How About a Reverse Bucket List to Switch Things Up?

photo credit: Out fishing in the garden via photopin (license)
photo credit: Out fishing in the garden via photopin (license)

So much I want to do.

Thoughts of what we want and hope to do can tie our shoestrings together, though. I’ve learned that hopes and dreams without an oxygen supply won’t have much of a chance – unless you can zip them into those freezer space suits like they did in the movie Interstellar.

When you’re not sure how you’ll manage groceries or prescriptions or which golf discs you’ll use in the coming days, how close can a bucket list really feel?

I still have hopes that involve Rockies postseason wins, a drive to New Mexico and a mountain cabin with a wraparound porch. Today, though? I think it best to look back – to my reverse bucket list.

It’s the idea of the reverse bucket list. Tessa from Nothing Was Said blog brought it to my attention. It’s a look back at 100 things you’ve done already that reach bucket-list worthiness.

What’s something on your reverse bucket list?

soccer medal

Won a club soccer tournament championship.

Spoke with my childhood hero, Jim Zorn.

Danced with Native American kids at Mesa Verde – when I was 5.

Heard my baby’s heartbeat for the first time – three times.

Pushed an oakland raiders player in the chest. It was self-defense.

Cooked dinner for a girl I love.


Bought a house.

Started a blog. Didn’t let it die, even when it got sick.

Got an A in a college class.

Ran a 5K race.

Fished with a girl I love.

Finished second in a cheeseburger-eating contest (after I’d eaten lunch.)

photo credit: Coors Pano via photopin (license)
photo credit: Coors Pano via photopin (license)

Watched my baseball team actually reach a world series.

Kicked a field goal in an NFL stadium.

Carried bags in a hotel for Stephen King.

Beat the Charlotte Observer on a racing story.

Scored a two-point conversion in a middle-school football game.

Threw an ace on a disc golf course.

photo credit: IMG_0439 via photopin (license)
photo credit: IMG_0439 via photopin (license)

Saw a UFO – twice.

Asked Cowboys owner Jerry Jones a question that made him uncomfortable.

Volunteered for a presidential candidate’s campaign.

Coached each of my girls in soccer.

Won championships with each of my girls.

Held each of my girls after they’d lost a huge match.

photo credit: Pages 39 & 40 the Guardian 26.11.2006 via photopin (license)
photo credit: Pages 39 & 40 the Guardian 26.11.2006 via photopin (license)

Got my dream job – and walked away from it.

Wrestled a longhorn.

Built a retaining wall. No one in the family thought I could.

Hit a home run in softball.

Fit back into size 34 pants.

Became Santa Claus.

photo credit: Foul Ball via photopin (license)
photo credit: Foul Ball via photopin (license)

Caught a foul ball at a baseball game.

Sang (by accident) in a middle school talent show.

Took batting practice at a minor-league baseball park.

Snuck onto the San Francisco 49ers team bus.

Found shit in Home Depot without asking for help.

Learned to make tortillas.

photo credit: 09-10-11-2195 via photopin (license)
photo credit: 09-10-11-2195 via photopin (license)

Covered a Final Four. Arkansas beat Duke.

Passed a class I had no business passing.

Dressed as a rabbit and gave a bank teller a rose.

Watched all Indiana Jones movies in a row with my girls.

Took my girls camping.

Talked football with Stacey Dales.

Found writing again after I’d lost it.

Stood up for myself.

Wrote a chapter in a book.

Motivated myself to change.

Baked a turkey.

Survived a thunderstorm while riding in a tiny plane. Like, La Bamba tiny.

Sang karaoke (an Elvis song.)

Wrote a play for kindergarteners.

Guest posted on blogs I admire.

photo credit: 105/365 [No ordinary yoga mat] via photopin (license)
photo credit: 105/365 [No ordinary yoga mat] via photopin (license)

Got back into yoga.

Attended world peace prayers in a meditation center.

Snuck into a concert. Had part of a song sung to me.

Canoed, without dying.

Felt each of my daughters fall asleep in my arms.

Got on that roller coaster. I hate roller coasters.

photo credit: Sailor 1911 Standard 21K Zoom nib via photopin (license)
photo credit: Sailor 1911 Standard 21K Zoom nib via photopin (license)

Kept up with the A-Z writing challenge.

Made it out of Mexico without proper documentation – at first.

Loved when it hurt. Bad.

Watched a meteor shower with my baby Grace (she saw a few!)

Trusted my instincts – without regret.

Ignored my instincts – without regret.

Interviewed James Gardner at a urinal at Hickory Motor Speedway.

Won first chair baritone sax.

Wore a Florida Gators cap in Tallahassee without any fistfights.

Took a few laps in a stock car on a NASCAR short track.

Checked Kim Alexis into her hotel room without acting like a creep.

Started a fantasy football league with my daughters.

photo credit: This is a Bacon Delight burger. Damn. via photopin (license)
photo credit: This is a Bacon Delight burger. Damn. via photopin (license)

Ate a one-pound burger.

Sang Take Me Out to the Ballgame with Harry Carey.

Pulled my kid out of school early – for no reason.

Scored a goal as a goalkeeper (yes, it was against kids.)

Moved far away from my family to a place I knew no one.

Drove to Louisiana for a blackened catfish sandwich.

the beef jerky
photo credit: Texas Slabs Sweet and Spicy B eef Jerky 3 via photopin (license)

Made beef jerky (almost) good as my dad’s.

Told her “I like you.”

Jogged with the rising sun on one shoulder, the setting moon on the other.

Rescued four cats, a dog, two squirrels and tons of turtles (not all at once.)

Started the novel. Didn’t finish. Started it, though.

Chose romance against my better judgment.

Dressed like Elvis and went uptown. It wasn’t Halloween.

