If You Don’t Have A Bucket List Now, You’ll Hate Yourself Later

Do you have a bucket list?

I’m not talking a mental idea of things you want to accomplish this year—I mean a real list written down somewhere that you can review and SEE.

There is a mysterious power that comes by writing (be as specific as possible) and consistently reviewing your dreams. Somehow they magically seem to become realities.

Try it. I dare you.

Why a bucket list?

—It gives you something to look forward to.

—It creates treasured memories.

—It is fun to plan.

—It usually involves friends.

—It is good to try new things.

—It shatters the mundane.

—And most importantly, you are not dead when you’re being alive!

My Bucket List for 2011:

  • Run & Finish the Phoenix Marathon (26.2 miles) in January.
  • Climb Mt. Harvard this summer. A fourteener in Colorado. It is the third highest mountain in Colorado, and also the fourth highest mountain in the Contiguous United States.
  • Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu with my Peruvian friend Francis Carlos Castaneda. One of the seven wonders of the world.
  • Begin planning for a March 2012 thru-hike of the Appalachian trail (2,175 miles from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Mt. Katahdin, Maine)
  • Go on an Eco-Adventure Trip on the Amazon in Ecuador in March, 2011.
  • Step foot on every continent in the World except Antartica.
  • Learn how to distinguish and identify red wines by varietal while blindfolded.
  • Taste a new national cuisine. (i.e. Cochinillo Asado —Roast Suckling Pig from Spain)
  • Read War & Peace by Tolstoy
  • Improve my watercolor paintings to another level and sell my most expensive commission. (Over $1,000)
  • Write another book. (My fifth—I have the title!)
  • Have a reciprocal conversation and coffee with someone I greatly respect (i.e. Ben Folds, Philip Yancey, President George W. Bush)
  • Obtain a concealed weapons permit and become an expert marksman (crazy, I know-but I want to)

These are a few of the items on my bucket list this year. I’m serious about doing them.

The idea is not necessarily to complete them and check them off the list, the goal is to be fully alive and present while I’m doing them.

What is one item on your bucket list?

By randy

Encouraging people to find out who they are so they can live their lives fully.

85 replies on “If You Don’t Have A Bucket List Now, You’ll Hate Yourself Later”

Wow. Your list makes my little one pale in comparison.

1. Finish a second novel-length fiction book.
2. Contact at least half a dozen people who are speaking on a regular basis to ask them advice on how to begin a speaking ministry.
3. Obtain at least one speaking engagement.
4. Attend at least one writer’s conference and/or one speaker’s conference.
5. Lose at least 50 lbs. as part of a healthier diet & exercise

All of that by keeping front and center a belief that God is calling me to this and that He is with me.

“The idea is not necessarily to complete them and check them off the list, the goal is to be fully alive and present while I’m doing them.” Ah Yes!! That’s the Key!!

I’m thinking I need to have just one thing in my bucket this year – “To be fully alive and present in all that I do!”

Thanks for the inspiration!

Okay, I’m in. Admittedly, my list is on a smaller scale, but, it’s a start for a little miss much afraid. Thank you Randy!

1. Earn a college degree (started 2 years ago at 50, still working through Jr. College)
2. Start a blog in January (this terrifies me which is part of the reason I want to do it)
3. Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge (Not one for heights; this would be a mini adventure)
4. Go to Italy (always wanted to do this)
5. Learn to dream and stop being so stinkin’ anal rententive

A few of mine are:
– Take a spiritual retreat alone (no husband, no kids)
– Raise at least one chicken from 1 day old to egg producing
– Make a doll for my daughter from scratch
– Exercise at least 2 days a week
– Post twice a week on my blog

My husband and I have talked about owning goats next year, but I’m not convinced I want “Learn how to kid a pregnant goat” as one of my goals. ;)

One notch more serious. A REAL Bucket List…as in “kicking the bucket.”

Docs tell me the stats. Probably five, maybe ten years (Prostate Cancer). Yahoo! Least I know; most have to guess. A narrowed and definitive window to Walk With God, love my wife more and better, family and freinds, too. Rest of the bucket list gets less important, less urgent. Funny how the urgent “geterdone…NOW!” list is so much shorter.

Yes, The Book(and speaking on Generational, and the Elk hunting trip as a passage rite for the olderst two grandsons, finishing the personal testimony tract–AND using it.

Rest of the list is in 8 point type. Long term legacy stuff tops that list. Like maybe a trip to India with four grandkids so they know the world is bigger and poorer than they thought. A visit to the Cameron Clan homeland in southcentral Scotland. Short term semi-legacy stuff like, magazine articles and blogs galore, return to Alaska with whole family( and revisit a Ketchikan high-lead logging site of my youth) and take the family by train to Denali, one sky dive (not toooo short a legacy, I hope), my Wheaton College 50-year class reunion, maybe one more beach honeymoon with my still-beautiful, still-alluring and fun bride. That’s a pretty full five years.

Bonus time will be spent hardening the foundation of our grandchildren’s future as lighthouses for the dark generations of the future, maybe pitching in with daughter and son-in-law’s dream ranch for intensive full-family therapy.

@Gary Taylor, Ah, a great list, Gary. Just a positive comment and I know it is different for everyone. The doctors gave my father-in-law a similar prognosis (5-7 years at best) with prostate cancer and he is now in his 14th year and still in remission. He did a short term 5 year list and has had to greatly elongate his list.

He is happy he did all the things he did during those five years, and he is thankful to still be enjoying life!!


I LOVE your thoughts on life.

