My Reverse Bucket List

A bucket list is supposed to be the checklist of things you “swear you’re going to do before you die.”  The concept was made into a 2007 movie. There’s even a bucket list social network designed to help you keep track of your to-dos and kick-start your efforts. But the other day a friend told me she had begun keeping what she’s calling a reverse bucket list. It’s a list of all the things she’s thrilled to have already done. I love the idea, and so I am hereby borrowing it. (Thanks Mary Anne!) In honor of Thanksgiving, I’m starting my own reverse bucket list.

In no particular order, here are the first entries on my list:

  • Raising a child
  • Kissing a woman
  • Falling in love
  • Writing a book
  • Acting in professional theater
  • Daring to make my first speech
  • Working on a newspaper
  • Taking a break from my career to study creative writing
  • Traveling
  • Breaking plates on the floor of a Greek restaurant in appreciation of the waiters’ dance
  • Being treated to a romantic birthday weekend on The Plaza in Kansas City
  • Walking a path through the cathedral quiet of the redwoods
  • Backpacking on the shore of Lake Superior
  • Whale spotting
  • Taking a cruise
  • Making my living as a writer
  • Working at home, setting my own schedule, being my own boss (oh yes!!!)
  • Singing on stage in front of a genuinely appreciative audience
  • Going to college
  • Teaching at a university
  • Being an insider on a political campaign
  • Standing in the chamber of a House of Representatives and watching laws being made
  • Studying martial arts and doing katas
  • Practicing Zen
  • Being part of a community and feeling like I’m surrounded by friends
  • Hanging out with other writers and talking enthusiastically about how we write
  • Making sculpture
  • Living surrounded by art
  • Writing a syndicated column
  • When he was young, going to my son’s baseball games, football games and band festivals, even the ones where we were shivering in plunging temperatures
  • Now that he is grown, visiting my son in California
  • Grinning at just about every concert I ever attended
  • Dancing so long and hard that afterward I looked like I’d gone swimming
  • Laughing
  • Laughing some more

That’s the beginning of my list. What do you put on yours? What are you thankful for having already done?

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18 Responses to My Reverse Bucket List

  1. I thought for a minute you were going to propose a list of those things we’ve decided we don’t have to do (like, in my case, jumping out of an airplane with a parachute) or do again (wear high heels)! But that’s probably a bit snarky, though I confess to a great deal of relief every time I say, “You know, I don’t care if I ever do that” about something someone else is gushing about. There’s a relief to deciding that you don’t have to do certain things to live a full life.

    I won’t take up the comments section with my whole list (especially since I’m in the middle of a complex assignment and need to save most of my thinking for that), but here are a few:
    Karate training
    Aikido training (which I probably wouldn’t have done but for the karate)
    Figuring out that I can write fiction
    Going to Clarion West (fiction writing workshop)
    Living in Washington, DC
    Oh, and laughing. You’re definitely right about the laughing.

  2. dianesilver says:

    Hey Nancy, we’re talking goodness here, not snark. I like your list. And of course, my creative writing study was at Clarion East, back at the dawn of time when it was the only Clarion. Hey, and I forgot to put “attending WisCon” on my list.

  3. I love this idea.

    Yes, laughing.
    Raising not just any child, but Jessica.
    Martial arts–we could be the dynamic trio!
    Making my living as a writer for 15 years.
    Finally figuring out what my life is about.

  4. dianesilver says:

    Good point about raising the child, and yes, I wouldn’t have it be anyone else but Tony. And, Jennifer, what’s this about finally figuring out your life? Well done.

  5. Traveling while I still have my health
    Buying my dream house
    Realizing I always want to have a dog living at my house
    Owning a Miata. Oh, heck, I’ve owned two!

  6. I love this idea!
    Ihope it’s alright, but I did my own over at my blog (crediting your blog for the discovery of the idea of course!). Here it is: Reverse Bucket List

  7. Alisa Bowman says:

    I am so glad Jennifer brought my attention to this post. It was just what I needed to read today and in this very moment. I am thankful for so many things that I’ve already done with my life. I’m thankful that I learned how to meditate. I’m thankful that I married my husband and had our daughter. I’m thankful for 6 billion things I’ve done with my career, including writing Project: Happily Ever After (my first solo authored book). I’m thankful for all of the wonderful friendships I’ve made, and especially for the new ones I’ve forged just in the past year. I’m thankful for learning how to forgive.

  8. Love this post and thread! I’m grateful I:

    Decided to go out on a date with my future husband because “why not, no one else is asking me right now!”
    Had four kids with him even though some people thought I was nuts to have that many.
    Found my birth mother when I was 35 — one of the best decisions I ever made.
    Have successfully nurtured a life that includes that man, those kids, that mother (and others), and carved out a writing career I love.

  9. Oh, I love this. I’m going to borrow your idea and post on my page. I’ll use your link. Great idea. My reverse bucket list is huge.

  10. Suebob says:

    This must be one of those great-minds-think-alike kinds of things, because I wrote a post about it:
    http://redstapler23.blogspot.com/2010/10/whats-off-my-life-list.html

    And then I found out Dave from Blogography had written about it years before. I also invented the “Raven Life List” for things you’ve done once and never want to do again – stuff like throwing up on a public bus, etc…
    http://redstapler23.blogspot.com/2010/10/new-life-list-possibility.html

    I love the reverse life list idea WAY more than the bucket list.

    • dianesilver says:

      Thanks to all for the comments. To be clear, I never said I invented this or even that my friend invented this. I just pat myself on the back for knowing what to borrow. Thanks Suebob for the links. I also believe in giving credit.

      What I’m really loving in all of these lists is the fact that they’re celebrations of our lives. It’s not just what we’ve done, but who we’ve been, and that is a very good thing, indeed.

  11. Pingback: On Thanksgiving, Assessing My Reverse Bucket List

  12. Pingback: Navdeep's Reverse Bucket List and thoughts on being a dad, and being thankful on thanksgiving

  13. Linda Herzberg says:

    Thanks for posting the Reverse Bucket List. Mine are:
    Finding unconditional love
    Raising 3 1/2 children (my brother is the half)
    Going back to school
    Working with children
    Finding Unity of Lawrence
    Great friends
    Having an Ablasion so that I can live my life more freely

  14. Paul Endress says:

    I love the “reverse” bucket list concept. Thanks for sharing yours!

  15. Pingback: Navdeep’s Reverse Bucket List | NavdeepSinghDhillon

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