Why you should have a bucket list

I’ve long wanted to hike the Appalachian Trail. Walking the 2,178-mile footpath is on my bucket list — my list of things I want to do in my lifetime (before I kick the bucket).

It’s more than a list of my goals — it’s a compilation of my dreams. We often work toward our goals, but leave our dreams to the wayside, hoping they might happen on their own. But you have to work toward your dreams just like you work toward your goals. You have to make those dreams happen.

That’s why it’s so important to have a bucket list. Writing those dreams on paper turns them into goals, makes them attainable, tangible, doable — aspirations to work toward, instead of pipe dreams that might eventually happen.

What does this have to do with writing? Everything. Writing a book, a travel memoir specifically, has been on my bucket list for years. (So was backpacking through Africa.)

My list keeps me moving forward. It’s a reminder of what I have to look forward to, as well as what I’ve accomplished. (The author of a blog I read regularly, Starfish Envy, has a bucket list, too!)

So what’s on my bucket list? Here’s a sampling:

Write a book
Backpack through Africa
Teach a class
Go bungee jumping
Get paid to play piano on a cruise ship
Run a marathon
Coach a softball team
Backpack through Latin America
Learn Spanish
See more of the world (this has its own list)
Earn a master’s degree
Research my family’s genealogy
Lead a Girl Scout troop
Hike the Appalachian Trail
Have kids

What’s on your bucket list? More importantly, what’s keeping you from crossing off those items?