top of page
  • Writer's pictureBy April Sage

The Importance of a Bucket List – Let’s Get Started

Compiling a bucket list is a goal that resonates with us all, but who truly has a written list of to-dos they are checking off? I created one about four years ago in a journal, along with my business plan and budget. And as it does with everyone, life happened. The bucket list went to the wayside like all my other lofty goals and someday dreams. It is not that they are no longer important. The reality is life comes first, and I have been having a lot of reality these last few years.

Psychologists suggest the act of creating a list of experiences or achievements a person hopes to accomplish during their lifetime allows them to reflect on their values, goals and identify important milestones while leading to a feeling of accomplishment and fulfillment. This reminds me of a great movie from 2007 starring two older gentleman who set off on a three-month excursion to live out their final days doing amazing things, including jumping out of planes, scaling mountains, and living dangerously on a high note, and money was no object. The movie inspires thoughts about life and what is important. It brings an emotional reaction to the idea that you or someone you love could suddenly have no time left. For many I meet, their current situation is an adjustment to what they believed life would be, and it’s far from a dreamy list.

I believe everyone should have a bucket list regardless of their age, ability, or access. It is inspiring to dream of ideas and adventures that make your heart feel full. Envisioning the journey can turn a mundane day into an afternoon Google search about how to hike Mt. Olympus, the age limit for skydiving, where to ride a horse on a beach at sunset, or where to search for Bigfoot.

What inspired me about the bucket list idea is it is not limited to an extreme or colossal event. It can be a bonding experience between a caregiver and a loved one, husband and wife, grandchild, or child with their person in almost any scenario. Talking about a bucket list can open conversation, solicit new discussions, inspire stories of the old days, and bring about happy thoughts and memories of previous lives that are fun to talk about. The discussion can bring about new stories and entertaining conversations. Remember, this can be used as an imagining tool, too. Even if the stories are not completely factual, that is OK. We do not have to be the truth police - just a great listener. Even if there is not one item checked off the list, making the list is great fun. For those with memory issues working on this list can inspire a new list each time. They may not recall the original list, but they will have fun.

Starting a bucket list, especially with an older loved one, does not need to be difficult. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Make suggestions: It is highly likely you will need to encourage them to think outside the box and expand their current scope of reality. You could prompt them by asking them about their favorite hobbies or memorable travels. You can ask them what they always wished they had accomplished and modify the idea. For example: when was the last time you went to a fancy seven-course dinner where they make the Caesar salad at your table? Wouldn’t that be fun”?

  • Get Creative: They might only consider going on a car ride to get a sundae at McDonald’s and driving back home. Don’t get frustrated. Try to encourage imagination and creativity. Maybe they always wished to ride a horse, but you are concerned at their age they cannot physically ride anymore. There are disabled persons horse therapy stables who understand the situation and will have the approach and the tools to help anyone interact with a horse meaningfully.

  • Start with what you know: Consider what you know about them, who they are, or who they were if you are competing with a disease. For example, I love live music and have seen a lot of music, but there is still much to see! If this were my exercise, I would break out the Ticketmaster App or Bands in Town App and start researching what bands are coming to town. Inspiring discussion from there, even if the one completing the exercise is not a music buff.

  • Keep it simple: Their request might be simple like a crafting day and tea party with all 15 grandchildren. Craft supplies, coloring books, an old tea set, finger sandwiches, and a little decor can go a long way.

Creating a bucket list is a great way to connect and get excited about doing things with your loved one. Try it out! Next time you visit your loved one, who certainly does not have to be an older or elderly person, get out your notebook! Tell them about the bucket list concept. Urge them to reach deep and talk about the things they want to do. Be creative, and if you are not creative, recruit someone to help you with ideas, planning, and approach. Making these memories will be a gift to all who participate. Just for the record, I researched if you can skydive disabled, and it says you need to be in shape - age is not a factor.

0 views0 comments


bottom of page