We’ve all got a bucket list. Whether we call it that or something similar. The things we’d love to do if we had a million bucks, more time, the right circumstances, when we graduate. But more often the longer we leave the bucket list, until it becomes just that: a bucket of lists. And then yes, maybe you will need a million pounds because there’s so much to get done on the list!
But just because it’s on a bucket list does not mean it’s unobtainable. Sure, when I was five I wanted to live in a mansion; as an adult I get how much that would cost and have decided that’s not for me. I’ll take a couple of small flats across the world instead thank you very much. Visiting Bali and going shopping in New York were on my bucket list at 16 and I still plan to get around to those as well.
Dreams don’t have to stay the same either. Sometimes it looks great when someone else has or does something, but if you really thought about it, you don’t actually want it for yourself. For example, at sixteen I wrote down that I wanted to buy a flat in Sevilla, own a walk-in wardrobe and visit the Walk of Fame in Hollywood. But when I actually think about it, they aren’t really things that resonate with me anymore. The Sevilla flat looked fun on Google, I only picked a walk-in wardrobe because Carrie Bradshaw seemed happier when she had one and the Walk of Fame came up from someone’s gap year photos when I was sat bored in my A-Level classes.
- Your dreams have to resonate with you. Resonate strong enough for you to want to take them on otherwise they really are just dreams because they will only be in your head. At 16 the following were on my list:
*To speak Italian, Spanish, French and Portuguese fluently.
*To pass my practical driving test first time.
*Learn to surf in water.
*Get a tummy piercing.
While I’m not quite fluent in Italian, I was at one point or another fluent in the other three languages because I studied and lived abroad. Language learning is and has always been a passion of mine.
While I actually passed my practical the second time, not first, it was down to circumstance that I passed second time. But again, I had to want it enough to pass. To practice and not give up. And then I passed with only two (very silly) minors – in the UK we were allowed 14 minors.
Surfing happened because I lived on an island famous for surf for a year. Seemed stoopid not to. And I got my tummy pierced with a friend of mine because we had a spare day one summer when we were 19.
Want it enough, and the pieces honestly fall into place. When I was thinking about living comfortably in London with a job that supported me and gave me the space to be creative but also enjoyed, you have to get passed the people who tell you it’s hard to find ‘at my age’. It has to be stronger than the naysayers and get you up on the coldest of mornings.
- Plan them. Half the reason dreams stay dreams are because people don’t plan for them. Again, all the while it is in your head, it will only ever be a dream! Buy a diary, use your phone calendar. Start from the end day that you will make that dream have happened by and work backwards. Breaking it down into the necessary steps up to today, this moment, where you take the first step.
*When I planned for my current job, I put in my diary that I would be celebrating with my housemate on January 31st, and worked the steps backwards from there. It’s much more realistic and I was aiming for something tangible, not pie in the sky.
- Make those dreams, make them grand. To the point they scare you. Because when they ‘come true’, it really is a dream that came true. Now a tummy piercing might seem a huge dream when you’re 16, I mean the idea at the time of having the bravery to get a bar through your skin seemed like much more of an adult thing to do than I was prepared to take on at the time. But as an adult, it was a Saturday morning and we went shopping after.
At 16 I put writing my life story and having a ‘job that involves travelling abroad, writing and taking photographs about foreign life and culture’ as points on my bucket list. I want both. I’ve done a little of both at certain points, and they still scare me. However I know once I have completed both that that will be two big bucket list points ticked. Two life long dreams fulfilled.
BONUS: have an accountability partner! I’ve mentioned this before, but having someone a friend/companion that you can check in with around goals is amazing! It’s empowering and it means I get s*** done because they help me create a plan for my week/month/year and we have calls and dinners to go through everything. It is about hustling and a place where I can voice my worries and concerns – and then usually snap out of it and get hustling again.
I was writing a bucket list the other day, a new one, and it surprised me “how little” I had on there because I had largely completed a lot of my big day dreams like visiting a fashion week, living in London, growing a blog, being featured in a newspaper. My bucket list now seems almost sensible (!) because I know I could put my head to it and ‘get it done’:
- To be a successful published author.
- To travel and work in Bali, India, Argentina, Peru, Canada and Iceland.
- To be paid to stay in the Maldives.
- To stay in a treehouse in Mexico.
- To own a home with beautiful lighting a greenhouse conservatory.
- To be featured in Vogue (I’m nervous admitting this one).
- To be invited to Sustainable Fashion Week – I don’t mind which country but preferably either Denmark or Sweden.
So there you have it. Now what’s on yours?
And what will you do next?