4 August 2009, 23:07
I’ve never seen that movie The Bucket List, but was reading about it the other day. The crux of it is this: two elderly men, one of whom is terminally ill, decide to make a list of things they want to achieve before they die. The list reads:
1. Witness something truly majestic
2. Help a complete stranger for the common good
3. Laugh till I cry
4. Drive a Shelby Mustang
5. Kiss the most beautiful girl in the world
6. Get a tattoo
8. Visit Stonehenge
9. Spend a week at the Louvre
10. See Rome
11. Dinner at La Chevre d’Or
12. See the Pyramids
13. Get back in touch
14. Visit Taj Mahal, India
15. Hong Kong
16. Victoria Falls
18. Ride the Great Wall of China
It got me thinking about things that women, specifically, should do in their lifetime. Obviously we all have different priorities — “having a baby” certainly isn’t a universal goal, so it isn’t included here. This is mostly a collection of fun, life-enhancing things that I think everyone should experience.
The list is split into two pieces, with the second part coming soon! I’d love to hear what you think of this list — how many of the items can you check off already? Plenty of these are things I have yet to complete myself, especially number 37!
50. Ride on the back of a motorcycle
When I was about 15 & started dating, my father made me promise never to get on the back of a boy’s motorcycle. I obeyed him, & I’m glad I did. But if, by chance, you meet someone who actually knows how to ride — & is not some inexperienced teenager trying to impress/kill you — & he or she asks you if you want to sit on the back, SAY YES. I had my first motorcycle experience a little while ago & it was an AMAZING feeling. There is really nothing like it. God, it is fun. I am now totally obsessed with it. Sitting on the back of my boyfriend’s motorcycle is my new favourite thing.
49. Date someone who has visible tattoos
Not only because tattoos are hot — which they are — but because it’s eye-opening. It depends on where you live, of course, & some places are more accepting than others, but society tends to treat those with tattoos differently, & if you’re not tattooed yourself, you’ll never really understand that. It’ll give you a realistic impression of what it’s like to be discriminated against on the basis of how you look, & if, for example, you’re a straight white girl living in New Zealand, that might not be something you really have any experience with.
48. Buy a toolkit & learn how to use the things in it
Which is not to say that you need to become plumber extraordinaire, but just that it’s rad to be able to fix your own problems without calling on some dude to help you. Especially since sometimes, there is no dude to be had. You should also learn how to change a tyre, because one day, you’ll really, really wish you knew!
47. Travel alone
It’s safer to do this in some places than others, but travelling alone really shows you what you’re made of. They say travelling with your lover is a good way to work out how compatible the two of you really are, & similarly, travelling by yourself is a great way to learn about who you really are. How do you cope with unexpected stress? How are your interpersonal skills? How outgoing are you? You will get a major wake-up call as to the real crux of your character — which is invaluable.
46. Spend a day at the best spa you can afford
Yep, you might have to save up to do it — most of us do! But if you put aside a little bit of money every week, & maybe hold off on an accessory splurge, soon you’ll have enough to spend a day in the complete lap of luxury. & oh, is it ever worth it! Massages, facials, body scrubs & all kinds of weird but tantalizing treatments could be yours! You’ll walk out of there feeling like a million bucks. It’s an extravagance worth indulging in.
45. Drive quickly
Dangerous? Yes. Stupid? Yes. Totally awesome fun? Yes. My father is an unrepentant speed-demon, & I learned the pleasures of having all the blood sucked to the back of your brain early! I wouldn’t call myself an adrenaline junkie by any stretch of the imagination, but there is really something quite magnificent about going very, very quickly in a car. Mmmm, danger! But — as has been drawn to my attention — do it somewhere you’re supposed to, like a race track!
44. Date someone older than you
...Because the amount you’ll learn from them is astronomical — & you will teach them a lot, too. Honestly, you will probably learn plenty from all of your lovers, regardless of their age, but dating someone who is significantly older than you (5+ years, I’d say) is a real eye-opener. Usually they’ve been around long enough that they’ll call you on your sh!t — which can be a refreshing wake-up call for us entitled girls who are used to dating sycophants! If you never hear the truth about yourself, how can you grow? Right? & it’s great to be with a man who’ll take the lead for a change; it gives us overachievers & control freaks a welcome (& often much-needed) respite!
