Thursday, May 28, 2015

One goal bucket lists.

Every new year one of my best friends e-mails me a list of her goals for the year, but these aren't just your standard lose-weight, eat-well, live-meaningfully goals you see on the fronts of self-help magazines while you're waiting in line at the grocery store.  These goals are a do-in-case-I-die-this-year list of learning adventures.  There are 50 of them every year, and with each new list comes an accounting of how many of last year's adventures were achieved.  There is no hard and fast rule that goals cannot be repeated from year to year, but it is understood that they should not be--as that means the goal was probably bad to begin with in the sense that it wasn't interesting enough, or realistically achievable, etc.  That isn't to say these goals have to be sane or practical, but they should be motivating and achievable by you, within the year.  I think the purpose is to push yourself a little outside of your comfort zone, with all the right protective safety gear in use, of course.
Climbing Mt. Wheeler in Great Basin National Park

But the really interesting thing about these lists is that each item in every list all really serve one goal:

Find joy through continuously living multiple learning adventures.

Even when an experience on the list turns out to really suck, like learning how to vaccinate an ostrich say... that experience usually generates some joyfully absurd stories and lessons for approaching the next learning endeavor, like always pack baby wipes and tampons because they're good at cleaning ostrich crap off puncture wounds and stopping the bleeding in the middle of nowhere.  Oh, and bourbon never hurts either.
So in that spirit I challenge you to come up with a one goal bucket list--what learning adventures must you do or risk dying unhappy without?
And in case you need help, I give you some personal past examples:

  • Write a novel.
  • Write a song.
  • Get certified to dive and go diving with my wife.
  • Learn how goat cheese is made.
  • Infuse tequila.
  • Play rugby.
  • Bicycle Ireland with my best friend.
  • Be the first one on the dance floor.
  • Climb a real rock, outside.
  • Take a picture with a pelican (the getting bit was unexpected!)
  • Get greasy helping restore an old truck.
  • Land a flight simulator (without puking).

And even if you don't accomplish a single goal, even if all you ever do is talk about them and dream them up with someone you love...then I can tell you from experience, you've already served the one real goal of your bucket list by finding joy in learning to make your list of learning adventures.

So what will you do?  Feel free to give me ideas for next year!


  1. Take photos of tiny plastic animals in happy scenarios. Make pita bread. Learn Japanese, no, really learn Japanese. Finish a screenplay.


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