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How a Reverse Bucket List Can Reboot and Reignite Your Life and Your Career

By Rita Wilkins October 18, 2023 Mindset

One of the most talked about subjects of our time and at this stage of our lives, is how to successfully navigate uncertain times so we can not only survive, but thrive in life. In Bruce Feiler’s book, Life Is in the Transitions, he refers to times of great upheaval and uncertainty as “Life Quakes.”

He defines them as massive life changes, either voluntary or involuntary, that cause us to dig deeply, to think differently so we can come out on the other side stronger AND better.

The Gift of Time

The years after 60 can be a wonderful opportunity to slow down, rethink, and reconsider “what’s next.” They give us the “gift” of time – one that we have never experienced before in our lifetimes. Embracing this pause, we can be more intentional when we pivot from the life we have been living to the life we’ve dreamed about.

This is, of course, the life we put on the back burner or on our “someday” list. It’s the life filled with passion, purpose, and meaning.

Now, more than ever before, is the perfect time to reimagine, reboot, and reignitebour lives and our careers so that our Third Act is our best act yet in spite of all that we might be going through.

5 Statements to Consider

Have you found yourself saying one of these:

“Life is just too short, and I’m running out of time to follow my dreams.”

“I just can’t do this (job) anymore.”

“I’ve been asking myself if this is all there is.”

“I want and need so much more (fulfillment, joy, happiness).”

“It’s time for me finally!”

Just like you, many midlife women are facing similar “Life Quakes,” some from their own choosing and some that were thrust upon them.

The Life Quakes We Face

Demanding Career

Perhaps you have chosen to leave an extremely fast-paced, “always-on” career that, while financially rewarding, is physically and emotionally draining. You are now ready to discover a more balanced lifestyle business; one that affords you more time and freedom.

Switching Direction

You would like to explore a completely new direction in your life and in your business; one that will make you feel fully alive and on fire, living your passion, purpose and the “why that makes you cry.”

New Reality

You are faced with a sudden new reality of job loss, death of a spouse, serious diagnosis. You are wanting to – or having to – reengage in the workforce to supplement your income.

Facing Fear

You are in unfamiliar territory. You’re afraid. You’re stuck. You know you have to do something, but you don’t know how. Change is never easy, so how can you turn these challenges into opportunities?

What Is a Reverse Bucket List

We are all familiar with the Traditional Bucket List (TBL) – that well-worn list that helps us step out of our comfort zones, push us to do things we always wanted to do, but never thought we would… or could.

The TBL is aspirational and great for moving us forward. However, it leaves us feeling guilty, reminding us of all of the things we still haven’t done. It’s like having a “to do” list hanging over our head.

Conversely, the Reverse Bucket List (RBL) is inspirational. It helps us reflect and focus on all that we have already accomplished in life, including the big things and the important “little things.” Things that make us proud, lessons we have learned, experiences and people that have shaped who we are today and have given our life meaning.

It helps us to acknowledge ourselves and to be grateful for who we are and who we have become. An RBL boosts our self-esteem, gives us perspective, and can serve as a great reminder when we feel discouraged.

The Reverse Bucket List is a motivational tool that will help you reconnect with the dreams you once had but might have forgotten. It will inspire you to create new goals by identifying when you were happiest, when you were most fulfilled so you can “repeat” or create new experiences like those that gave your life meaning.

The RBL can be an invaluable catalyst to see your life through a new lens so you can think differently as you are creating a bold new vision for the life you want to have as you carve out “what’s next” in your future.

Why Do You Need a Reverse Bucket List?

Here are my top 10 ways you can use a RBL to reignite and reboot your life and career:


Your personal and professional goals and experiences, the lives you have impacted, the obstacles you have overcome, your proudest moments can provide a new-found appreciation, gratitude, and respect for all that you’ve already accomplished.


Don’t disregard those hard-earned skills that helped you move forward in spite of challenges. Connect the dots with what you most enjoy doing with your passion, purpose, and unique gifts.


Consider the following questions:

  • What did you fight for?
  • Which values are non-negotiable?
  • What is the “why that makes you cry?”

Insight and Perspective

  • What were you doing when you lost all track of time?
  • When did you feel most fulfilled, regardless of whether you were compensated or not?
  • What surprised you the most?

Deeper Connection

  • What do you want more of in your life? Why don’t you have that now?
  • What do you want less of? Are there things you need to let go of?
  • What do you yearn for that you don’t have now?

Vision and Blueprint

Start dreaming again without putting limits to your dreams. Big dreams, little dreams. New dreams, old dreams. Design the life you want now.


Create goals that match your vision. Commit to a plan of action and create a realistic timeline to implement it.

Learning to Live Your Life on the Skinny Branches

Commit to stepping out of your comfort zone. Do what scares you. Stop playing small. This will lead you to the life you want so can live with no regrets.


You will need a team of like-minded people who will support and challenge you. They will help you brainstorm ideas, expand your dreams and goals, help you accomplish them, and hold you accountable.


Finally, don’t just stand there. Celebrate the promise of your new life. The one you get to design. A life that is meaningful, fulfilling, and allows you to make a difference not just for yourself, but for others.

If you want to thrive in your Third Act, and live the life you really want, now is the perfect time to reboot and reignite your life and career.

Regardless of your life situation, it’s almost certain that when you rediscover your passion and purpose, not only will you be utilizing your unique gifts, talents, and resources, but you will also be living a life of freedom, fulfillment, and joy!

This would be a life where work feels like play. Where you can make a good income have a big impact. Where you can hardly wait to start your day!  

Let’s Have a Conversation:

What “Life Quakes” have you experienced? Have you asked yourself “what’s next?” What do you want to have more of – or less of – in your life? I would love to hear from you! Please join the conversation!

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The Author

Rita Wilkins, known as The Downsizing Designer, is a nationally recognized interior design and lifestyle design expert, Tedx speaker and author of Downsize Your Life, Upgrade Your Lifestyle: Secrets to More Time, Money and Freedom. She challenges baby boomer audiences to reimagine, reinvent, redesign their lives to live abundantly with less. Learn more at

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