The Anti-Bucket List Experiment
What to do with the Rest of Your Life
Oxygen Buzz has a love-hate relationship with the bucket list. Too often bucket lists are tied to deep bank accounts—five-star huts on deserted islands or helicopter skiing in the Alps. And then there all those bucket list adventures that require you to be a Navy Seal—parachuting into volcanos and running with bulls. Perhaps most unfortunate, bucket lists have become a cliché for getting older—the idea that we must live large and dangerous before the hourglass empties.
Those disclaimers aside, a good bucket list can be life-changing. A bucket list can keep you curious and engaged, pushing you out of the routine of everyday life and expanding your view of the world. At its heart, a bucket list is a quest for self-discovery, which should start early in life and never end.
It is in this spirit that we unveil Oxygen Buzz’s Anti-Bucket List Experiment. If you’re looking for specific travel suggestions, you’ve come to the wrong place. This is more mindset than guide. Besides, you don’t need to travel the globe to live an uncommon life; you need to live an uncommon life that makes you feel as if you’ve traveled the globe.
Here’s our list of random ideas—something to think about as you create your own bucket list.
The old cliche is true: Life is a journey, not a destination.
You can’t say it enough. It’s far more adventurous to go around the block with eyes and heart wide open than to go around the world with the same eyes you always use. A good bucket list is about being open to mystery and the unknown. This could involve a trip around the world or a trip to the local hardware store. It could happen on a private jet or an old van you take out to the desert. Don’t go further, go deeper and with a promise to connect more to what matters. This is the real journey.
Follow whim and fancy.
People who make lists tend to be very organized. They use nice pens and Moleskine notebooks. I should know, I’m one of them. If you let yourself, it’s easy to let a bucket list turn you into an obsessive planner who maps out and schedules adventures into tidy spreadsheets. But, the best experiences often come with little planning and no cost. They come out of whim and with a need to head somewhere without knowing where you’re going. Or why. Let spontaneity guide your wanderlust dreams. Try it in your neighborhood, on a Tuesday morning, when it’s raining, and you have piles of work to do. And occasionally, throw a dart at a map and go wherever it lands. In other words, make your bucket list an everyday possibility.
Take up something new.
There’s more to bucket lists than rappelling down waterfalls or collecting stamps on a passport. There’s also knitting, gardening, and yoga. I have a friend who just started stand up comedy, which is mind-bogglingly scary. And she’s killing it. The fact is, learning something new should be on everybody’s bucket list. And it’s not about finding a hobby. It’s about staying curious and going places you never imagined. And if that puts you on the stage of a comedy club or at a Samurai sword collecting convention, so be it. Scratch the itch…and follow all those nudges in your gut. You’ll be a lot more interesting. Especially to yourself.
Bring your bucket list closer to home.
Remember, it’s the same glorious moon in your backyard as it is in Maui.
Fill your bucket list with the small and trivial.
Big and bold is great and gets all the headlines. And by all means, climb Mt. Everest if you’ve got the lungs and the cash, but don’t be afraid to master sleep, flossing, or the good bowel movement. There is honor in all. A good bucket list should reflect your desire to improve the quality of your life. And there are all sorts of ways to do that. Find one that works for you. It’s where the true artist lives.
Put YOU in your bucket list.
You can start by donating some of that wise and seasoned blood of yours, and maybe even some of your faithful organs (there is no cutoff age for donating organs). But more than blood and guts, give your time, experience, and wisdom. Become a mentor or volunteer. It won’t cost you a thing. And in the spirit of the new modern elder, choose someone both younger and older to mentor. And while you’re at it, let yourself be led as well.
Go for the big gesture.
Get remarried where you met, take your kids back to their first vacation, throw a surprise party for a third cousin, buy ten people lunch, send flowers to old teachers. Do things that are unexpected and out of the ordinary, but feel like they need doing. Put flair, style, and gratitude into your everyday life, and your everyday life becomes your bucket list.
Try an extreme sport.
At Oxygen Buzz, an extreme sport isn’t extreme because of how dangerous it is, but how out of the ordinary it is to your way of life. That could mean curling, lawn bowling, ballroom dancing, toe wrestling, or sphering (rolling down a hill in a transparent plastic ball). I have extreme ironing on my bucket list—performance art in which people iron clothes in remote locations, like under the water, on mountains, or in the middle of the desert. I don’t know how to iron, but I love the idea. A guy can dream, right?
