A few years ago, a movie called The Bucket List told a story of two gentlemen at the end of their lives who had a list of goals they wanted to complete before they died. They called it “the bucket list.” The movie followed them on their journey, providing some insights into the thoughts and feelings of people at that stage of life. Although I haven’t been diagnosed with anything that will end my life in the next few months, I have my own list. It started with two simple questions: What would you do with your time if you only had a few months to live? And why aren’t you doing those things right now?
Will I get to all of these before I die? I have no idea. Some of these goals are fun, some are totally ego-based, some are serious, and some are just plain ridiculous. Here they are, in no particular order…
Eat a puffer fish. Survive the experience.
Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Sneak across a country’s border without getting arrested or shot.
Visit all 50 states. Airports don’t count. (Only five to go!)
Learn to tie a cherry stem in a knot with my tongue.
Go on a walking safari. Don’t get eaten by lions.
Be a vegetarian for a month.
Visit the Titanic wreckage in a submarine.
Record an album of ten original songs.
Do 100 pushups, 100 pullups, and 100 situps, five times a week.
Write ten books.
Complete the entire John Muir Trail in one trip.
Hike the Himalayas and look at Mt. Everest. Spend a few lazy days at Everest Base Camp.
Take a boat trip down the Nile River.
Build a wine cellar in my house.
Build an iPhone app.
Plan and fund a life celebration party to be automatically implemented at my funeral – compilation CDs (?) as “funeral favors,” a video message from me, and photos to share. This is equal parts morbid and hilarious. I’m going for hilarious.
Never sleep on the 13th floor of a hotel.
Teach financial literacy at local high schools for free.
Build a company and sell it.
Have the option to retire by December 31, 2012. Keyword: option.
Own a beach house in Southern California with direct access to the sand and unobstructed views of the Pacific Sunset.
Own a lake house with a dock in Tahoe.
Own a mountain house in the Colorado Rockies.
Climb all the Colorado 14ers.
Swim from Alcatraz to mainland San Francisco.
Learn how to pair wine and food properly.
Get one of those “verified” buttons on my Twitter profile.
Open a bank account in Switzerland.
Kiss the Blarney Stone.
Get a pilot’s license.
Buy a sea plane. Fly it around the Caribbean, especially the Bermuda Triangle.
Own ten or more rental properties free and clear by my 40th birthday.
Learn Krav Maga.
Take a yoga class. One of the hot ones.
Visit Glacier National Park. Photograph a grizzly bear from a (big) distance.
Complete the Tahoe Rim Trail in one trip.
Complete the Pacific Crest Trail in one trip.
Complete the Colorado Trail in one trip.
Take a walk with Tim.
Work at a winery for a summer in Italy.
Take a series of cooking classes.
Raise $1,000,000 or more for spinal injury research.
Learn to play the drums.
Learn to play the piano.
Send my parents on an annual luxury vacation.
Visit the Seven Wonders of the World.
Tithe 10% of what I make every year.
Invest 10% of what I make every year.
Ride in a hot air balloon over the Rocky Mountains for sunrise or sunset.
Make love on a sailboat in the South Pacific.
Perform a stand-up comedy routine in public.
Walk across Africa – the skinny part.
Sail around the world.
Visit Easter Island.
Read 50 or more books each year.
Write 5 thank you or thinking of you notes every day.
Take a train ride across Canada from Toronto to Seattle.
Take the Trans-Siberian Railroad from the Sea of Japan to Moscow.
Hike the Grand Canyon.
Go to Brazil to attend Carnavale.
Hike the Swiss Alps.
Get six pack abs and maintain them.
Create 100 or more net worth millionaires.
Start an outdoor gear manufacturing company.
Work at least one month each year in another country.
Learn to surf.
Kayak in white water rapids on five continents.
Skinny dip at the bottom of a tropical waterfall.
Visit China for their New Year Celebration.
Walk on the Great Wall of China.
Run with the bulls in Spain.
Visit the North Pole and get photos of the Aurora Borealis.
Run a Super Bowl ad for a business I own.
Ride on a camel to the Pyramids of Giza.
Visit the world’s tallest waterfall.
Become fluent in German, French, Spanish, Italian, and Mandarin.
Go ghost hunting in a haunted house.
Have lunch with Mike Tyson.
Have lunch with the Dalai Lama.
Learn to break dance.
Go night snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef.
Establish a non-profit organization.
Have date night at least once a week.
Make a stranger’s day, every day.
Attend Burning Man.
Travel the High Road to Tibet.
Win a Nobel Prize.
Have a holiday named after me.
See a duck-billed platypus in the wild. Point at it and laugh.
Stand on Kjeragbolten boulder in Norway. Get a nice photo.
Attend Chefs’ Holidays at Yosemite.
Successful people have known for a long time that the act of writing your goals makes them more real. It isn’t important to know why this works (I certainly don’t pretend to know why it works), just surrender to the idea that it does work. Life has a funny way of giving you what you ask for, and sometimes when you least expect it. Besides, it can’t hurt.