Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My Evolving Bucket List

An old 80s or 90s rock song—by Bad English, I think—includes a line that says something like, “…will it always be that the dream gets changed as it gets close to reality?” It is inevitable that our dreams, and with them our bucket lists, are changed as time passes. Some things we accomplish, some things we put on the back burner, and some things we decide are no longer important to us.

When I was a child, I thought if I could just own my own horse and get my pilot’s license, my life would be complete. I did eventually own a dark bay half-quarter horse filly for a few years, during which I realized I really like to look at horses. Ride them—not so much.

When I graduated from high school, I thought my life would be complete if I could get a college education, marry my high school sweetheart, get my pilot’s license, and make a living writing. I did all those things except get my pilot’s license, but not in the order I expected and not exactly in the way I expected. I did them—well, kind of inside out. And in the process, I learned to love photography. Hadn’t even been in my sights.

When I finally graduated from college, I already had a husband and family, and I thought my life would be complete if I could get a job I enjoyed that would allow me to contribute to the family income and work on that novel that was beginning to percolate in the back of my head. I got a job I enjoyed that included writing and editing and paid enough I could support myself, and I eventually completed that novel—plus a novelette that started percolating somewhere in the middle of the novel. I also did a lot of other things I never dreamed I would, but somehow I don’t think learning to weld or standing on the hood of the largest truck in the world the first time its engine was started or planning a party for 10,000 people would ever have been in my bucket list anyway. And somewhere along the way, getting a pilot’s license fell out.

When I retired, I thought my life would be complete if I could learn to water color, finish visiting all the national parks of the US, go to Scotland, and get my first book published. I’ve visited Yellowstone and Scotland, and I’ve found a publisher for my first book. I took watercolor lessons and realized maybe I should stick to photography.

So you’d think I’d be about finished with my bucket list, right? Um…remember what I said about adding things? Now I want to go to Scotland again, because the sequel to the first book is set there. Then come the two other sequels and the two sequels to the first novelette, and the stand-alone novel. I also want to go to Wales.

And that’s how I like it. I should always have another book to write, another trip to take, something new to learn. Because if your bucket list contains all the things you want to do before you die, and you complete it, you’ve symbolically completed your life, right? I hope the day I die, I’ve just thought of something else to add to my bucket list.


  1. I love it. You are so right! We need something to look ahead toward. We always need a purpose. I agree when you stop looking ahead to something, you have stopped living. Even if your heart is still technically beating, it isn't working.

  2. Well said!! I think the idea of an ever-changing bucket list makes life fun--it gives us hopes and dreams--something to always look forward to :) You've gotten to do some amazing things! Thanks for sharing, Jenn.

  3. exactly! I never want to have all my t's crossed and i's dotted....keep putting more in the bucket. Great post.

  4. Your words and my thoughts. Read my Blog. It is full of things I wanted to do. I did them all, and then wanted to do more. I had the same reason....figured that I always had to have a dream to follow. If there are no more dreams, I felt, then my life is over.

    Great post and great thoughts. Two minds, yours and mine, think alike. And here I alway thought I was original..Glad to read your bucket list. My entire blog is filled with dreams dreams and those that have come true.


  5. This is a GREAT analysis of the BL concept Angela! And I agree with your conclusion. My own plan, in Christ, is to continue meeting new goals and dreams forever and ever. I think that's what it means to live in heaven for eternity (and nothing to do with clouds and harps). And all with the good fellowship of God Himself!

  6. I see the Bucket List the way that you do. There will always be things yet to do and learn and see. Life is a wonderful blessing and I intend to enjoy every delicious minute of it.

  7. This is a great way to think of the bucket list. I find myself doing the same thing, when this happens I'll be happy. I've also wished my life away by wishing for vacations and week-ends.


  8. Thanks for stopping by my blog! I enjoyed reading about your bucket list. Great idea to continue wanting to add more. :)

  9. What a great way to look at life! Love your take on the constantly changing bucket list. Thanks.

  10. wow you had the same dreams as ME; i too wanted my pilot license and even visualized it so much , went up and drove one for an hour and figured; SCREW THIS, I CAN'T HEAR THE TOWER! for the life of me i could NOT get the jargon down from the tower 10/4 crap! they were so garbled; they told me i would get use to it...nah..liked taking pictures better!! LOL yup will stick with the photo journalism hehe and paint with a digital art instead.

    I too want to visit Wales..and GREECE! and as far as a novel..hehe..nah **hugs** can't wait to read yours tho! ((hugs)) i feel so privileged to be able to read your list :0)

  11. Wow! Sounds like you've had a lot of fun getting your list accomplished! Love it!