Anti-bucket list

What items are on your anti-bucket list? More importantly, why are they there?

Without question, our hopes and dreams tell a lot about us. Shouldn’t an anti-bucket list do the same thing?

On the other hand, why write about the negatives when you can focus on the positives?

An anti-bucket list isn’t just a litany of things you don’t like or dreams you’ve given up on. It’s a chance to explain what makes you tick, to write about the lesser-known side(s) of yourself. Writing about your dreams is important. But, life’s realities matter too. As wonderful as rainbows and ponies are, sometimes the deepest connections result from knowing understanding the negatives.

Another reason to compile an anti-bucket list: Sometimes things are conspicuous by their absence. However, when you simply omit items, your loved ones infer things that you might prefer to explain. For instance, though I might notice that traveling the world isn’t on your bucket list, I won’t know what to make of it. All I know is that it isn’t a priority for you. On the other hand, if you write about why you’re a homebody, I get to know you better.

Besides, it doesn’t have to be that negative. Perhaps a reality is just a reality—not a dashed hope. Perhaps you abandoned your dreams because your priorities changed. You can also infuse humor in your explanations, like Jordyn’s on Almost Supermom.

Things You Have No Interest In

Okay, that does sound negative. However, it’s not just what leaves you cold. It’s why. With explanation, it can reveal a lot about you. For instance, I have no desire to climb Mt. Everest. That can tell you more about me than I don’t fancy nearly freezing to death or stretching myself to my physical limits. I can explain that I’m easily thrilled. A wildflower or bird sighting can make my heart sing.

Things you no longer dream of

What dreams have you abandoned or given up on? Why? Did you lack the funding or talent? For instance, did you dream of becoming a world-class violinist but found you were talented but not gifted? Have you adapted your dreams? Does Mt. Kilimanjaro take the place of Mt. Everest on your bucket list?

Things you’re no longer able to do

These anti-bucket list items give you a chance to address the realities of your situation—and how you feel about them. Are you limited by health? Age? Have you reconciled yourself to other dreams or are your limitations a thorn in your side?

Dreams you’ve out-grown

What did you dream as a young person? Why have these goals fallen off the list? What new dreams have replaced them?

Hopefully, as we’ve aged, we’ve gained wisdom. How did you collect wisdom or insight? Did you choose family over career? These are great stories!

Things that are against your personal code

Is owning a private island off your list because you believe deeply in living simply? Are tattoos taboos because of religious reasons or are you too indecisive to think of something that you’ll still like in ten years?

Again, this opens doors to talk about how your beliefs shaped your dreams (and vice versa)! Just be careful to avoid a sermon. You want to illuminate, not proselytize.

What to do with your anti-bucket list

When you’re finished, you won’t simply have a list of things that reveal your personality. You’ll have a list of things to write about in more depth. Explore them—they make great stories and essays.

Your turn:

What leads you anti-bucket list? Why?

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