A strange and unexpected thing happened to me. I am running out of bucket lists. I will explain my situation and ask you to send me your ideas. Maybe this post will inspire you to write or modify your own bucket list.
Guess my surprise
I am sufficiently perplexed not to offer you further reading links today. At age 45 I am running of bucket lists. When I looked into my latest list, it was hundreds of lines long, yet no line in it was screaming to me “DO IT NOW!”. Instead, I could vividly visualize each experience and I did not want to turn the idea into action.
Here are some examples of more ridiculous ideas I once had:
- Drastically loose weight. Will not happen, and the mere thought about it is dangerous. The only way to lose a lot of weight without gaining it back is an operation, which can have unpredictable side effects. I might start losing weight slowly, but the effect will be seven years from now.
- Consume a capsule that covers poo in gold. I am a rebel, and this is a very personal way to rebel against the values of our consumption-driven society, with potential Instagram moment. Probably I could get such a capsule for 80USD, as they are occasionally sold. While creative, I still think that the idea is too ridiculous to try and somewhat disgusting.
- Get a boatload of money. Not sure I will ever get rich, as I simply am not motivated by money. Once I thought that would be a great achievement, but now I understand it would fill my life with anxiety and emptiness unless I create boatloads of value for others. I might get lucky, but this is a lottery.
Things that are in my bucket list for 20 years.
Not all of the ideas in my bucket list are stupid. Some simply can wait for the right time. Here are some:
- Get a master qualification in scuba diving. This one is 30 years in my bucket list. I never scuba dived. Two things are stopping me from scuba diving. I am afraid of water and I hate putting clothes I did not buy in a wet and stinking room. Both limitations are not extreme provided I have a strong incentive. If my family would focus on diving, I could join.
- Learn certain languages, for example, Japanese and Arabic. Tried to learn Japanese a couple of times, did not even try to learn Arabic. The desire is there, but I am simply not sufficiently motivated. While knowing yet another language is cool, the return on investment does not appear that promising.
- Complete a triathlon. This is taking all of my fears into one focal point. Every coach would be delighted to see me through such a monstrous challenge, but I cannot imagine gathering enough resources. Maybe a decade from now…
- Visiting all 6 continents. The next in line: go to South America and dance every night in a different club, go to safari in Africa and watch a sunrise on the Mount Kilimanjaro. Both ideas sound very cool, and some of my friends enjoyed this immensely. All big travel ideas are very cool. The problem is very practical. I take one or two travels per year, and I love to be comfortable when I travel. My wife does not want even to hear about exotic locations, so I will go to some very civilized place once again.
My first bucket list
I started to generate bucket lists when I was 9 years old. As I was reading about history and geography, I started dreaming about certain places and activities. I did not think I could achieve my goals, but within 16 years all items on the bucket list were achieved due to immigration and hard work. These things were somewhat exotic in USSR, but are extremely commonplace in Israel.
- Live in a warm country where it never snows. I really hated snow as a child: it was cold and slippery, and I was often sick in winter. I learned to love snow when I was 20 years old.
- Learn English to the level of fluency. This was my dream when there was no decent English teacher in my town.
- Become fluent in three languages and speak all of them every day.
- Visit the dead sea, the coral reefs, the ruins of a 3000 years old city, the holy places. Achieving all aspects of this particular item took less than a week.
- Work on a secret assignment as a military officer. A very stupid childish dream. I still have conflicting feelings about the entire thing.
- Acquire a Ph.D. at the age of 25. This was one of the hardest things on any of my bucket lists. I was very focused on this particular achievement, and my motivation was overwhelming.
When I was 25 years old, I had a very different bucket list. Basically I wanted to give voice to my creativity and gain some bragging rights. I enjoyed every item in this list, and my kids are proud of me achieving them. While great and inspiring experiences, all of these ideas were profoundly useless. With all the bragging rights, I never felt especially talented or inclined to brag.
- Publishing my poems. I wrote several poems as a child and I simply wanted to get them published. At some point, I met a composer on a ski trip. He offered to write music and record some of the poems while finding me a publisher for the rest of it. After two years I had 2 books and an album with 12 songs. They did not become popular or make me famous, but their making was one of the best experiences in my life. I did not write poems since.
- Getting patents. Since my degree is in electrical engineering, it is only natural that one of my biggest inspirations was inventing something. Some of my uncles were inventors, and I inspired to invent something and ensure my invention by patents. For the first 10 years of my career, I did not have this chance. Then I started working as a patent editor intern and writing patents became easy. I wrote about 20 patents for others before I got my first patent. Having many patents looks good on a resume, but I did not revolutionize anything.
- Creating my own company. This was easy to accomplish but had serious consequences which almost ruined me. Most businesses lose all of their owner’s money and then some during the first 3 years of existence. I closed my first business after 10 years at breakeven point. Gained some weight and lost some hair in the process.
