In the movie, “The Bucket List,” Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, both dying, create a wish list of things to do before they die — their “bucket list.” I got to thinking, why not create a list of what’sin my bucket now, rather than what I still want to fill it with?
Most of us know that when we appreciate what we have instead of looking at what we don’t, we’ve got our hands on a pretty powerful elixir. Appreciation is like a drug. Just taking a few minutes a day to appreciate what we’re grateful for can make us more energetic, confident, flexible, creative, open, connected, happy, able and strong.
So here’s perhaps the first ever “What’s In My Bucket List.” While it’s a bit random, it’s a bucket-full of things I have, am grateful for and have learned so far.
My “What’s In My Bucket List”
llustration ©Riva Greenberg
1. I’ve had, and have, lots of love in my life and many opportunities to love. I have a loving, supportive husband, great friends and family members I still talk to.
2. I’ve wondered for decades what my mission was, and because I never stopped asking the question, I found the answer. Now I live it in the work I do every day.
3. I have a chronic illness — type 1 diabetes — that has given me greater empathy for others and shown me my strengths and determination in a way that I can’t deny.
4. I never lacked for food or shelter, not even when I fed for years on tuna subs (college) and shelter was an attic apartment where I slept with a frying pan (also college, but alas another story).
5. I had two girls bully me throughout junior high school, which gave me the resolve to always fight for the underdog, and I always do.
6. I may not be the brightest bulb in the box, but I am persistent and persistence has brought me everything. It allowed me to find a home where I wanted to live and gave me a magazine column I wanted to write.
7. People have always trusted me with their heartaches and secrets. I have always relished that trust.
8. I’ve learned the power of language: Stop using “can’t,” “don’t,” “should.” Start using “yet.”
9. Vegetables are my drug and will pave my way into heaven
10. I try to meet people where they are without judgment. After all, if I’m not always having a great day why should I expect that they are?
11. I’ve learned that doing more of what I love, more often, makes everything better. I prescribe it to others.
12. I spend more time acknowledging the small successes on the way to wherever I’m going. Those small successes are where I experience my growth, and they give my work its delight and sense of play.
13. I’m grateful for the people who seem to just show up in my life, who are kind and help me on this journey. They are the sunshine that gets me through the darker days.
14. I’ve learned that being bold is not about ego, but inspiring others. I’ve also learned, even if I embarrass myself, everyone else is too self-absorbed to notice or remember.
15. Most of all I’ve learned the only thing to be is authentically me. How I wish I had known this when I was younger!
I plan to renew this list every year. I know looking at what’s in my bucket makes me happier now and is a pretty good way to avoid regrets when the end comes.
What’s on your “What’s In My Bucket List”? Writing one is a great way to see how much you already have.
Originally published on Huffington Post.