I really like the idea of bucket lists. I think it’s nice to have something to look forward to and work towards. I also like how different they are from person to person, and they can be made up of crazy adventures or simple goals. And while I’ll never have anything as daring as sky-diving on my list, I often like to think about what would be on my list.
But then I had an even better idea.
Instead of writing my bucket list, I’ve decided to write a list of some of the goals I have already accomplished – a reverse bucket list! It’s actually really nice to look back at my life and realise how many ‘bucket list goals’ I’ve already checked off. It makes me so grateful for the opportunities I’ve had and the chances I’ve taken.
I’m going to share ten goals that were once on my bucket list, ranging from life-changing experiences to small moments of happiness. Hopefully this list will continue to grow as I experience more things!
1) Go travelling alone
This was a biggie. Since about the age of 11 I wanted to travel somewhere completely on my own. I would daydream about exploring somewhere new and having the confidence to do it alone.
I have always been ‘the quiet one’ and I think I didn’t really believe I could do it. So in 2013, I travelled to Costa Rica to volunteer on a sea turtle conservation project. Volunteering was also on my bucket list so I managed two goals in one.
Everyone was surprised when I announced that I was going because it was so out of character for me, I’m very much a homebird. Not to mention the fact that I’m terrified of flying and the journey involved four plane flights to get me there and back!
To this day it’s still one of the most amazing and scary things I’ve ever done. But being on my own meant I had no choice but to get on with it. When I was panicking about getting the right connecting flight, I couldn’t turn to my mum and ask her where to go or just follow my friends, and I think that did me a lot of good.
Since going I’ve felt a lot more confident and whenever I’m facing a difficult situation, I often say to myself “If I could go to Costa Rica by myself then I can do this!”
I sometimes feel a bit silly when I talk about it because there are thousands of people who travel alone all the time, and for longer periods of time. But for me, it was a massive challenge and one that I’m glad I could overcome.
2) Own a rag doll cat
In case you haven’t realised already, I’m a bit cat-obsessed. In fact, I have never not had a cat! But there has always been one breed that I love over all the others, and that’s the rag doll cat.
When I was about eight years old, we got a cat called Oliver after a friend of the family had to give him up. He was a massive, fluffy grey rag doll and we all loved him. I thought it was adorable how I could pick him up and he would just go floppy in my arms, unlike our other cats that would go stiff and wide-eyed.
Since then, I had always wanted another rag doll. I wanted one with the pointed colouring – white body with a black face, black ears and black legs. Sometimes the colours can be a bit different e.g grey instead of black, but the pattern is more or less the same. A few years ago we found Lily.
This photo was taken by the breeder and was the one used to advertise her – I don’t think I need to explain why we fell in love with her. One look at those big blue eyes and I was smitten!
3) Move in to my own place
I think this is on everyone’s list. Everyone plans to one day fly the nest and move in to their own place and get some independence. My partner and I talked about it for about a year before we finally decided to start looking at houses and making important decisions.
I think the two weeks after moving were the most stressful weeks I’ve had in my life. Not only was there the stress of boxing up all of my belongings and moving everything back and forth, but there was the added pressure of living with my partner for the first time and getting to know each other in a different way, and the emotions of leaving home and missing my family. We also had absolutely no furniture or essentials, I even had to borrow cutlery from work to have dinner!
But I don’t regret it. Now that we’re settled and this house has definitely become home, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. And now that I have my own little area to write/blog/relax, it’s perfect.
4) Learn a musical instrument
I’ve always been interested in musical instruments. When I was in infant school, I picked up a recorder for the first time and I loved it. I remember telling people I was going to be the best recorder player in the world when I grew up. Unfortunately, I don’t own a recorder anymore, but I have moved on to other instruments.
Throughout school, I had lessons in clarinet, saxophone and playing the drum kit – I even passed a few grades and won a few local competitions. But none of those instruments were really *me*.