Love your list! The one thing on my bucket list is to compete in a barefoot water ski tournament this summer. I just got back on the water this year– 26 years after becoming deaf from a fall while barefooting. Feels good to be back.

Inspired by yours, I’m off to expand my bucket list!

1) Gonna get a bucket

“Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” James 4:13-15

When I started working in full-time ministry just out of college, our boss made us take the DISC personality inventory. One thing I learned about myself was that I’m most frustrated in a job setting where I don’t have adequate resources to accomplish something.

The same goes for life.

I have consciously chosen not to create a bucket-list for myself, because I’m accepting that my (and my husband’s) lifestyle and career choices mean that we probably won’t have adequate resources to accomplish some of what may be on said list. I think of writing one, then I think I’m setting myself up for failure because we’d probably give our time and resources to other things…. So why set myself up for disappointment, OR for being “selfish” (as I’d see that list being)?

Granted, if you were to look me in the eyes and ask me if I have something in life I dream of accomplishing, I’d say yes:
1) be a songwriter
2) be a mom

Right now, the first feels more achievable than the second, because the first takes much less financial resources than the second. But, that’s another conversation for another day. The first also feels like the most selfish thing I can do. While the second feels like the most selfless thing I can do. And I want to do both.

At the end of the day, I guess I do have a bucket list.

@mandythompson, Oh yeah! You do have a list. you are a dreamer.

And nothing on my “completed” list seemed feasible to me in my younger years of poverty called ministry. But the great thing about a list like this—is it can be a life list. Not just next year.

As my good ‘ole Mom once told me, “Honey, if you wait until you can afford a baby, you’ll probably never have one.”

I think there is a lot of wisdom in that.

@Randy, I couldn’t agree more with your mom, Randy… It’s not finding room in the budget for diapers and baby food that’s stopping us. It’s infertility. It’s scraping up enough savings (on two “poverty” ministry incomes) for adoption. It’s accepting that some dreams are easier for some than for others. And for taking what’s been given, and being grateful for it. Thankfully, I’ve found resolution. And resolve. :)

Not for 2011, but on my lifetime bucket list ~ I wanna get a pilot’s license…I wanna fly :)

@Randy Elrod, I also have friends and family who are pilots..I’ve already flown an ultra-light..It’s the most incredible feeling…

I have to say, though, I believe in bucket lists so much that they almost scare me…There are times that a feeling comes over me about something and I’m almost afraid to acknowledge it, because I know it will happen…I hesitate even saying that, because it sounds like I’m crazy or superstitious (I’m not)…Wish I could explain that better, but I hope I made some sort of sense…

Recently, I made a list of things on facebook that I had already accomplished…Not to brag, but to see that incredible things can really happen…Skies the limit (pun intended;)

I think you have the ben folds one in the bag :)

I have just started working on one myself with the encouragement of Shaun King. He has a great 100 life goals list and it motivated me to do the same.

Here are a couple of thing I will share that I want to accomplish in 2011:
-Read a book a week
-Give away a one time gift of $1000 to an organization
-Start a watch collection
-Find someone a job
-Go on a tour with a band

Just a couple of several that I am wanting to accomplish.
thanks for the reminder.

Great thoughts. My wife and I were just talking about some goals for 2011 yesterday which definitely could turn into bucket list items for 2011:

1. Take the family on a vacation – we haven’t been on an official vacation in quite awhile, unless a mission trip counts.
2. Hike more this year. There are plenty of great trails right here in southeast MO for us to adventure onto.
3. Visit Peck Ranch Conservation Area – especially after the elk restoration program is under way.

Just a couple ideas to get us started.

Thanks for the thought.

well Ben lives on your street, so you should just invite him to coffee. ;)

i read the title of the blog a day ago and began to ponder my list, and one thing came to mind.

I want to play a show at Historic Gruene Hall in Gruene, TX

there are other things, but that would be something that would mean a great deal to me. that said, i am working on my list and i’m very jealous of yours.

Nice post and some nice lists (I may steal a few ideas!). I’ve been thinking about this for a while & right now I’m focused on…

– Entering & placing in the top 3 of an amateur Longboard surfing contest. (training in TN is tough!) :)

Merry Christmas Dude!

Thanks for the reminder. I posted a list on my blog last year ( ) and really enjoyed having something to refer back to during the year. In some cases I don’t think I was specific enough, but I did accomplish several things on the list to varying degrees.

I’ll be working on this year’s list over the next week, but one thing I know will be on there: A Father/Son trip with my middle child. I did this with my oldest when he turned 12 and it was a great experience.

Thanks, Randy, for always inspiring with your posts!


I need more time cause I just started thinking about this…..but a few things come to mind immediately:

1. See “A Worshipful Life” translated into Spanish and used in Spanish speaking countries.
2. Lose 25 pounds.
3. Finish my book for ministry and church leaders on leading through brokenness. I would love to see it published but that’s another goal.
4. Successfully lead a multi-church missions group to Guatemala.
5. Improve my Spanish.
6. Take a fun trip with my entire family. We don’t have much time together.
7. Find a true church home – find my place of service here in the US as well as abroad.
8. Go back to Hawaii and get my first tattoo (my own custom design) at Blue Hawaii Tattoos.

Ok, here’s mine:

– grow our family
– Make solo album no.3 a worship album
– Absolutely nail the tactical delivery of our business strategy for and see a step change in our growth despite the UK economy
– start an e-commerce business as a equipment / apparel side venture to and
– get good at the drums
– do a half marathon
– visit a new country (already done your continent one Randy! :-)

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