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What have you ticked off your bucket list?

Ever since Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman set off on a road trip to tick off all the things they wanted to do before they ‘kicked the bucket’ in the 2007 film The Bucket List, people of all ages have been making their very own lists of things they want to do. The pair had skydiving, visiting the Taj Mahal, kissing the most beautiful girl in the world, laughing until they cried, driving a Shelby Mustang, eating dinner at the Chevre d’or, flying over the North Pole and more on their list, but people include big and small goals on theirs (download our printable bucket list for more ideas).

Bucket lists can be a great way of focusing on what you really want out of life and motivating yourself to go after it. Children, marriage, lack of money, poor health and quite simply not enough time can all mean that our dreams end up on the backburner, but writing those goals down can help them become a priority among all those other things you have to get done. As Anna Letitia Cook posted on the Fab After Fifty blog; ‘There is so much noise and distraction in our everyday lives that we get swamped. Making your bucket list forces you to focus on who you really are, what you really want, and leave aside what is just dross that has no real value to our happiness and fulfilment’.

One lady who knew exactly what would add to her happiness and fulfilment was 105 year old Ivena Smailes from Gateshead. The care-home staff where she lived arranged for a tattooed fireman to climb through her third floor window and deliver Ivena a cake on her birthday; ticking off a rather cheeky addition to her bucket list and bringing a smile to Ivena’s face.

99 year old Annie from the Netherlands also had a surprising addition to her bucket list; she wanted to tick off ‘being arrested’. Rather than go out and commit a crime however, Annie’s niece made the unusual request for her aunt to be arrested, handcuffed and placed in a cell so that she could tick it off her bucket list before reaching 100 years old. The police station even posted about it on their Facebook page!

There are some truly incredible people out there already ticking off huge achievements on their buckets lists, and 83 year old Gwynn Williams accomplished something he’d been thinking about for years in 2017 when he took to the skies to try out wing-walking. The pensioner from Flintshire in Wales was strapped to the top of a biplane in an adrenaline-fuelled stunt to raise money for the Conwy Valley-based children’s hospice. Next on his list is zip-lining with his daughter Nerys.

Seniors completing their bucket listSource: Daily Post (June 2017)

Whether you’re an adrenaline-junkie like Gwynn, have a touch of wanderlust or simply want to make more of a hobby; a bucket list is ideal for giving those personal goals the attention they deserve. To start you off, we’ve put together a list of goals we’ve spotted on bucket lists across the internet that might inspire some ideas for your own:

Travel Ideas

Travelling abroad, living abroad and visiting places nearer to home are some of the most popular additions to bucket lists. Most people can think of at least one part of the world that they’ve always wanted to visit.

Judi – the blogger behind 50 and Fabulous Blog  - has a wonderful idea on her bucket list;

“I dream of spending a month in France, climbing to the top of the Eiffel Tower, walking along the many bridges in Paris, picnicking on wine and cheese in the beautiful parks and visiting the famous sights of the city. Then onto a tour of the countryside with a few days lounging on the beautiful French Riviera.”

Here are just a few more ideas to consider for your own bucket list:

  • See the Northern Lights
  • Live abroad
  • Travel the coast
  • Fly first class
  • Take a rail trip around Europe
  • Go on a safari
  • Go on a walking holiday
  • Go on a backpacking holiday
  • Hire a canal boat
  • Act like a tourist in your own town
  • Go on a road trip
  • Go camping
  • Visit Stonehenge
  • Spend Christmas somewhere unusual
  • Visit one of the Seven Wonders of the World
  • Go on a cruise
  • Visit at least 5 continents
  • Go on a skiing holiday
  • Go to a sporting event you love (e.g. Wimbledon)

Learn a new New Skill

Learning something new is a fantastic goal for everyone to have at any age. It’s never too late to pick up a new skill and if you stick at it then who knows where it might take you!

Janet O’Kane decided to return to her degree as part of her bucket list designed to defeat her 50s blues. She explains more over on the Fab After Fifty blog;

“At the age of 40, I studied English and Scottish Literature for a year at Edinburgh University. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience but unfortunately we couldn’t afford for me to continue, something I always regretted. So, in 2008, straight after our holiday, I signed up to continue my studies, this time with the Open University. That year at Edinburgh saved me two years with the OU, so four modules (my favourite being History of Cinema and Television) and a seemingly endless number of essays later I gained a 2:1 BA (Hons) in Humanities. One of the hardest yet best things I’ve ever done. I relish learning new things, and will be taking classes in tap dancing and criminology this year.”