When I was in secondary school, I decided to learn the piano. My dad had one, and I played around on that for a little while and I think that’s what got me interested in it. I liked that all of the notes were just laid out in order instead of having to remember where they were! Also, everyone else my age wanted to learn the guitar, and I just had to be different.
I’m definitely no expert when it comes to playing the piano as I only had a few lessons before I quit and decided to teach myself. At the moment I play it every now and then and just try to learn songs that I like, or make up little pieces of music.
5) Write a book
Technically, I haven’t written the whole book yet, but the goal doesn’t say to finish a book! Writing fiction has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. When I was about six years old, I wrote a ‘book’ called ‘Fintastic Mr Fish’ which was about a goldfish that would put on a suit and wander around town whenever his owner left the house. I honestly thought I was a genius.
Since then I have written a lot of short stories and played around with little creative pieces. But for the past 4-5 years I’ve been slowly working on a book that I hope to one day publish – keep those fingers crossed!
6) Work with animals
Whenever someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would always say that I wanted to work with animals. I was always quite clear about not being a vet though because I’m way too squeamish.
I’m very lucky that I’ve accomplished that goal and I now work with lots of different animals, mainly rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters and fish. I sometimes get to work with reptiles, and I find them fascinating.
One of my favourite parts of working in a pet shop is meeting the pets that customers bring in. I see a lot of dogs on a daily basis, as well as tiny puppies, but every now and again someone will bring in a reptile I’ve never seen before or a parrot that can have a full blown conversation with me, and it’s so much fun.
7) Go stargazing
This is another one that I think is on a lot of peoples lists. It’s such a simple one when you think about it, because you can do it on any clear night.
About 7-ish years ago, me and my sister were staying at our grandparents when we read that the northern lights would be visible in the UK that night. We all got very excited and we all went to the window to try and catch a glimpse. Sadly, there was a street light right outside so we couldn’t get a proper view of the night sky. So it was coats on, scarves on and a mug of hot chocolate in a flask each and we got in the car and went out on to the top of the moors.
From there we could see the sky perfectly. We never did see the northern lights, but we saw a lot of shooting stars and watched the moon rise above the trees. I have such fond memories of that night, sipping hot chocolate and chatting together under the stars – until we all had neck ache and spooked ourselves about the dark!
8) Learn how to bake
This is a relatively new one for me, and I think I still need to class it as a work-in-progress. Baking was never really something I enjoyed until I moved out. When it was Halloween, I hosted a little get together with my sister and our mutual friend and I decided to bake some snacks because I thought it would be cute. It turns out, I really enjoy baking!
I spent a good few hours making gingerbread bats, and making green icing to dip them in and decorating them. I found it very therapeutic and very rewarding when they actually turned out ok. Since then I have tried a few other bits and bobs, most of them are on this blog, and I plan on making lots more in the near future.
9) Help others
I’ve said it before in one of my posts that one of my main goals in life is to help other people. So even though this is on my reverse bucket list, it will always be a goal of mine, because it isn’t something you can just finish and then never do again!
One of my favourite memories is from a few years ago on Christmas eve. Me, my mum and my sister all put our Christmas jumpers on and went to my mums nursing home where they care for the elderly.
We walked around the home and stopped at each residents door to sing Christmas carols with the staff. A few of them were asleep (or pretending to be!) but the majority sang along and clapped when we had finished and wished us a merry Christmas.
It was such a simple thing but it makes a world of difference – they were smiling, we were smiling, everyone was in high spirits.
10) Start a blog
Of course starting a blog was going to be on the list! I’ve actually wanted to write a blog for many years now, but I have always held back because I’ve been too embarrassed or too worried what other people might think. But now that I’ve been doing it for a little while, I find it really fun. I love being creative and thinking of new ideas to write about. Not everyone will like it, and that’s fine, but right now I’m enjoying myself.
So there you have it, my reverse bucket list – what sorts of things would be on yours?