43. Date someone younger than you
...Because even though they might infuriate you with their seemingly immature ways, again, you’ll both gain plenty from the experience. You’ll (hopefully) learn to be more patient, tolerant & understanding — & maybe you’ll even remember what it’s like to be that age, which will give you an excellent reality check. Additionally, they’ll benefit from your experience & the wisdom (!) of your years. The plan is for you to both leave the relationship feeling enriched & more well-rounded than before. (Fingers crossed on that one!)
42. Live in a foreign country
If you ever want to feel the satisfaction of having done something really tricky — something a lot of people never even attempt — pack your bags & move to a different country. It sounds simple in theory (pack bags, get on plane, find apartment, get job) but it is full of ridiculous obstacles & hurdles, the likes of which you have never even considered before. Even moving from New Zealand to Australia is pretty intense, let alone moving from America to Russia or from Poland to Japan. People who manage to do those things have my eternal respect! There is almost nothing that will make you feel more bold & proud of yourself. If you can do that, baby, you can do anything.
41. Have a romance with someone who doesn’t speak English
I don’t actually have any personal experience with this one — it just sounds really romantic & magical. I don’t know how you would communicate — voracious eyebrow wiggling? Extreme, bordering-on-violent gesticulation? — but the concept sounds marvellous. Have any of you done this? How does it work?! Curious minds want to know!
40. Meet one of your idols
There’s no telling how it will go — maybe it will be incredible, maybe it will be disappointing — but it will remind you that everyone is human. For some reason, realising that the people you admire are just as human as your best friend or the milkman is very empowering. After all, the people who do fantastic, amazing things are just the same as you or I — which can give you the boost you need to make great things happen too.
39. Do something your friends don’t approve of
As wonderful as our friends are, they don’t always know what is best for us. Only you know that for yourself. While they may wheedle, cajole & pester you about things, your life is your own. What you end up doing against their advice might be a huge mistake, but that’s okay too! You are entitled to live however you want, & it’s really only through making mistakes that we learn how to do things properly anyway!
38. Delve into your personal psychology
Don’t be afraid of who you are & where you come from. Take stock of it. Think about your past & recognise what has shaped you into the person you are today, because it will help you understand yourself better. It will give you insight into why you make the choices you do, why you react in a certain way to various things, & give you clues as to how you can grow up & move forward. Otherwise you might find yourself stuck in the same old habits, trying to escape yourself but never quite managing it — which is no way to live. Knowledge is power, after all!
37. Be proud of your smile & your laugh
Hey, we aren’t all Julia Roberts (& yay for that!). Some of us have crooked teeth; some of us have no teeth at all. Some of us laugh like machine guns, while others scream uproariously in a way which makes onlookers stare & gape. But that’s just how you are, & it’s rad! Being happy is wonderful & it would be such a shame not to share that with the world because you’re embarrassed or shy. Just let it go. Smile more. You’ll feel better, & so will everyone around you. Plus, you can contribute to this!
36. Live by yourself
Living by yourself is the ultimate dream of most teenagers, & it’s a truly wonderful day when that all comes to fruition. No one to tell you to turn down your music, to do your dishes, to pick your towel up off the floor… Bliss. No roommates to be considerate of & no closet space needing to be shared — you can spread your cosmetics out everywhere, put your shoes wherever you like & burn all the stinky incense you want. It is the most delightful thing ever!
35. Learn to say no
A lot of us are taught to spare other people’s feelings, & in no other way is this more evident than when someone asks us to do something we don’t want to do. Often we will allow ourselves to go along with it just to avoid an awkward situation or to save the other person from feeling uncomfortable. In the process, we make martyrs of ourselves & chip away at our own self-esteem. It’s important to learn to say NO when people ask us to do things which are not in our best interests. It will free you from unnecessary burdens, prove how much strength you really have, & make you feel really good about yourself.
34. Give time to a cause you believe in
Politics? Religion? The environment? Education? Animal rights? Whatever it is that gets you worked up, don’t just sit around & complain, get involved! Start taking positive, forward-thinking action & see what you can do to help the situation. Raise money, do research, volunteer your time, spread the word — it’ll give you an incredible sense of purpose, & plus, people need your help. If you’ve ever idly considered helping out at a soup kitchen or doing some work at a crisis centre, now’s the time to act on it. Really.
