The following article is by Kristi Muse, our staff writer. She is a freelance writer, blogger, police officer’s wife, and stay at home mom of two.
It’s a shame that too many people think that they don’t have to worry their bucket list until they’re older or in retirement. Bucket lists aren’t just a theoretical list of items that people in retirement homes sit around talking about but never actually doing.
Our bucket lists should serve as a life creed to live by and aspire to. They should be inspiring us and driving us to push our limits and live the most rewarding and memorable lives possible.
I don’t want to be in my 80s and have to live with the regret of not starting my bucket list sooner. Here are 5 reasons that I won’t be saving my bucket list for retirement, and neither should you.
1. Some things are best done when you’re young
I’d like to think that I’ll be as cool as George Bush Sr. and celebrate my 90th birthday by parachute jumping. Honestly though, I’d like to cross those kinds of activities off of my bucket list while I’m young. Even if I make it to 90, I probably won’t have the stamina to enjoy parachute jumping at that age.
You don’t have to be retired to start checking items off of your bucket list. Right now, I’m still young, and I love the thrill of adventure and exploring new places. I currently have the energy to cross the crazier items off of my bucket list, and I want to take advantage of that energy while I can.
2. There are no guarantees in life
As our $100 bill friend once said, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” There are no guarantees in life. I think probably because my husband has such a high risk job, I tend to think about the inevitable more often than most.
As morbid as it can be to think about, death is waiting for all of us. It could be 60 years down the road or it could be tomorrow. I would hate to miss out on life-changing opportunities today because I am saving all of my money for tomorrow. I want to live in the moment as much as possible.
I’m not advocating that people should go blow all of their money on fun things because the grim reaper is lurking around the corner. You should absolutely be responsible and have a nest egg building for retirement. Even though you should plan for tomorrow, it’s still important to acknowledge that tomorrow may never come.
3. There’s more to life than saving money
Money is important. It makes life easier and more enjoyable. Money gives you options, and I can think of nothing worse than being stuck in a horribly run-down facility when I’m elderly, with no choices in my care. That being said though, there’s more to life than saving money. I don’t want to reach my 80s and 90s with no memories made, no adventures had, and a pile of money in the bank.
My retirement goal is to have enough money to live comfortably and pursue my passions. I want to be set financially when I’m no longer working, but I don’t want to live the first part of my life as a pauper either, by saving all of my money for retirement. It’s important to strike a good balance between saving enough money for a comfortable retirement as well as remembering to live in the moment.
4. You should never stop adding to your bucket list
Bucket lists should change along with you. As you go through life, you should be scratching things off of your list and adding more and more items to it. Update your bucket list every year. Bucket lists aren’t just for Morgan Freeman characters dying of cancer. Don’t wait until you think your life is over to start checking things off of your list.
5. Working on your bucket list now will actually help prepare you for retirement
If you’re living in the moment now, you will be able to scratch at least a few items off your list every year. Your bucket list can be used as a tool to plan for retirement if you use it to figure out which activities mean the most to you. As you update your list annually and draw closer to retirement, you’ll be able to better understand how you want to focus your time and money in your retirement years.
Are you living in the moment?
Ask yourself if you are living the life you want to live. Are you happy with your life, or are you single-mindedly pushing for retirement and money security at the expense of your happiness? Save for retirement and earn as much money as you can, but not at the expense of your sanity. Don’t forget to live your life for today, because there might not be a tomorrow.
Not all of the items on my bucket list are things that I will be able to do this year or even in the next few years. There are a few items I can get started with soon, but others will need to be further in the future. I understand that there are no guarantees in life though, so I certainly won’t be waiting until retirement to get started.
Here are the top ten items on my own bucket list:
- Go paragliding
- Learn to drive a stick shift (namely, my husband’s 1984 CJ-7 Jeep)
- Travel through India
- Live in a foreign country for at least a year
- Write a book
- Learn how to hunt
- Go cave diving
- Earn my pilot’s license
- Hike the entire Appalachian Trail
- Learn how to sail a sailboat
What’s on your bucket list? Are you checking items off now, or are you waiting for retirement?
Image credit: by mypubliclands