Here are just a few more ideas to consider for your own bucket list:

  • Learn how to play an instrument
  • Study for a degree
  • Learn a new language
  • Learn a new style of dance
  • Learn how to draw/paint
  • Learn how to bake from scratch
  • Learn how to solve a Rubik’s cube
  • Learn basic first aid
  • Learn how to tie knots
  • Learn how to fish
  • Learn how to swim
  • Learn how to ride a bike
  • Learn how to grow fruit and vegetables
  • Learn magic tricks
  • Take a cooking class
  • Learn how to surf
  • Learn a new sport
  • Learn how to make your own beer/wine
  • Learn how to crochet
  • Learn how to whistle
  • Learn how to juggle
  • Learn photography
  • Learn calligraphy
  • Learn yoga
  • Learn bird watching
  • Learn horse riding
  • Learn how to scuba dive
  • Learn how to make cocktails at home

Ways to Revisit the Past

Life moves so fast that sometimes we don’t find time to stop and look back. Your memories are important and made you the person you are today, so if you’ve always wanted to delve into the past then there’s no better time than the present! 

Hobby genealogist Alona has even gone as far as to create a genealogy-specific bucket list on her blog;

“Ever since I was about 18 and found out I had Finnish reli’s, I’ve wanted to go to Finland. And apart from my 1 day visit there a few years ago during a cruise, where I saw a little of Helsinki I know nothing about the place, so am really looking forward to my trip in a few months, where I’ll get to catch up with my reli’s and see a whole lot more of Finland.”

Here are just a few more ideas to consider for your own bucket list:

  • Look up an old friend
  • Research your family history
  • Create a family tree
  • Revisit your honeymoon destination
  • Attend a school reunion
  • Learn the history of a place you love
  • Give an heirloom to someone you love
  • Visit where your parents grew up
  • Write a journal of your memories
  • Create a scrapbook for your children
  • Visit locations from your childhood
  • Re-read your old journals and fulfil a dream that you had when younger

Achieve a life event

When we’re young and carefree, those big life milestones that you see in your future can feel inevitable. But as most of us 50+ have learned by now, life doesn’t always work out that way, and it’s very easy for the years to pass by without achieving that thing you thought would just happen. Now that you’ve turned your attention to the little things you want to tick off your list, why not think about the big things too? It’s never too late!

  • Buy a house
  • Conquer a fear
  • Fall in love
  • Get married
  • Retire
  • Learn to drive
  • Adopt a pet
  • Throw yourself a milestone party

Adventurous Activities

We waste so much of our lives worrying what about what could go wrong and what others will think that we miss out on the things we really want to do. And if you think you might be past all that now, then keep in mind ‘Daring Doris’, a pensioner from Hampshire who first abseiled aged 85 and eventually set the world record as the world’s oldest abseiler aged 101! You’re never too old to try!  

  • Go skinny dipping
  • Change your hair colour
  • Set a Guinness World Record
  • Send a message in a bottle
  • Go to a casino
  • Try acupuncture
  • Invest in something crazy
  • Get your 15 mins of fame
  • Meet an exotic animal (elephant/tiger/panda/etc.)
  • Meet a celebrity
  • Try a new cuisine
  • Swim in the ocean
  • Watch the sunrise in a beautiful location
  • Pose for a life drawing class
  • Swim with dolphins
  • Get a tattoo
  • Test drive the car you’ve always wanted
  • Pull an all-nighter
  • Go zip-lining
  • Sleep under the stars
  • Go up in a hot air balloon
  • Do something embarrassing
  • Get a dramatic new hairstyle
  • Go to a festival
  • Sky-dive / bungee-jump
  • Do karaoke in public
  • Go on a ghost hunt
  • Visit a nudist beach

Do something you just haven’t got around to

These are the goals that have been on your mind for years but you keep putting them off because it never feels like the right time. As most of us know by now, there’s never a ‘right time’ for anything, so just bite the bullet and do it now.

  • Start a business
  • Write a book
  • Build something from scratch
  • Decorate your home
  • Watch that film you’ve always wanted to
  • Eat at one of the world’s top restaurants
  • Read that book you’ve always wanted to
  • Wear that item of clothing you’ve always wanted to (e.g. bikini, bright colours)

Do something for someone else

Reaching out to the people around you can feel scary and intimidating, but it can be hugely rewarding and make you feel connected to people in a way you might not expect. ‘Helper’s high’ is that little rush you feel when you do something nice for someone else, and doing something altruistic for a stranger or as a surprise will add to the excitement. You might always have wanted to do something kind for someone else but were unsure what to do; now is your time to get creative and make a list.

  • Do a sponsored walk/run
  • Pay for a stranger’s drink
  • Volunteer at a community project
  • Hide money in random places for strangers to find
  • Take your family on a surprise vacation
  • Leave a big tip at a restaurant
  • Plan a surprise party for a loved one
  • Leave a message in a public place for someone else to find
  • Give a stranger a compliment
  • Say ‘yes’ to everything for a day

So, whether its getting out the house more or doing something out of your comfort zone, why not get started on ticking off your bucket list? We’ve created a printable document that you can download. This could get you started on you own bucket list; hopefully inspiring you to tick off some activities and complete your own bucket list!

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Related Downloads

Bucket List Ideas.pdf