Setting goals is one of the great joys of living. Making a thoughtful bucket list is a way to organize those goals into a cohesive plan.

I remember making my first bucket list when I was about to turn 30. I did it because life was otherwise fairly miserable and it gave me some things to work toward and to look forward to realizing.

We all love checking things off a list. It gives us a sense of accomplishment. And when we make the list things that we want to do and not necessarily need to do, it's all the more fun and entertaining.

When I made my list (I wish I still had it!), I put actual dates on it to achieve the tasks by a certain time. Some were easy:

  • Eat a bagel.

  • Fly a kite.

  • See a men's urinal (don't laugh! I'd never seen one).

I think it's good to mix it up a little, putting a few easy to-do things in with the things that are more time and resource-draining:

  • Learn to play the violin

  • Learn to speak French

  • Marry my best friend and live on a farm

  • Publish a book

Caroline Ceniza-Levine, a career coach, gives us some things to consider when making your bucket list, or as she calls it, A List of 100 Dreams. In our careers (and yes, motherhood is a career), we focus so much on saving time, a few minutes here and a few there. But do we stop and ask ourselves what we are saving it for?

We focus so much on things we need to do and forget to throw in some wants. She suggests starting with something like these.

  • 10 places you'd like to visit.

  • 10 financial goals you'd like to achieve.

  • 10 restaurants you'd like to try.

  • 10 career goals.

Since some of us don't have 9-5 upwardly mobile careers, I would suggest adding in a few other things like:

  • 10 crafts I'd like to learn so I can start some more things and not finish them.

  • 10 foreign foods I'd like to make and feed my family without them making rude barfing noises at the table.

  • 10 books I'd love to read without being interrupted a hundred times and forced to re-read the same paragraph over and over again.

  • 10 things to do with that zucchini that has taken over my garden and I can't seem to give away because it's taken over everyone else's garden, as well.

  • 10 dates I'd like to go on with my husband and not get called home for some child that has eaten the air freshener thinking it was a gummy snack.

You get the idea.

Here are things I would strongly urge you to avoid on your bucket list:

  • 10 jails I'd like to spend time in.

  • 10 ways to make it look like an accident.

  • 10 celebrities I would stalk if something happened to my spouse.

  • 10 superstitions I'd like to live through.

  • 10 wild animals I'd just as soon raise as these hooligans God gave me.

These are not productive, and will leave you feeling shallow and unfulfilled.

Don't wait until you have a check-out time to start your bucket list. Enjoy it while you still have your health, money, and time. For me, that would be some time before I turned 12. But you get the gist.

These can actually be great productivity tools. If we add things to our lives that give us joy, we feel more inclined to work on the hard things we have to do.

Stop focusing on the hows of all the things hanging over your head (how to make the mortgage payment, how to limp the car along for another two years, how to find five minutes in my day). Those will always be there. Try sprinkling in some "whys." Why would this make me happy? Why would I love to do this? Why have I not done it already?

What would you put on your list of dreams?

PS: In answer to your curiosity, I have eaten a bagel, flown a kite, seen a men's urinal (really?), published a book, and married and lived on a farm. I have not yet mastered the violin or French, but that's alright. I have time.

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