So many of the women I talk to each day through my blog at Life Balance After 50 know that they want to continue to be active and busy and doing all of the things on what we are calling “the right side of 50.”
They may be looking to stop or cut back at their current job or maybe they were at-home moms and now, with their kids grown, are empty nesters. They’re overall happy and satisfied with their situations in general but just know there’s more that they want to be doing.
And, so many of them aren’t sure what that “more” is, exactly.
I first direct them to my workbook with reflective journal prompts. I encourage them to sit down, pour a glass of wine or a cup of tea or coffee, set a timer for at least 30 minutes and reflect. Reflect on:
#1: What they’ve done up until this point and the parts of it they’ve loved as well as those they’ve not enjoyed as much;
#2: Their ideal day and week.
But sometimes these prompts aren’t enough. And then we dive into the bucket list. Why is the bucket list important?
Provided you create it without censoring yourself. It’s not an “if this happens, then I would want to do this.” No. It’s your bucket list. The things that you want to do for yourself. You may need to hold off on doing some of the things, but they need to be on your bucket list, regardless.
Keep in mind, your list doesn’t have to be experiences like skydiving or traveling around the world in 80 days. It can be “I want to have a weekend at the beach alone once a month for a year.”
Start with an uncensored brain dump and then go back and create your list from that.
Take a look at your bucket list and decide which thing you’d like to try first. Then, start taking the steps to make that thing happen. It may require some planning and talking to others in your life about it. Set your timeline goals and start working on them.
Lucy decided that she wanted to tour five different cities within the year. She began by telling her husband and asking if he wanted to go with her. Then she sat down with a map and figured out which cities she would visit.
She chose cities that were no more than a 4-hour train ride from her in any direction so that she wouldn’t be gone for more than a day or two. She then scheduled her first city tour.
If you’ve truly done a brain dump and created a true bucket list, some of the things on it might seem super exciting but a little scary! And they should! Especially when you are actually doing them.
But facing those fears and doing the thing anyway is one of the BEST feelings in the world.
My husband ran his first 5K a couple of years ago. He said that at the starting point he was thinking to himself, “What the heck am I doing here?” At the finish, he said to himself, “When can I do that again?” THAT is exactly what you want to feel.
When I had the opportunity to spend an evening all alone at my son’s lake house, I took it. I am never alone and very much enjoy my alone time. But when I got there, I was surprised to find that I had some anxiety coming up.
I considered going home. But I knew how much I had been looking forward to that time and how much I love my alone time. I also knew how disappointed I would be on every level if I didn’t see this opportunity through. So, I stayed. And, like my husband, I’m wondering when I can do it again.
Looking at this list and visualizing yourself doing the things on it energizes you. Planning for the things or taking steps to get yourself closer to doing them gives you a reason to get up early in the morning. Something to look forward to. Your joy.
Lisa Condie was a divorced empty nester housewife from Salt Lake City, Utah who was trying to figure out what she was going to do next. She took a trip to Italy (and was terrified doing it on her own).
While there, she decided that when she got home she was going to pack up and move to Italy to live. Three months later, she did just that and ended up starting a travel agency that catered to groups of women touring Italy.
Had she not gone there for that three-week trip, moving to Italy would never have occurred to her as a life choice. Your bucket list gives you things to try to see what might really click.
This is not to say that we don’t love the things in our lives – our work, our families, our grandchildren, our senior parents. But we can love those things and look forward to doing the things for ourselves as well as we enter the right side of 50!
What sort of things are on your bucket list? What steps are you taking to start making some of those things happen? Are you afraid of what you listed? What would it take you to overcome your fear? Please share with the community!