The list of things you have not done, but want to do before you die – Bucket List

As the year 2020 grips my baby-boomer psyche, I remember the 90’s like yesterday. 2020 bounces me into my 60’s — the supposed golden years, but only if I play my cards right.

My older brothers say they can’t afford to retire. Oh really? Let’s talk about choices and your high burn rate on living a privileged lifestyle. Maybe you don’t want to retire because you want to fund the cool things you keep doing — now that’s a different story!

I can’t help but think that it would be smart to revisit my BUCKET LIST with the dawn of a new decade.

I’ve taken my list for granted over the last few years— what’s done and what’s not — why? As I make my way through the list, I realize I’d best get cracking and add more experiences. — If I want to live life fully.


Journal to gain further insights to discover where your life is heading.

A bucket list is a deeply personal, sentimental, quirky, irrational collection of things you wish to experience BEFORE you die.

The problem is that we mortals suck at the timing. Only the big cheese upstairs knows when your ticket is due. In other words, you can’t take your bucket list with you. It expires when you do. — Hence you take to your grave the reality that you failed to experience something joyful.

In a way, it’s a sort of tragedy. You won’t win at an attempt to beat the angel of death at his/her own game.

Watch the short video below from Dan 

Carter, one of the main characters, hears he has less than a year to live, so he dejectedly discards the list. His hospital roommate Cole urges Carter to do everything on the list while also offering to finance the travel expenses. Together they go off on this epic trip to undertake unique travel experiences.

As the plot unfolds Carter dies, (sorry for the spoiler alert, but the movies have been out for over 13 years). Cole delivers a eulogy at Carter’s funeral, during which he explains that the last three months of Carter’s life were, thanks to Carter, the best three months of Cole’s own life.

Cole crosses “help a stranger for good” off the list.

Unless your ok with subconsciously muddling through life waiting for whatever someone else’s plan tosses your mundane, repetitive, plankton-like way. — Then keep your eye on the bucket and don’t get sloppy with your intentions.

It’s wisest to select experiences within your locus of control, but don’t be afraid to stretch and dream a little.

Lottery winnings, living stress-free on a picturesque desert island with the ideal person is a stretch, but ve hey, it’s been done before, so why not you?

Oh, you’re married… who says you can’t be married and have a little love on the side. If you’re both in agreement and your cup runneth over with warm fuzzies, then why not?

Remember: On your terms and the terms of those near and dear to you — so no cheating. Discuss your bucket list with your significant other and support each other along the way.


Believe In Miracles.

Fully recovering from stage four brain cancer while on life support has been known to happen. After all, fate is often discussed as an existential turn of destiny well beyond the scope of your current perception of reality. — Hence the need for a Bucket List.

If you’ve ever comforted a dying person during a heartfelt chat about the meaning of their life,’ then the concept of ‘shoulda, coulda, woulda’ probably came up. Did listening to their regrets trigger any self-reflection to avoid making similar mistakes.

Bucket lists evolve as; part luck, part karma, part-prayer, and hard work peppered with tiny sprinkles of bull-shit to make it all grow.

Please don’t wait until it’s too late to start working on the things that bring you real joy. Doing what MATTERS to LEARN, LOVE LIVE a proud life, and the terms of those near and dear to you should follow your prime directive. If not in youth, then certainly by mid-life.

Act as if you’ve only got five years left on planet earth. In other words, commit the necessary FOCUS to move towards the items on your list consistently. Add items for this year and every year after that.

Nurture your journal entries like a rare bonsai tree needs pruning. Protect bucket list elements like a sensitive orchid in need of the right mix of moisture and sunlight.

Pick something as grand and impractical as building a school in a developing country or grappling your list this month by eating a single meal at that restaurant you’ve always wanted to try.

Do you give your bucket list an annual tune-up? If so, how’s that working for you?

Don’t predict or rely on good health as you age. My dad was fit as a fiddle until 58, when he died of pancreatic cancer. It was no surprise that back then, at 23, I feared. if I would ever make it to 58 to surpass my dad

35 years after my father’s death, I was in Brazil for two months, beaching it up at my partners’ parent’s guest house. On that 23 day of December, as tears streamed down my face, in spirit with my dad, I was comforted knowing I had made it to 58.

Plus, I retired early (he never did) plus, I spend those two months in a tropical climate writing, reading, connecting, and soaking in Brazilian culture. At the same time, everyone else freezes their winter’s ass off in Canada.

Call me superstitious, but if you don’t have anything left on your bucket list (or worse, you don’t use lists), what do you have to hope for? How can you resolve unfinished business — Seriously, what’s the point of getting out of bed in the morning?

Even a man on death row hangs on to the dream of getting out one day. If an item gets knocked off your list, then you must add another one.

You can even play a bucket list after the fact. I recall in my 20’s dreaming about owning a sailboat. I had forgotten about it until my early 50’s when while taking a wiz at the Toronto Island Marina, I spotted a boat-for-sale sign over the men’s urinal. Within five minutes of checking her out (Akiya), I struck a deal and achieved the number one item on my bucket list.

By the way, if you want to sell a boat, advertising above a marina urinal is a practical approach to capture a sailing audience.

OMG, bucket list item #1 down. Does this mean I am now ready to die? — Silly me, of course not. In subsequent years I routinely added twenty years of joy-generating times to my list.

