Last Updated on September 27, 2019 by Heather Hart, ACSM EP, CSCS
On my parents refrigerator, between the random coupons, grandchildren sketched kindergarten masterpieces, and about a dozen random novelty magnets (some of which are almost as old as me), hangs a “bucket list”. Scrawled in my mothers’s handwriting on a plain sheet of ruled paper, the list contains events my parents hope to attend, things they want to do, and places they dream of visiting, before the kick the proverbial “bucket”. (In the off chance that you’ve been living under a rock and have never heard this term, kicking the bucket means “to die”. Morbid, huh?)
I’ve always been ambivalent about the ever popular bucket lists. On one hand, what a fantastic way to acknowledge and celebrate the fact that life is short and never promised. On the other hand, what a sad reminder that death is imminent for every single one of us.
Ambivalence aside, I truly admire people who make bucket lists. I admire anyone who has a goal, or dreams, no matter how unique (or ridiculous) they may be. As Oscar Wilde said “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” Bucket lists, to me, prove that people want more out of life than just existence…they want to live, while they still have the opportunity.
The other morning on the Facebook, I was sarcastically lamenting over the fact that I did not win the trip to Mt Everest from The Clymb that I dutifully entered every single day. I have no idea where this fascination of mine with Mt. Everest came from, but considering the fact that I loathe the cold, I find my extreme desire to visit Base Camp quite ironic…and hilarious (don’t worry, I have no desire to attempt a summit …yet.) This of course, got me thinking about bucket lists. For the obvious reason of course, but also because of that movie, The Bucket List, that ends with Morgan Freeman taking Jack Nicholson (in a coffee can) to the summit of Everest. (Is it proper etiquette to give a spoiler alert for a movie that is over 5 years old? If I just ruined that for you, I’m sorry. It is a great movie. Don’t forget the Kleenex…). And it got me thinking that MAYBE, I too, should write out a bucket list.
Except mine will be slightly different. There are plenty of personal goals I have in my life, goals that I have no doubt that I will achieve. Goals that involve not only myself, but my family. Those are on a separate list, a list that is held close to my heart, a list that is not publicly posted on this blog. Instead, may I present you with my 40 Adventures by 40 list. That’s right, according to one of those fancy online calculators, there are 3,064 days left until I turn 40 (that’s just under 8.5 years), and I want to check as many of these items off of my list before then. Of course, with life, kids, a budding career, and the fact that many of my list items require some significant training and/or serious financing, it isn’t very likely I’ll hit them all (or even most) in the next 8.5 years. But really, half the fun is the journey anyway, and “40” is just a fun milestone, not a deadline. This list, of course, is a work in progress, and will probably exceed 40, but for now, here you go:
- Run the Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon (bet you didn’t see that one coming!)
1a) …get a passport. This could come in handy…
- Meet, and more importantly, take a fitness class led by Richard Simmons.
- Rock climb outdoors.
- Run the Big Sur Marathon. Sure, Boston, NYC, etc are on my wish list, but in my eyes, Big Sur trumps all others.
- Climb a really big mountain. Maybe some of those 14’ers my West Coast friends always brag about.
- Publish a book.
- Pet a manatee. That’s right, a sea cow.
- Log roll (like in the lumberjack competitions)
- Surf in Hawaii (and see Pipeline with my own eyes, though I will paddle out somewhere much calmer).
- Go to the Olympics (as a spectator…possibly even press. Certainly not as an athlete.)
- Ten unassisted pull ups in a row. Real pull ups…no kipping. Such a small feat…such tiny arms.
- Run a 50 mile ultra.
- “Hunt” for Bigfoot (with a camera, not a gun). I’m kind of joking…and also kind of not.
- Watch sea turtles hatch and run to the ocean.
- Run a 100 mile ultra (my feet already hurt…)
- Stand up paddle-board. Bonus points for doing so in a bio-luminescent bay (thanks for the idea Jenny!)
- Drive cross country, stop for ridiculous photo ops such as the world’s largest ball of twine, and the Cabazon dinosaurs
- Complete a half iron distance triathlon (70.3)
- Ride a burro in/on/around the Grand Canyon.
- Get my Dad to run (or shuffle, or walk) in some sort of race with me. Might as well bring the whole family in. (And no Dad, I don’t mean in a car.)
- Complete a full iron distance triathlon (140.6)
- White water raft.
- Donate blood.