Explore new terrain.
A good bucket list goes places you’ve never gone before—continents, countries, cities, mountains, rivers, lakes, marshes, deserts, swamps, canyons, bogs, and glaciers. Of course, that new terrain you’re traveling could be a new blog you’re starting, a new career, new friendships. It could be a journey to be more outgoing, brave, fearless, friendly, kind, happy, and healthy. There are all kinds of new terrains to explore. No passport required. Choose one and go.
Crash a wedding (or something).
There’s something beautiful about being where you’re not invited, and then doing your best to feel comfortable and valued. If anyone asks, say you’re with the groom, where the crowd is always sketchier. In short, believe you belong. And extra points if you get caught and thrown out. I’ve done it two times in my life, but I’m making it my thing for 2019. And, of course, even better if you can take the idea of crashing something where you don’t think you belong into other areas of your life. It’s what the bucket list is all about.
Join the Oxygen Buzz community.
We can’t think of anything more impressive than becoming an Oxygen Blazer and brand ambassador for the second half of life. Sign up below. Just jump out of the airplane. It’s a first-class vacation.
Who are we kidding? Ride air balloons. Visit Tuscany. Spend your summer in Bora Bora. Go volcano boarding in Nicaragua. Whitewater rafting in Maine. See the tower of London. Stand in the Sistine Chapel. Swim in the Mediterranean Sea. It’s a big, beautiful world and there’s so much to see and do. Just make sure it’s in your budget and makes sense for your life.
Remember, no matter how exciting or exotic something may sound, the only thing that matters is what inspires you to get up in the morning with excitement, curiosity, and joy. And, quite frankly, almost anything can do that.
Sandi’s bucket list:
Swimming in the Dead Sea
Skiing the Alps
Bill’s bucket list:
Walk the Camino de Santiago
Spend a month in Italy eating pasta
Go back to Baja
What’s on your bucket list? Include in the comments below or shoot us an email. We’ll share in a future post.
Ahhh, all is right with the world at last. Welcome back! I’m so excited for your new ventures and look forward to guest stuff and further wisdom from you all. I’m working on my bucket list…humble given my lack of Big Travel funds, but it’s exciting to figure it out!
Martha, we’re hoping you’ll be the next guest blogger. Your words always inspire. And let’s be honest, your life is a bucket list.
I’m all in! (Not as in exhausted…but as in yessssss!) I’ll be in touch!
Attend Art Basel Miami
Attend Aspen Food & Wine Festival
Get back to San Miguel de Allende
Take a cooking class in Europe with my daughter
Master my Mom’s signature chiffon cake recipe
Finish writing my book
Shari, all I can say is…I want to go to your house for dinner!
Don’t go further, go deeper and with a promise to connect more to what matters. This is the real journey.
The real brilliance is how much you’ve lived this in your own journey, Scott! Thanks for the kind words.
This is a wonderful post! Thank you for the ideas
Thank you for joining us Crystal! Happy to have you along for the journey.
Your Anti-Bucket List Experiment Post really struck a chord with me. Yes, the concept of the Bucket List would benefit from being redefined. My perspective is it’s all too often just another list of places to go, things to do and targeted accomplishments – simply a list of activities to work your way through and check off, potentially lacking any personal meaning or deeper experience. Love the idea of exploring what’s already close to you with deeper insights, closer personal interactions, more meaningful experiences rather than how far, how fast or how much money you can spend.
Thanks for sharing Joe. Good luck in your journey to bring more meaningful experiences into your life! I hope it’s an incredible 2019 for you!
Great uplifting article and insight Bill.
And thank you for being a part of our journey, Margaret. Cheers!
I love that I only have two items on my bucket list and the first one is the same as yours! (Shocker!)
Second item – hot air balloon ride, preferably somewhere really beautiful, like Napa.
Great post! As usual! Thanks Bill!
That and the fact that I am also on day 8 with no sugar! How’s that for a bucket list item! I have only…what…400 or 500 days to catch up to you! And thanks Leslie.
Good Job Bill, Helps to relieve chaos of political stuff.
Bucket: Search for gem quality pieces of California Jade, the beach at Cambria