Live Like You Were Dying: The Benefits of Building & Checking Items Off Your “Senior Bucket List”

It’s probably safe to say that we all have a bit of a “bucket list” going in our heads, those far-fetched dreams or adventurous goals that we hope to accomplish during our time here on Earth: things that require courage (skydiving), money (a trip around the world), time (getting another degree) or some other factor that makes it more difficult to obtain. How many of us actually wind up checking those items off the list, though? There always seems to be something more important- bills that need to be paid, hours that need to be worked, family obligations- and the time we have available to satisfy those deeply buried desires of our heart ticks on without us even realizing it. As so many people who have reached the end of their journey have said, it’s not the things we do in our life that we regret, it’s all the things we haven’t done.

Do you want to live a life with no regrets? If so, we challenge you to not only BUILD a real-life bucket list, but PRIORITIZE it! Making a commitment to follow through on your real-life bucket list is beneficial for so many reasons- it empowers you by proving to yourself that you are capable of accomplishing your goals, it gives purpose and meaning to your life by enhancing it with those amazing experiences, and it gives you the joy of continuing to choose your own happiness and knowing that the best is yet to come. “It is so inspiring to watch my residents continue to mark bucket items off their list,” says Courtney Bartholomew, Executive Director of Vista Shores Assisted Living & Memory Care in New Orleans. “Their passion for trying new things and zest for living life to the fullest sets an example for me and the way in which I choose to live my own.”

Are you ready to stop talking and start doing? Then follow these simple steps:

1)   Formalize & organize your bucket list. It’s time to commit to your bucket list items by committing them to paper. Think long & hard about the things you REALLY want to accomplish- what are the things that have been on your list for what feels like forever? What are the things that truly ignite your passion in life? Work on narrowing the list down to the things that are truly vital, then put them in a formal document and make two copies- one for yourself, and one for someone who is dear to you and will hold you accountable for accomplishing them (and maybe even come along for the ride!)

2)   Start planning. What will it take to accomplish those bucket list items, and what is the quickest way to get there? If you need to save a certain amount of money to achieve your goal, create a budget designed to sock away the money as quickly as you can manage. If you need to make travel plans or other arrangements ahead of time, begin your online research or contact a travel agent or another resource that can assist you. Make a list of all the things that need to happen for you to achieve your dream, then create a schedule of to-do’s that will help you mark them off one by one.

3)   Stay the course. There will always, ALWAYS be a reason to put your bucket list off for another day. However, you can’t lose sight of the biggest reason not to: YOU and your own happiness and fulfillment! Tomorrow is never promised today, so it is time to officially start making those once-in-a-lifetime memories that you will look back on at the end of yours.

Let's go carpe that diem, y'all!