Creating a bucket list is sort of a morbid practice if you think about it hard enough. “Which things do I want to do before I kick the bucket and call it a day on this planet?”
I’ve always strayed away from thinking about it too much. I’ve also historically conflated a bucket list with goals. Being a goal-oriented person who has sat down and spent time on this sort of thing in the past… haven't I already made a bucket list?
Then, my wife and I started talking about bands we wish we could have seen in concert before they either broke up or members died. I had never really considered that artists I listen to today might not tour in the future.
”What’s one band you’d regret not ever seeing in person?”
After a few minutes, the answer came to me: Bon Iver. I’m not much of a concert-goer, but Bon Iver is the one band I’d really want to see in concert. About an hour later, we bought tickets to see them in Amsterdam in 2022.
And that got me thinking, what other things would I truly regret not doing?
The list can’t be too long — or else it becomes bloated with things that actually don’t belong there.
I also like the idea of adding things to the list that are slightly unreasonable. If you're following the SMART goals criteria, goals have to be attainable. But what if you want to do something that may not be realistically attainable? Is there a place for those sort of things?
Some things are the result of a favor, right-time-right-place, an exception to the rule, or an insane amount of money. It doesn't mean you're crazy for wanting to do those things, it just means they're not a good fit to be on your list of goals. But a bucket list? That's the perfect place. Your bucket list doesn't need to be measurable, relevant, or time-based. It can be whatever you want.
So in the spirit of manifest destiny and making your own luck, here's what my work-in-progress bucket list looks like.
When I think about the most exhilarating, once-in-a-lifetime experience, I think about flying (or being flown) in a fighter jet. Altitude, g-force, the freedom of the sky. Fighter jets are the fastest vehicles on earth. They're the closest thing I'll ever have to living a Star Wars fantasy. I've always said that if I didn't go into business, I would have gone into the air force. This is definitely the "slightly unreasonable" bucket list item as it would require some sort of connection or favor from someone. It's not every day you get to fly in a military fighter jet. If anyone wants to know what to get me for Christmas (and you have an extra $4,500 laying around), you can actually buy a 1-hour fighter jet flight gift certificate...
This has been a dream of mine since I was 15. Even though I consider myself a practicing Christian, I've never been baptized. Why? I'm holding out for the Jordan River. John the Baptist baptized people in the Jordan, including Jesus. It's an immensely historical place and holds a lot of meaning to me for some reason. I anticipated doing this when I was 18 and old enough to make a pilgrimage out to Israel, but then life happened and I still haven't made the trip.
My wife and I love animals and have been regulars at zoos and animal sanctuaries. Still, there's nothing like the wild. Africa is also home to some of the scariest animals to me personally: lions, hippos, and crocodiles. But I also have a soft spot for rhinos — one of my favorite animals on the planet. Given that they're on the brink of extinction, I'd love to see one in person in the wild while I can.
There isn't a single country in Europe that I don't want to see. I'd love to see it all, although this is a tall order. My wife and I have made some of our favorite memories traveling and it's a part of life that I love spending money on. Learning the history, eating the food, touring the landmarks and experiences — every city has it's own unique story and experience to offer.