Sadly I’ve witnessed seniors suddenly decline in health the day they stop trying to bring more joy back into their lives.

Yes, I know there comes a time when suffering the ravages of life ageing takes grip. — And that day will come for you and me!

I choose to act as if that day is after tomorrow — meaning I hope it never comes but knows it’s not that far off. 20 years is the blink of an eye, so honour that mild sense of urgency to live and love more!

Achieving many of the items on your list will give you a send of pride and satisfaction when your after-life day comes.

I may have made a few mistakes over the years, but they’re overshadowed the many lucky and wiser decisions I’ve made. The most impactful was the conscious decisions to pursue a goal or dream.

Viktor Franky (Man’s Search for Meaning) says that we cannot avoid suffering, but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward.

Bucket lists help us find purpose and an optimistic path forward.

If you think your life sucks, or if you believe it’s fantastic, then you’re right. My vote’s on amazing!

A homeless man’s number one list item may be to get off the streets for good. — Something a few of us can personally relate to. Don’t judge someone else’s life and list. Instead, help them make their bucket experience a reality. Who knows, perhaps mother Karma will sprinkle fairy dust on your next item and send a few good vibes your way.

We all could use a little help wiggling through today’s polarized and conflicted world. — Dan Trepanier

Well, after sixty years of age, I’ll continue to seek out new experiences. Some scary, some not so scary.

At my lucky age, I have just enough extra resources to dabble here and there — sometimes irresponsibly — like taking 5 years away from job searching for spending my summer months hanging out on my boat.

I can’t even imagine a mid-twenty-year-old trying to plan beyond a few years. Job security, inflation, over-wired, and mostly disconnected outcomes really give new meaning to the concept of fuck-it. I’m living in the moment because tomorrow is a bit of a coin toss. If at 60, it’s still a coin toss for me, can you imagine how difficult it is for someone 30 years younger?

The logical path pre-2000 that many North American adults followed consisted of getting a degree, managing a predictable career path, raising a family, retiring, and travelling.

News Flash — that was then, and this is now, buddy!

Times have profoundly changed and are not guaranteed for the better. Saving the down payment for a Toronto home is five times more than the entire cost of my parents’ first house. — that’s nuts!

Try picking things that you would consider a wilder stretch of your imagination. Here are my three things…..

  • Get a beach house in Brazil. — but I am Canadian and don’t have the cash
  • Turn an old school bus into a motor home and travel. — But I don’t have a bus license, hate driving in the city, and lack cash.
  • Publish a book that supports my lifestyle and gives me a bit of fame. — Yea, I and ½ the planet want this, and it takes me days to write a blog post few will ever read, let alone pay me to read.

These are good long-term examples showered with a pinch of excuses and pessimism.

Maybe adjust your expectations a little bit…. such as;

  • Spend 2 months writing and reading at a rented beach house in Brazil
  • No one near and dear to me will live on a converted bus and travel long distances. I’m an extrovert and need intimacy, so off the bucket list goes the bus. BUT all that new woodwork I would do was convert my yellow school bus on my sailboat and home.

What makes bucket list items seem like a pipe dream is that we tend to get caught up in the operational details and not believe they will happen.

‘ I’ve always known I wanted to buy a cool sailboat, but back then, I had no clue how, when, and where. Then one day, an opportunity presented itself, and within a few hours, I bought myself that 30’s sailboat.

I did not understand the magnitude of the upkeep and expense operating an older boat would raise back then. Had I known the profound joy and frustration living on a seasonal fixer-upper sailboat would present, then I would have scared myself out of the purchase. Sometimes ignorance really is bliss.

Don’t get caught up in the operational details of any brainstorming phase.

A bucket list is just that — a list to be kept simple and full of joy. — joy being the operative word. I love gardening, but only for myself, so gardening for me is a list item. Growing for you …mmmm, not going to happen, sorry.

I had a dream to travel Europe by train. I did that a decade ago and HATED the trip. One bad experience after the other. Who knew? I gave Europe a shot and learned a lot but certainly did not experience much joy that summer. Next time? Maybe but not until I lop off the other bucket items.

You don’t need a spreadsheet or productivity app to manage your bucket list. You should be able to rhyme the items off by heart; half baked while multitasking.

Be on the lookout for signs; something is coming your way that supports a goal. The universe will send signals your way, but you have to be ready to receive them.

My life changed radically (for the better) after having a beer with a perfect stranger.

The beer with a stranger was not the bucket list item. But meeting the man and having a beer turned into a marriage one-year later.

On that sunny afternoon, I’m thankful that I decided to listen to my intuition and skip out of work early to grab a beer at that pub — where I met him…..

A friend invites you on a last-minute trip. You just lost your job — do you take the journey? It’s ok if trip details are missing since something else had to happen first — like losing your job.

The key at this brainstorming stage of crafting bucket list items is to think both long-term EPIC and short to mid-term SIMPLE. Let your imagination and heart run wild. Think WHAT and WHY — leave how and when for another day.

Believe that God’s (or whatever you believe in) delays are not God’s denials. — It took me 30 years to get that sailboat.

The ambitious notion that I’ll build a beach house in Brazil this year is not realistic. I’ll keep the beach house on my list, but for this summer, I’ll add; anchoring overnight, during a full moon, on Lake Ontario just off Toronto Hanlan’s with my best friend.

Journal Bucket Lists — To Experience Inspiration and Joy · dantrepanier

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