33. Forgive your parents for whatever they did wrong
No one is perfect, & your parents aren’t exempt from that rule. Everyone thinks their parents did a crappy job in one area or another, & some of us are still mad at them for things which happened when we were 5, 10 or 15 years old. The thing is that our parents could only do the best they could with the information they had — which in most cases, was how their parents treated them. Being angry at them for not being Mother or Father Of The Year is a waste of energy & will impact on everything else in your life. Decide to forgive them, & then do whatever it takes to make that happen.
32. Have some photos taken of you that you really like
If for no other reason so that you’ll have a reminder of how smokin’ hot & faaaaabulous you were in your youth!
31. Learn to drive
Even if you have no desire to own a car or really do any driving at all, having the skill is essential. You don’t need to be incredible at it, just take a couple of lessons. You never know what kind of situation you might end up in where you NEED to know how to drive — like if you’re in an emergency & need to get out of there, or your friend needs to go to the hospital urgently. It’s also very freeing to able to hire a car when you go on holiday: you’re no longer at the mercy of public transport or your friends.
30. Become a better public speaker
Just like with driving, even if you have no intention of becoming Tony Robbins, being a good public speaker is a fantastic skill to have under your belt. What if your best friend gets married, or you’re asked to make an important presentation at work? Knowing how to project your voice, look at the audience & stand still makes all the difference, & will stop you from looking terrified (even if you are)!
29. Understand how fortunate you really are
...& be appreciative of it. Life is full of beauty & blessings, & it’s really easy to get sucked down into a hole of misery. If you suspect (or have been told) that you complain a lot, start doing Things I Love Thursday, or keep a gratitude list, or just smile more often! You don’t have to be all unicorn vomit all the time, but training yourself to see the silver lining in a vicious storm cloud is a fantastic skill.
28. Break your destructive patterns
What’s your vice? Bouncing from one codependent relationship to the next? A weekend drug habit? Compulsive shoe shopping? Everyone has something they could improve on, or something they would benefit from removing from their life. Be an adult, recognise what it is, & then get the help you need. Read a book, see a therapist, get clean… Whatever it is, only YOU have the ability to change YOUR life. So change it!
27. Evolve your look & scare yourself (often!)
One thing I’ve noticed, when I take men shopping, is that when I encourage them to buy something a little bit outside of their comfort zone, that is always the thing they end up wearing the most — because it takes them a little bit of courage to put it on in the first place, but it looks so great that the feedback they get is immensely positive. & who doesn’t want to be told they look fantastic? So my point is: don’t wear the same thing from age 15 through to 75. Take chances. Try new things. Buy an intimidating pair of boots, or a sequinned jacket, or a bizarre hat. You’re not stuck — you are changing all the time, & the things you wear are one of the fastest ways of communicating that. So mix it up: find clothing that expresses how you are, & WHO you are, right now!
26. Take a risk & prove the naysayers wrong
This could be anything, from starting ballet lessons at age 30 to deciding to raise your child alone, but all I know is there’s nothing better than overcoming the odds & proving that you DO have what it takes. You will feel so proud of yourself — it will be the start of a beautiful new relationship within, where you recognise your own strength & start to push limits you never would have touched before. People are always going to dislike things about you, think they can tell you what to do & feel they’re owed an explanation for the way you live your life, but you don’t owe anyone anything. Do your damn thing!
25. Fall devastatingly, helplessly, head-over-heels in love
Oh honeypuff. There are no guarantees in life, & while I would love to tell that you’ll get the fairytale ending you’re looking for, that isn’t necessarily true. Love can hurt, & so some people avoid it, or keep themselves guarded, or always have one foot out the door. The thing is that if you don’t take chances, you might miss out on the most incredible thing to ever happen to you — the experience of falling in love with someone who shakes your world up like never before. Even if you’ve been hurt in the past, do everything you can to push past that. Otherwise you’ll never be able to fully give yourself to someone else, & they won’t be able to share all of themselves with you either. Staying true & honest & open, as if it wasn’t reward enough in itself, can unlock a multitude of incredible experiences & show you what real love is all about.
How about you? Do you have a list of things you want to achieve in your lifetime? What do you really want to do?
Stayed tuned for part two!