Live your bucket list now, not just in retirement!

It’s so easy for us all to get caught up in the flurry of day-to-day life and our long-term plans that we often completely forget about our short-term ‘here and now’ goals. “Happiness is a journey, not a destination” according to Ben Sweetland and I couldn’t agree more.

“Every man dies, not every man really lives” (William Wallace). Are you really living your life?

Live your bucket list now, not just in retirement!

Making sure that you do the things that really make you feel alive throughout your life is as important as planning how you’re going to live when you’re old, grey and retired.

The recent pandemic has given many people an opportunity to sit back and reflect. Everyday freedoms that we took for granted have been restricted and for many our working environment has changed. Views on travel are divided, some not wishing to be too far from our NHS whilst others retain that wanderlust.

Instead of making it a typical list of ten or so specific activities that you may or may not achieve each year, take this slightly different approach and make it your own. I call it a bucket list with a difference.

As some of our regular readers will know, I wrote this article a few years ago and with the pandemic not looking like it will disappear anytime soon I thought I would give it a refresh to hopefully inspire you to get back out there and live life a bit. 

1. Get your adrenaline going

Do something that gets you out of your comfort zone and gives you that adrenaline rush. An extreme thrill…skydiving, diving with sharks, bungee jumping, BASE jumping. The sort of thing that when you get to the edge, you question why am I doing this?!

What will push you to the limit? For me, it was skydiving. I used to get a buzz every time we flew to 1300ft and then left a perfectly good aeroplane.

I have recently had a milestone birthday which now means I can start looking at the Saga website with interest!  For ‘the’ birthday my colleagues kindly got me some flying lessons of the helicopter variety – although it seems none of them wish to share the experience!!!

2. Visit somewhere new

Go somewhere you have never been to before. It could be as distant as the Mongolian plains or as close to home as the Scottish Highlands which I hear are breathtaking!

In the current climate this one is really difficult at the moment, and even my planned trip to Asia has been postponed.  However, there are plenty of places in the UK that I have yet to see so all is not lost.

3. Take the road less travelled

Do something out of the ordinary. It could be following in the footsteps of Ewan McGregor on a motorbike, driving across a desert in a 4×4, sailing across the Atlantic, or exploring the African bush on foot.

I have been fortunate enough to travel across the Middle East in between its troubled times, so I would love to see my next adventure on the high seas.

I have managed to do some off-road training on my motorbike this year, so when the road less traveled appears I have the skills to deal with it. 

4. Give yourself a physical challenge

Push your physical boundaries further than you would ever have thought possible. Whether it’s finishing a 5km Race for Life, the 251km Marathon des Sables, or one of the muddy challenges held throughout the UK, the exhilaration and satisfaction you feel when you realise what you are capable of is a great confidence booster and life elixir.

5. Learn a new skill

There is something to be said about devoting time to learning a new talent like playing an instrument or speaking a different language. The frustrations of the often torturously slow learning process eventually give way to an invigorating sense of achievement.

If you can’t fit in a regular time to visit a teacher try one of the online learning hubs like Frethub for those aspiring rock guitarists amongst us. Log in when you have a bit of time and progress at your own pace – you could surprise your family and friends by learning secretly! The satisfaction you’ll get will be fantastic.

I learnt some carpentry skills during lockdown. Having made storage units and completed decking for outside it gave me great satisfaction! However, this worries my wife immeasurably as I now keep offering to make furniture for the house.

6. Go to an event you have always hankered after

Turn “I would love to see/go to…” into one of your life’s highlights. See your deity in concert or at a sports event, go to a rave, Glastonbury, or even Mardi Gras.

I have seen one of my musical talismans perform, and have been to a rugby world cup final. This year I visited an adventure motorbike festival which I thoroughly enjoyed.

7. Experience something contrary to your natural leaning

Do something that may lead you to question your own beliefs and assumptions. Maybe try going vegan for a month, or live in a foreign land for more than what can be classed as a holiday.

I travelled first class for the first time a few years ago. OK, so that’s not a big game-changer but I would never pay for it directly. Collecting air miles over the years allowed it to happen. It was fun to see what I have been missing out on and great to see the family loving every second. It won’t happen again!

The last time I updated this article I was just seeing if I could do without meat.  I am now two years in and have not looked back.  I have eaten meat in this time, possibly twice, neither of which I enjoyed.  

8. Be altruistic

Do something random that makes a difference to someone else’s life, and expect nothing in return. Give blood, give time, give money…just give. Anything big or small. Regular or one-off. Maybe take the family to give out sleeping bags and warm food to the homeless by volunteering with a charity. It will have a big, feel-good impact on you and those you are selflessly helping.

I used to coach a junior rugby team in my spare time, with the hope that the players would prosper despite my interference. I found it really rewarding, more than I ever anticipated. I have now stopped rugby coaching, but have started helping with a cadet force, and also helping out with a charity.

9. Expand your knowledge

Have you ever wished you knew more about a particular topic? It could be about the Great War, some other moment in history that has shaped our world, or even your own family tree and how it has shaped who you are.

There is something about education that lets the endorphins flow, enhances the conversations we have, and broadens our understanding of life’s rich tapestry.

10. Make it memorable

Stop procrastinating and just do it! Make your bucket list, don’t compare it to others and share it only with those who are important to you and/or will help make it happen.

Having served in the military I am a fan of failing to plan, is planning to fail. The problem is, when I tick something off my bucket list, something else appears…but what a great way to live!

My life is not measured solely by these events, but they are events that I will always remember. Hopefully, my family will too and perhaps even instil in them the sense of adventure that I have and that I value in others.

So why is a bucket list important for financial planning?

Financial planning isn’t just about achieving your end goals; it’s about the journey you take to get there and what you personally (not just financially) want to achieve on the way. Having a bucket list can often remind you of what you are saving for, and offer a much-needed reward for keeping going when you wish you didn’t have to.

As you can imagine, I’m not recommending reckless spending! We all still need an emergency fund, but savings should be enjoyed, dreams should be turned into reality, and achievements should be celebrated.

I’m a little bit of a Land Rover fan and they have a saying “One life. Live it.”

Do you have a bucket list? Let us know by adding a comment below.

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