Reverse Bucket List

A few months ago I read a blog post over at About 100%  that talked about a reverse bucket list. My first thought on reading that term was that it was a list of things I never wanted to do. That seemed so much better and easier than the traditional bucket list. I was on board with that  – any excuse to write a list!

Reverse Bucket List

Mentally I started constructing that list as I kept reading the post. As it turns out, Andrea at About 100%  also had the same idea on reading the phrase. Unfortunately for both of us, it really was supposed to be a list of our accomplishments. We were supposed to be grateful and appreciative for what we’ve done.

As I started thinking of what would be on that version of a reverse bucket list, I realized so many of the items I put on it were simply things I happened to have been present for and not something I’d actually caused to happen: Watching a night launch of  the space shuttle, and traveling in both a submerged submarine and a blimp. But then as my list expanded, they really were things I could be proud of  – moving to England, making it through the CERT academy, and becoming a competitive ballroom dancer.

I really have done some cool stuff in my life.

Then I started thinking about my first reverse bucket list – the one full of things that I never want to do. What I realized in a flash of brilliance was the underlying reason why I don’t like regular bucket lists: what we want (or don’t want) changes over time and those items become irrelevant. I thought back to what my “never want to do” list would have looked like at 20. That list would have included traveling to Europe, and up at the top would have been dancing.

I’m so grateful that that list didn’t come true. I am constantly amazed at these signs for how much I have grown over time. Hopefully in 20 years I’ll be this aghast at my “never do” list from today.

When you heard the term “reverse bucket list,” how did you interpret it? or What have you done in your life that makes you proud and still astonishes you when you look back on it?


2 thoughts on “Reverse Bucket List”

  1. I’ve never heard of a “reverse bucket list” before. I’m quite intrigued. Although I don’t know what kind of value you can really have by listing off the things you don’t want to have happen. I’d rather look at life as additive – in other words, seeing what more I can get out of it rather than what I want to avoid. Although there probably is a benefit to knowing what you don’t want though.


  2. I guess that is why the reverse bucket list is supposed to be a list of what has been accomplished.

    I have found in the job search process that having a list of things I never want to do again. It keeps things in perspective so I don’t duplicate errors from the past.


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