The Value Of A Reverse Bucket List

the value of a Reverse bucket list


The Value Of A Reverse Bucket List

I used to like the idea of making a grand bucket list. Things I hoped to do…someday.

Recently I came across the list I’d made as a younger woman. It chronicled the dreams and aspirations of that young wife and mother.

The older I get the more I reject the whole bucket list concept. I don't want to focus so much on the future that I forget what is quickly becoming my past. Click To Tweet

It was fun to read those zany ideas. The simple ones. Especially the ones that seemed forever out of reach.

But that list wouldn’t accurately fit my dreams anymore. 

When I read about reverse bucket lists, that concept struck me as brilliant.

Don’t get me wrong, I am still dreaming about my future.

But— I am much more interested to see where I’ve been. What I’ve learned or seen or experienced. The things that have shaped me into the woman I am today.

This point struck home for me when working on my goals for the New Year. A question stared at me from the blank page on my desk:

List your accomplishments

I stared and struggled and finally, tearily asked my husband for his perspective.

There didn’t seem to be one single accomplishment that was list worthy. I know that I have accomplished much in life, things that I am proud of and humbled by.

Yet, they are not things, by the world’s standards today, that seemed appropriate for the question. Because I knew that the precious treasures that mark my life are things like learning to conquer poor self-image, growing a healthy marriage, raising kids with character, homeschooling…

I wondered if those spaces on my page were reserved for things like graduating college, going on a mission trip, travelling the world. Or my bigger dreams of decorating women’s shelters or feeding every homeless person I passed.

So I sat with my husband. Questioning. He was genuinely surprised!

What about _____, or _____?” Those things are your life’s work. What about having a blog and taking pictures? Those things matter…

 What a difference perspective makes, eh?


reverse bucket list


A bucket list doesn’t take into account all the wonderful and unique and even heartbreaking experiences that create a life well lived.

Today, craft a reverse bucket list with me. List the things that have already happened. I celebrate a life of participation and observation.

The value of a reverse bucket list? We are celebrating those things that are already personal accomplishments. For me:

  1. Still married after being together since teens with issues, and becoming more selfless each year
  2. Decorating a home on a meager to non-existent budget
  3. Being a mother. Not a perfect mom by even the loosest assessment…but always a devoted one (If you are a mom who needs encouragement read this, thisthis & this.)
  4. Moving and starting over. Again and again.
  5. Growing in my craft and seeing myself as a writer
  6. Embracing an artistic life
  7. Homeschooling. That might be higher on the list, honestly  🙂
  8. Battling my inner demons and coming out on top
  9. Choosing forgiveness

Etc. Etc. Etc.

I would still like to see the Aurora Borealis and photograph the architecture of Europe. To do a road trip across the entire United States and stop at the dorky stuff like Giant Balls of String (and take pictures).

I want to run across the bluffs with the wind blowing against my face as I hear the waves crash in Ireland (I’m wearing a sweater and can hear sheep bleating in the pastures)…then I’ll stop at every pub and engage the locals in conversation.

Dreaming is good.

Embracing the life we are already gifted with? That, my friends, is amazing. Share in the comments what you’ve already accomplished?  


7 thoughts on “The Value Of A Reverse Bucket List

  1. I love this. I agree. I think sometimes we get so caught up in the “someday” that we forget to live in the moment and appreciate the past. Thanks for sharing your reverse bucket list.

    Here’s a few on mine:
    1. Started a blog and fell in love with writing…again.
    2. Celebrating 11 years of marriage this weekend. Yay!!
    3. Four beautiful children.
    4. Overcame depression.

  2. I love this. I’ve accomplished far more than I ever could have dreamed. I’m still in the midst of accomplishing. Looking back in complete satisfaction spurns me to the future.

  3. A great post, Christa, like all your others.

    When I was young I wanted to marry a good man and cared for nothing else, not even my father’s dream for us kids to have higher education.
    The good man came just before I went to the second year of Law School. Left school and married him.

    What I accomplished?
    ~ A great life that will soon celebrate a 50th wedding anniversary with amazing experiences and growth
    ~ Four great children and nine grand children that have made us proud
    ~ A college degree and than a Governors’ degree from a University, both with high honors
    ~ A Thesis on Dostoevsky’s major novels that earned me scholarships in MIT and a teaching University,
    which i decided not to take
    ~ Symposium presentations and Community Garden research that brought many rewards
    ~ Two hip replacements and even worse 2 hip revisions of which I came out richer and stronger
    ~ Ventured a book…which is almost ready to be published
    ~ Made amazing friends that have helped me be who I am now and have stayed in my old friendships for ever

    Looking forward to what the future holds, without holding my breath, as I have learned to take life as it comes and live in the now, while doing what I need to do, for a better tomorrow

    1. Katina, I so enjoyed reading your list!!! Thank you so much for sharing. I’ll know who to come to with questions 🙂 You continue to inspire me

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