden
- Learn fluent Spanish
- Participate in a writer’s retreat
- Publish a novel
- Publish a short story
- Send a postcard home from the other side of the world
- Take a selfie with a llama at Machu Picchu
- Visit a friend in another country
- Volunteer in another country
Considering I made this bucket list a year and a half ago, I’m a little embarrassed that I’ve only checked off four things. But what’s more frustrating is looking at this list and realizing how much more I could have on here — and how much more specific I could be with my goals!
I’m going to put some more thought into this list in the coming weeks, particularly as I get closer to my move. I want to find specific trails to hike, mountains to climb, waterfalls to witness and monuments to explore. I want this list to be my guide for the next 50 years of my life. Any free weekend, I want to turn to this list and ask, “What should I do next?” and I want to make it happen.
In closing, here’s me taking a selfie with a llama at Machu Picchu (March 2016).