Maybe you saw the movie The Bucket List or have heard about a list of 'The 100 Things to Do Before You Die' from someone already, but I've been using it in an altered form for many years. My list is called 'The 100 Things to Do While Alive'. I'm not racing or chasing death, living under a perpetual doomsday clock; I'm making sure that I live every day as fully as I can. I'm not a 'before' kind of guy, I'm more of a 'while' type.
My list starts with all of the things that I want to be able to say 'yes' to when anyone asks as idle chit chat at a dinner party:
• Can you juggle? Yes.
• Can you cook? Yes.
• Do you speak any foreign languages? 1 ½.
• Have you ever parachuted? Yes.
• Ever been to Paris? Yup; 3 times.
• Ever taken a vacation by bike? Yup; twice.
• Ever remodel a house? Yes.
It has a lot of simple 'doing' stuff like that but it also has a lot of stuff I haven't gotten to yet, like drive an 18-wheeler semi tractor trailer truck (next week, maybe). And some of the stuff is big and crazy, like 'end world hunger'. Honestly I don't expect to be asked if I ever ended world hunger as idle chit chat at a dinner party but, if I was asked, I'd say that I've been involved and am involved with a hunger project for many years now. I've volunteered at soup kitchens, food pantries and regularly donate to The Hunger Site. I can say that ending world hunger is a constant activity in my life and I'm still at it.
Among other things, I use the list to keep me from ever, ever being able to say 'I'm bored'. I mean how can you be bored when you've got a hot air balloon trip to schedule (rained every day for 6 days and we canceled it) or when you've got a chance to pilot a small plane (my wife and I are doing that next month, paid for already) or taking dance lessons (also bought and paid for and on the schedule)?
It's not that there's nothing else to do; I have plenty of work to keep me busy. It's partially because there's so much work to do; I want more than work in my life. How many times do you need to hear an inspirational speech or jealously view a movie about living life fully before you actually get some sort of structure to help you enjoy on a new level?
Lots of things on my list still need doing, I've really only checked off 18 and have 3 pending, but it's time to revisit the list anyway. That's one of the rules; you can revamp the list as often as you'd like. 'Meet Mother Theresa' -- well that one has to be changed for obvious reasons. 'Hang out backstage with Sting' has replaced her (can anyone help me with that)?
So while I'm revamping my list I'm going to add a twist that my friend Rosie suggested; take my list and add a 'within . . .' category. For example, put a time-line on the items as in 'within 30 days, 60 days, 6 months, a year, under 5 years, etc.' I like the urgency of it and love to cross things off my list. In fact, one big item I just crossed off the list is 'write and publish a book'. My book The Hamlet Secret, is for sale at online stores and sites now and it's a great pleasure to visit the Japanese language Amazon page and see my book listed there and around the world. (How many copies do I have to sell? Well, I didn't have that much detail on the list. (Here's a preview video with inspirational quotes from the book if you're interested.)
I invite you to join me. Take a few minutes and write down all of the things that you want to be able to say 'Yes, I have' when asked at some future dinner party. Don't work too hard at it, have fun, and if you really want to have fun involve someone else. My wife and I compare ours often -- in fact we use each others' lists to plan events and gifts. For my 50th birthday my wife whisked me off to a surprise week in Paris, just the two of us, and her inspiration came from my list (#7)! Talk about getting what you wish for!
So why not play along and take out your pen and paper. Number on the left from 1-100 and get started. You may be reluctant, if may seem either to fantastical or too scary for you (it makes things get 'real') but it's well worth the effort. Things like 'ride an elephant', 'build a piece of furniture from scratch', 'visit the Grand Canyon', etc. are great things to get you started and, as I mentioned above, things like 'endow a scholarship' or 'create world peace' can be on the list to just remind you of the awareness you find important. And you can make it happen in little steps -- as long as those steps keep you moving forward.
Enjoy, challenge, invigorate and inspire with your list. You'll be glad you did.
Share your 100s list with me or ask me for ideas if you get stuck: James@starofyourownlife.com.