If you’re from the US or Canada, you’ve heard of the term bucket list. Unfortunately, no one knows when this term became a thing, though it derives from an 18th-century word referencing death – kick the bucket. It wasn’t until the 2007 movie The Bucket List that we became more familiar with this new phrase.
Definition of bucket list
According to Dictionary, a bucket list is:
It sounds morbid, mainly for a midlife person. We don’t want to think of the end of life in our prime. I believe midlife is a stage where we should enjoy vitality and do things we missed in our 20s and 30s. In their 40s and 50s, midlifers celebrate liberation from family obligations and want to partake in new adventures and experiences. A bucket list shouldn’t be linked to the end of life but rather commemorate a new chapter.
The modern midlifer bucket list
Truthfully, I never had a bucket “list” and probably won’t. When I turned 30, I started making wish lists of short-term goals such as traveling to a specific country, learning a new skill, or buying things I liked. With this approach, I put checkmarks on many wishes and dreams. I manifested thoughts and was lucky that they came true. Now that I’m 50, I don’t know what else to do! And this goes for many midlifers who were able to achieve goals and make dreams come true before hitting 40.
Now what? The bucket list feels light. Therefore, I began looking for new adventures and dreams to do in my 50s. And in the quest for new ideas, I realized that one bucket list isn’t enough.
Purpose of a midlife bucket list or lists
With maturity, I realized that being old isn’t a restriction. If anything, it’s the best time to break barriers and outdated beliefs. We cannot stop because we are 40, 50, or 80. Instead, like any living specie, we should evolve and continue to grow: intellectually, spiritually, and emotionally.
Realizing the importance of growth as the most significant facet of living, I categorized goals into multiple bucket lists. Some go into a learning bucket. Others fill a nature bucket. Or in an adventure bucket. And how about social and self-care buckets. Let’s see what goes in each.
Bucket list 1: Learning
Education is a privilege that no one should take for granted. Yet, here in North America, we’re fortunate to have access to learning online and offline. And I’m not referring to higher-level education but rather access to courses that enrich our minds. For example:
Learn to play a new instrument
Try new sports such as tennis, fencing, paddle boat
Take a design course (fashion, graphic, interior)
Teach yourself a new language
Write a book, a story, poetry, a song
Draw or paint
Complete a 1000+ piece jigsaw
Take Pole dancing lessons
Read a trilogy
Bucket list 2: Nature
Spending time in nature and connecting with Earth is rewarding for the soul, body and mind. And you’ll appreciate the importance of the environment and preserving nature for all living species.
Plant trees in your yard or on your travels
Volunteer at a farm
Clean a beach
Plant unique and exotic flowers
Start a part-time gardening services
Invest in sustainable brands
Visit an animal sanctuary
Horse-ride in a mountain
Refurbish old furniture
Bucket list 3: Adventure
Ah! adventure in midlife. Such a cliche, but it’s exhilarating for anyone over 50 to test mental abilities and physical strength. On the other hand, not all adventures require an element of risk. Some experiences are original ideas and activities many don’t consider trying out.
Climb a mountain
Jump into a Pool Fully Clothed (I did it last week and it was tons of fun)
Go to a Murder Mystery Dinner
Ride in a Hot-Air Balloon
Dive into a coral beach
See the northern lights
Go on a safari
Sail a boat
Air Boat Across an alligator-infested swamp
Explore an abandoned cave
Jump off a cliff
Shear a sheep
Fly in a private jet
Drive exotic cars
Bucket list 4: Social
In the hierarchy of needs theory, we learned that self-actualization sits at the top of the pyramid. Therefore, it becomes more relevant in midlife and beyond. We begin to build a sense of giving and self-recognition. We do so because we gathered a treasure of knowledge and wisdom to pass on to others.
Join a board of directors
Mentor a young person
Become an active volunteer
Teach a course
Offer consulting services
Serve food at a soup kitchen
Organize a charity event
Have a meaningful conversation with a stranger
Make a social media post that can go viral
Attend a gallery opening
Be in a commercial or an extra in a movie
Attend New York, Milan, or Paris fashion show
Spend more personal and valuable time with family and friends
Bucket list 5: Self-love
Stress, anxiety, and depression go hand-in-hand with modern life. And they never leave us even as we age. Midlifers encounter different types of stresses that become a menace to wellbeing. Self-love is doing things that make you happy, such as reflecting on youth and finding sentimental values in objects and experiences. So this bucket list must always be the one you keep filling at any age.
Create a family tree
Write a detailed will
Commission an artist to paint your portrait
Get a custom-made (bespoke) dress or bag
Go on a retreat alone
Visit your childhood home, school, and town
Re-unite with distant family and friends
Participate in a 1/2 or full marathon
Take a trip with your mom and dad
Play in a playground
Tatoo your favourite quote or mantra
Meditate every day
Learn Yoga, Tai Chee, and Pilate.
If you are over 40, start creating new goals for yourself. Midlife is the best moment in life when you can begin to fill a bucket list or lists with ideas and activities you’ve always dreamed of doing. I hope this blog offers you some inspiring ideas to add to your bucket list