In 2000, when one of my best friends (lets call her Aidan), was on a sandwich year in the USA but felt like she was just ‘bobbing along’ the two of us came up with the idea to make a ‘bucket list.’ It started as a casual conversation but we became determined to make it to 100, and alongside the list there was a strict rule set:
- It had to be something both of us actually wanted to do
- It had to be something neither of us had already done
- It had to be ACTUALLY achievable, ie ‘reach Everest base camp’ instead of ‘climb everest’, ‘raise a child’ instead of ‘have a child’ just incase one or both of us runs into fertility problems…
- The list can be reviewed every 5 years with anything we both agree on removing, that neither of us has already done can be removed from the list, and new things added to keep it at 100 – this way the hope is we will always actually want to do things on the list. Although if the other person has already done it and then you go off it…. a bit of a bummer…
It was extremely hard to actually make it to 100 things using those criteria and the quality of our suggestions distinctly deteriorated towards the end of the list. Last year we had our first ‘redo’ of the list and needless to say it was even harder to fill the spaces we created with our purge. Much harder than taking off things we didn’t want to do! I think we limited to changing only 5 things but I can’t remember if we decided to stick to this rule or not.
It would be easy enough to write a similar list of things you have actually done (but quite fun to do this if you need a bit of a booster, I did this with my mum to show her she actually had done quite a few pretty cool things in her life.) And I definitely think writing a list as one person would be easier to hit the 100 but also I don’t think it would be as fun – there are things on the list that I never would have thought to put on mine but that I have really enjoyed doing/am looking forward to doing.
It might seem like a cliché or something that has become a bit of a fad, but I wanted to write this post to celebrate the positive impact making this list has had on my life. I hope that Aidan has had a similarly positive experience, although I fear she may not have been quite as doggedly attached to completing and recording our list related exploits as I have become!
This blog post is blog post number 10. Significant because on the list is ‘write a blog with at least 10 posts’. I can’t remember which of us suggested this, but I do know that it was only the fact it was now on this list that made me actually go out and pic a site to start actually writing. And for this I am very thankful, even if I am only wittering away to myself, I am enjoying blogging, and take something positive from every post (at least that is my aim, I have only had one that I didn’t feel completely satisfied with so far.)
There are quite a few other things that I wouldn’t have actually forced myself to do had it not been on the list:
- I ran a marathon! And I was 100% dedicated to my training schedule (mostly out of fear) despite that fact that i spent the 6 weeks leading up to it travelling around Europe. This was a bit of an inconvenience but gave me some amazing experiences such as a 16 mile run through field of sunflowers in the outskirts of Geneva, a 20 mile run doing a few laps around Lake Bled in Slovenia, and an array of runs through the countryside surrounding the stunning Plitvici lakes in Croatia. Some extremely happy memories, that fill me with a sense of peace when I look back at them.
2. I told a boy I liked that I liked him. It may not sound like much but the criteria of this were that you had to really be completely unsure of whether or not the recipient was interested or not – the aim was to be forward and put yourself out there in a vulnerable place. Not only would I not have done this had it not been on the list, I only did it because Aidan had already done it so I knew there was no way of taking it off the list and the perfect opportunity presented itself. This memory does not fill me with happiness and peace, it mostly fills me with cringyness and some pride, depending on whether i think of it in the abstract (pride!) or the details… (massive massive cringe).
Both of us were rejected. Aidan I definitely feel had it easier. Not only did she do it just before she flew home from the USA – potentially never having to see this person again, or possibly even be on the same continent… but she was also acting under the influence of alcohol. And although she was rejected, we are pretty sure the guy is gay. I on the other hand was STONE COLD SOBER, and did it when i knew i had to work with the guy for another 8 months. And i wasn’t leaving the country. And I’m pretty sure he isn’t gay.
I have to say, despite the cringe, it was kind of liberating, we both did it at the point where we had been flirting for months, many friends/colleagues already assumed that something was going on, and we just felt that we would rather know they weren’t interested so we could stop wondering and just move on. I was so proud of myself at the time that I didn’t even feel gutted about the rejection for a fair few days. Quite an achievement really and I would recommend it. Its freeing.
3. We spent an entire day making balloon animals. Totally random, but so much fun, and such epic photographs…
4. I spent 18 months trying to learn how to juggle. Yes that’s right… 18 months – which also included the time in europe. I did gain the ability to juggle for a very short about of time, very unreliable. Mostly I was just a massive liability who shouldn’t be allowed to touch juggling balls in the proximity of breakables. Or maybe humans/general objects. Or probably just shouldn’t try to juggle. Aidan was in charge of deciding when this was ‘completed’ as we get to be the judge of whether the other person deserves to tick each thing off the list, and she essentially let me cross it off for effort. Effort and the fact she couldn’t take being around me trying to juggle any longer. (See top photo…)
I could continue to ramble on about all the other things we have done, such as going to Dans Le Noir in london (google it and go, this was such an amazing experience), going on cooking classes, paintballing, hot-air ballooning, the list goes on. But I feel this is a good snippet of the positive effect of the list, and yet again it is past my bedtime!
So hope you enjoyed,