- Learning to paint. I love arts but did not really have the aptitude for it before I was 25 years old. Eventually, I got some materials to work with and started painting. It was great therapy and a lovely experience, equally physical and spiritual for approximately 5 years. After 100 paintings, I started to give some of them to my friends. At 140 there was no physical place for more paintings. I had an exhibition, left some of the paintings on the walls at my home and my parents’ home, and stored the rest of them in long-term storage. Never touch paints since.
Having peak experiences
In 2007 I watched “Bucket list” the movie and decided there are certain peak experiences which I MUST have. To be honest, the process started long before but got a name with the movie. I researched online and with my friends to make sure I do not miss anything. The peak experiences are just that. I got filled with emotions for a very short period of time and can revisit those moments every time I feel bored.
- Extreme sports. I spent my honeymoon in New Zealand. Peak experiences are very easy when you travel there. So cave abseiling, bungee jumping, skydiving… I got so high on adrenaline, that this was literally the best month in my life.
- Dinner at a three stars Michelin restaurant. Still did not happen. Was very close in Milano. I dined in several restaurants of great chefs in every discipline except for molecular kitchen, up to two stars Michelin. Ate in some better places with no Michelin stars. Some food I can still taste visualizing these places.
- Tantric sex. Amazing. Will not go into details.
- Participate in childbirth. 3 times. Amazing experience. I am so happy the fathers of my generation are allowed to help their wives deliver. My firstborn was eventually delivered in an operation room, so I was not allowed. The second time I had to be more proactive, as his umbilical cord almost killed him and there were not enough nurses to handle the emergency. With my third, I was asked to cut the umbilical cord and politely refused.
- Get tattoos. I have 2 tattoos created using my designs. They are in such places that I can hide or show them if I wish to. Each tattoo had a deep spiritual meaning for me and has to do with my role as a father. I got my first tattoo after my second child was born, and the second tattoo when we started to travel as a family of five.
- See Paul McCartney live performance. I had such a chance 7 years ago, moreover, I got the tickets as a gift from my friend and mentor. This was probably the best concert of my life.
See the world
I am still trying to see the world. There is more of the world than I anticipated. I have a very long list of places to visit in front of me. Each year I try to visit two different locations with a different focus. Here are some highlights:
- Romantic vacations: Italy, France, Portugal, Greece. My most romantic vacations happened to be in Riga and Stambul, as I was less busy sightseeing and more focused on my romantic partner.
- Nature vacations: Australia, New Zealand, all of the former Yugoslavia. Nothing is as breathtaking as New Zealand.
- Cultural experiences: Scotland, Japan, Hong Kong, Spain. I love Japan, especially the people who are compassionate, polite and refined.
- Skiing, especially the French Alps. I tried some other locations but they were less breathtaking.
I really want to go to South America, but I want to dance much better before I do that.
Somewhere someday I also want to have a horseback vacation with my kids. Maybe when they are a bit older.
This is a huge motivator in my life, but also a very humbling experience.
When someone has a dream, I am driven to help the person make this dream true. I definitely helped my wife make her accelerated learning dream more real. During the 20 years of my career as an engineer, I was involved in many startup companies. Some of my work dealt with medical equipment.
Once I wanted to save someone. After I saved a couple of lives, I am more troubled by the experience than anything else. Still, if I ever get a chance to save someone I will do that.
I feel that I am helping people, but I can do more. Probably I need to be more creative.
Acquire common life skills
Some common life skills often appear in various bucket lists. This kind of happens as a side process of simply living.
- First aid. I learned in the army. I was an officer in civil defense when Israel was bombarded by missiles.
- Investing. This is something I do as a side project. Not very successful when I try new things, but very solid when I stick to the basics.
- Cooking. Went to several cooking classes. Stick to the food that can be prepared really fast. For a while, I was focused on soups in sushi, but now it is salads and meat. From the long cooking list, I do only roast beef each time I buy meat.
- Fixing things. I am an engineer, so I can build and fix things, but I am not really handy. Usually, I prefer to call a specialist even when I can do the task myself.
- Psychological support. Took me several years to learn. I think I mastered a couple of great techniques, yet I prefer to leave this to professionals.
Be very good in one thing
At some point in my life, I had a bucket list with this bullet only.
I feel that my commitment to lifelong learning made me a sort of expert on learning itself. I never really wanted to be more than a regular man with a simple gift. Definitely I never saw myself as a superhuman. All other things I tried never were as fulfilling as learning itself.
I am in the middle of my life, and I need new profound goals and experiences. Not “more of the same”. Some of my dreams I witness through my children. They are very good with horses and I drive along. They play guitars very well, and I customized their guitars. When my children want better food I learn to cook better.
The keytostudy experience is probably the biggest adventure in my life, and it slowly develops and grows beyond our initial vision. Yet, it is too complex to qualify for any bucket list. I really hope someday my children will join the family endeavor.
This is a very satisfying grand vision, but I want to have my own small dreams. I went through hundreds of bucket lists by other people, but the ideas there did not inspire me. Please help.