- Enter and compete in some sort of fitness competition (bikini? body building? )
- Read “Born to Run” (still haven’t)
- Zip line between the trees. Tropical or coniferous, doesn’t really matter to me.
- Run the Dipsea Race.
- Participate in a multiple day adventure race.
- Go to Burning Man… (and run the Ultra while I’m there)
- Make homemade donuts. I love donuts. However, I can’t really cook…
- See an orca whale in the wild (Pacific Northwest?)
- Overnight backpacking trip. Maybe two overnights.
- Volunteer at an animal shelter, take dogs for walks.
- Visit one of those caves full of stalagmites and stalactites
- Run a sub 4 hour marathon (since my half pr is a 1:40, I should be able to do this!!)
- Master the clean & jerk (it alludes me)
- Go to Alaska, visit a town where it is still bright out at 11 pm.
- Scuba dive.
- Stomp on grapes at a vineyard, I Love Lucy style.
- Switch this blog over to wordpress (it’s been 5 years and I still haven’t had the guts to do it. I consider it a massive adventure.)
41. TransRockies Run
42. Horseback ride (horses kind of scare me. I know, that’s crazy. Especially consider the aforementioned Burros do not. )
43. Thru-hike a section of the Appalachian Trail.
44. Ditto the PCT ^.
45. Read 100 books in 1 year.
46. Have an article published in a popular magazine.
47. See a giant cactus in person. You know, the ones that are like 6+ feet tall.
48. See a wild mountain goat…in the wild.
49. Ride on and help sail one of those HUGE sailboats. I have a captivation and fear of the open ocean. So amazing…so powerful.
50. Travel out of the country. Crazy how I’ve never done that…
Heather Hart is an ACSM certified Exercise Physiologist, NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), UESCA certified Ultrarunning Coach, RRCA certified Running Coach, co-founder of Hart Strength and Endurance Coaching, and creator of this site, Relentless Forward Commotion. She is a mom of two teen boys, and has been running and racing distances of 5K to 100+ miles for over a decade. Heather has been writing and encouraging others to find a love for fitness and movement since 2009.
courtney @ Don't Blink. Just Run.
That’s a great list! I’ve been debating making a list for myself for some time…maybe now I finally will because I like your spin on it.
One of mine would be to travel to Ireland and kiss the Blarney Stone.
I have a “before I die” list but I’m liking the idea of a 40 before 40 list– may work on that one 🙂 Top of my overall bucket list: visit Bhutan and do the Snowman Trek!
Ive actually started a 50 x 50
and need to get moving as I KNOW KNOW KNOW the next 6 years will fly.
I have an extra copy of Born to Run that I can send you! This is a great idea – I have just over 8 years til I turn 40 also!
Heather/Colorado Gal….I just looked up the Bhutan Snowman Trek…WOW! That’s hardcore AND amazing! I love it!
Good list, I totally agree on the Big Sur Marathon. Almost registered last time, but was traveling without internet on the day it opened.
Some of my goals:
Run Big Sur Marathon
Hike the John Muir Trail
See the midnight sun
See the aurora borealis
I need to make a list like this, but there is SO much I want to do that it’s a little daunting. I think you should start with giving blood. It helps so many people and you can find a place to donate pretty easily most places.
@Becki – it IS daunting! I actually got out of bed last night to finish this post (took me three days!) because I thought of some more things I wanted to add. It certainly will not be capped at 40 ! And RE the blood donation, I’m going to look into it today! Between having babies and tattoos, I feel like there was always a reason I couldn’t get it done/didn’t qualify, but to be honest, I’m not 100% sure on the rules. I will look them up and get right on it 🙂
RunCupcake – thank you so much for the offer! I actually own a copy (and so does Geoff, so we have TWO in the house!) which makes the fact that I haven’t read it even worse, haha! There is always something else ahead of it in the reading queue it seems 😛
Hate to break it to you but you may want to rush #17 just in case: http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/local/inland_empire&id=9269880
nooo not the dinosaurs!
Some of my goals are: attend an ayahuasca retreat, go to burning man, be in India for Diwali, successfully complete a 50 and a 100 mile ultra, and be strong enough to endure the madness thrown my way during a Death Race.
I want to earn my Spartan Trifecta by the time I’m 30. (I’m turning 26 this fall)
Hmm. I’m almost 45 and I’ve only pet a manatee and made donuts! I really want to go to the Grand Canyon.