Do you remember The Bucket List, the 2007 movie starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman? It popularized the idea of coming up with a list of things to do and places to see before your days are done. Whether it’s skydiving, attending a lion safari in Tanzania, or some other adventure, a bucket list became a way to set a goal around achieving certain life experiences.
Recently, the Wall Street Journal published an article from a therapist who said some of his clients, “Rather than feeling exhilarated by a life of bucket-list adventures, often end up feeling depressed and disconnected.” He went on to say, “As they travel the world to soak up experiences, too many seniors inevitably lose track of what really matters—their connections to family, friends and community.” That’s unfortunate. If people use their bucket list to escape their home life and avoid personal communication with family, then sure, the bucket list is a bad idea. But today, I want to talk about a few bucket-list worthy ideas that enable you to deepen your connection to your family and friends while also experiencing the best of what our world has to offer.
Bucket List Ideas
Which of these 5 bucket list ideas excite you the most?
1. Go on a river cruise in Europe.
Getting on a huge ship with thousands of other people to cruise the Caribbean may or may not be your idea of fun. Cruising a river in Europe is a completely different experience. You’re on a much smaller boat, you’re never far from land, and frequent stops make it easy to experience Europe’s rich history. To make it even more special, make it a generational event and bring your kids and grandkids along.
2. Revisit a childhood passion.
As a kid, many of us had a passion. Why not go back and revisit what got you so excited as a youngster? I have a client who became a competitive cyclist—in his 70s. Another client rekindled his interest in drawing. And several of my clients are Eagle Scouts who are now back in Scouting and mentoring the boys and donating lots of time. There’s no reason why we have to “grow out of” what interested us as kids.
3. Take up a new hobby or a volunteer activity.
Learning new things helps keep you young. For example, I know people who retired from their main career and became museum docents. Learning about art, giving tours, attending lectures, traveling to museums, and meeting all kinds of new people brought a new sense of meaning into these people’s lives.
4. Appreciate people who shaped your life.
All of us have mentors, teachers, pastors, family, friends or colleagues who were a positive influence on our lives. Take a moment to call them, visit them, or send them a letter (no email), and let them know what they mean to you. Imagine if you were on the receiving end of this acknowledgement? It’s very powerful not just to the receiver, but to the giver, too.
5. Take one-on-one trips with your kids or grandkids.
Sometimes, we just need to spend quality one-on-one time with our loved ones. It doesn’t have to be big or elaborate. Even spending an afternoon together walking in nature, attending a game, or doing a volunteer activity together could do wonders for your relationship. I’ve been taking one-on-one trips with my kids for years and I can vouch for the quality time, conversations and bonding that happen on these trips.
If taking a trip with your extended family or some other adventure sounds like a wonderful idea and you’re wondering, “Can I afford it?” let’s talk about it. While you may have to make some tradeoffs, we have various ways to analyze your situation and “levers to pull,” so if it’s important enough to you, we’ll help find a way to make it happen.
Bill Keen is a CHARTERED RETIREMENT PLANNING COUNSELOR℠ and independent financial advisor with more than 25 years of industry experience. As the founder and CEO of Keen Wealth Advisors, a registered investment advisory firm, he specializes in providing personalized retirement planning designed to help people thrive before and during their retirement years. With a passion for educating others, Bill regularly blogs about retirement planning, hosts the podcast Keen on Retirement, and has contributed to U.S. News and World Report, Reuters, Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch, Yahoo Finance, and other publications. Based in Overland Park, Kansas, Bill and his team work with clients throughout the greater Kansas City area and across the nation. To learn more, connect with him on LinkedIn or visit www.keenwealthadvisors.com.
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