I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what makes people ultimately happy as well as myself, and that can be a pretty diverse subject given everybody has different goals, passions and things that they want out of life. With that in mind I wanted to put together a list of things that I believe would give nearly everybody some memories to look back on with fondness as they ponder their life in their final days. Some will be more specific and others will be broader, but all will be important in my opinion.
Leaving something behind:
- Making your mark on the world before you go is a goal for many people, but it can also come in many forms. For some their “mark” is their company they started that grows and becomes successful beyond themselves, for others, it’s a novel they spend years creating and for some it’s simply just raising a family that can carry on your traditions and values to the next generation. No matter what your mark is, make sure you know it, make sure you aren’t left with no time on the clock wishing you could still leave one.
Knowing you at least tried:
- One fear of mine and many others has been the fear of “what if”. I don’t want to be that guy on his deathbed who looks back at his life with regret, especially regrets that I could change right now in this moment where I currently exist. Do you have a business you want to start? THEN START MAKING PLANS AND STOP MAKING EXCUSES. Do you want to travel more? THEN START MAKING PLANS AND STOP MAKING EXCUSES. Reference the “Getting out of your comfort zone” bullet below as I feel it goes well with this topic and remember, you’ll only be answering to yourself in those final days.
Impacting other people:
- This one is HUGE. Think to yourself, when you look back on your life in your final days, will you get more satisfaction out of the money you made, the things you collected or would you get more satisfaction out of the fact that you know you directly helped or influenced others to help people who need it most. This doesn’t have to be directly related to charity causes or homelessness, but it can be as simple as being genuine and honest with people who need it. I was an Army recruiter for a few years as well as a tech recruiter and I helped people either get away from a bad home life or get started in the career they were aiming for resulting in their success. The fact that I was able to influence these people and others positively makes me feel more fulfilled and happy with my performance as a human in my short existence.
- There’s levels to this one. When it comes to “pushing yourself”, whether it be physically, emotionally or otherwise, it’s subjective and depends on your own perspective. What is considered “pushing oneself” for one person, might be easy for another depending on how hard you’ve been “pushed” in the past. So this will require an honest analysis of yourself and your own capabilities. For me, I served 10 years in the U.S. Army as a Paratrooper. I had to push myself running many miles, sleep deprivation, many months away from friends and family. I will be able to look back on this and other times of my life knowing that I did indeed push myself in life. Have you?
Getting out of your comfort zone:
- We all get comfortable, and when we get comfortable we don’t want to ruin it by shaking things up, but you can still be stagnant in life even being comfortable. The best way I’ve found to do this is to take a chance and just DO IT! An example I’ll give is after I get home from work, I’ll eat some food and as soon as I relax on the couch a friend texts me and says “Hey lets hang out tonight”, “have a fire”, “go pick up that thing we were supposed to get” or something similar. It could be easy to justify staying on the couch and some days I do this for sure, but I’m trying harder and harder to say “YES”, get my butt off the couch and DO SOMETHING and since I’ve been doing this, I’ve noticed that I NEVER regret doing that other (usually more productive/memorable) thing.
- One of my favorite quotes about travel comes from Mark Twain “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” This quote alone explains why it’s healthy, but for me, traveling let’s you see and appreciate the world you live in without stagnating in one country or area. I have many great memories and experiences that I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life. Travel more.
- This might come as an obvious for most, but there are a large number of people out there who say things like “I’m never getting married or having kids” as they think that “freedom” will give them happiness. From what I’ve observed in my own life and looking at others I can say I would never want to live a version of my life where I didn’t have a wife, children and family that I care for, this alone is the biggest item on my Bucket-list.
I hope this article at least helped put you into a new frame of thinking when it comes to your bucket list and what you want to get out of life. Life, no matter your experience in it, is still Amazing and to waste that experience would be the biggest regret of all.