I placed champion – and runner-up – medals around necks of kids I love. Really love.

Enjoyed the moment and forgot the circumstance.

Meditated – truly meditated.

Went out on Black Friday – and made sure the experience kept me from going again.

Sledded with my girls.

photo credit: gumbo via photopin (license)
photo credit: gumbo via photopin (license)

Ate gumbo in New Orleans and cubanos in Florida.

Played a solo on my baritone saxophone in jazz band.

Found a song for the girls and me.

Touched what I thought was the real Rosetta Stone (I was in second grade.)

Saw John Elway and Joe Montana play in the same game.

Lived in Colorado. I was born there!

Took two of my girls to an NFL game (you’re next, Grace!)

Watched all three of my girls develop beyond my coaching ability.

Listened to my intuition even when it told me what I didn’t want to hear.

Built the baddest-ass LEGO land speeder EVER.

Walked the sidewalk dressed in a chicken suit.

Got to tell my dad I loved him, and hear it from him.

Recognized bliss. The real thing.

list quote


  1. This was awesome, and exactly what I needed today. I’ve been working on a bucket list to use the entire year before I turn 50 (yikes! 49 comes around in March)
    I think I like your approach better. I’m sharing this with the world. xo

    1. I’ve had this in mind since I saw it on Tessa’s blog. I’m afraid of what happens if I make a bucket list, and then finish it … isn’t the bucket next?

      Thanks for sharing. It took a lot longer to get it posted today.

  2. Beautiful idea! I’ve never been one for having a bucket list, but this idea rocks. I think the most significant thing I’ve done (other than having my son) was releasing my father from things that were keeping him stuck, so he could pass away. (His body was beyond done, riddled with cancer). After he died, I got the most beautiful message from him: “I’m free!!”

    I’d love to see that Lego Land Speeder.

    1. Thanks! Total credit should go to Tessa at the blog Nothing was Said. She wrote the initial one.

      It was awesome.

      Love the story about your dad. I had the same realization when my dad was sick, that rather than healing, freedom should be prayed for.

      I think I do have a picture of that land speeder! I was 6 when I made it.

    1. Thanks Torrie. Making this list made me want to look for the next 100 things. I’m in no rush. They are big and small, from finishing my degree to day trips to gem mines.

  3. I absolutely love this, Eli! We spend so much time in life worrying about what we haven’t done or what we need to do, that we rarely look back on that we’ve accomplished. This post was sooo poignant.

    1. Thanks Britta – I knew when I read Tessa’s list that I’d need one of my own. You’re right, I think the list items we’ve conquered move to the rear-view mirror and we’re on to the next. Your reverse bucket list, for instance, would be chock-ful.

      1. Indeed, it would be. Top of the list today? Getting the instant coffee container opened at school this morning (it is a surprisingly difficult struggle).

      1. Pfft. You’re a youngun. Intuition is tricky. My best reminded me that it saved my bucket more than once. I say once. Logic is where it is at. Have you ever done the MB Personality test?

      2. I often feel like a youngin’, and then feel old the next day (depending on what I did when I felt like a youngin.) Never done the MB test … what is it?

      3. Long to explain. Google will do it better. 8 poles. Extraversion/Introversion, Sensing/Intuitive, Thinking/Feeling, Judging/Perceiving. Businesses use variations of it all the time. The purpose is twofold. You find out where you land based on questions. You also see how other types absorb their surroundings. I’d be curious to see where you are on the spectrum. I scored 30 of 30 introvert (twice). It doesn’t mean that I’m shy or whatnot. It just means that I gain energy from solitude. I can party til the sun comes up but am so glad when it is over. Conversely, an Extravert gains energy from interaction. They can be by themselves but it is draining at a point. It also shows me as an Introvert that someone with an overpowering personality (to an Introvert) is like that because that’s how they are…that’s the 2 minute version of one of the types.

        I wont go into the others too much. A sensory pereon relies on what they can experience through the senses or what is. Intuitives are more abstract what could be. I’m not that. I trust what I see in a tangible respect. I believe in show not tell…or guess.

        Types may change based on life. Parts of mine have deviated but not terribly. Thinking/Feeling usually vacillates to an extent. Mostly it is on the thinking end but it is 50/50 or thereabout.

        I have a perception of where you would land but I’m on the J side.

        OkayOkay. Later, Eli.

    1. Thanks T. Pizza’s a life blood, not a destination. I might get them out early this week, in fact. I did it with Grace a couple of Halloweens ago. She wanted me to take her out early and I said no. As I left the class I looked back in and saw her trying to hide the tears she was wiping away. How could I leave without her then?

  4. Awesome idea and even awesomer list! My bucket lists are short… I make it for the season not my life. But I like this idea… listing accomplishment already attained makes anything you want to do seem like child’s play once you see what you’ve done so far. I’m curious to know what you did on the 49’ers bus.

    1. Thanks Eric. I’ve never even done a bucket list, but I do have a book on my desk filled with things I hope to do. I guess that could be a bucket list – but it’s pretty specific as far as the company I’d keep.

      I snuck onto the bus to get autographs. I saw Carlton Williamson and Roger Craig right away. Bill Walsh was there, and I asked him to sign my program. He did, and I marveled at his Super Bowl ring. He was pleasant, but tired. He signed for me, and as I walked away, said “who is this kid?” Exit, stage left.

      1. My claim to fame is that Art Donovan was in the seat in front of me on a plane. Except I was only 8, so I didn’t really know any better or even think to get an autograph.

  5. I have yet to become Santa, but hey, a girl can dream.
    God, I’ve done so much. I’ve lived in California and New England (life dreams). I’ve seen moose, 1,000 times. I’ve been at the front row of a Bruce Hornsby concert. I’ve eaten chocolate and peanut butter, which my good friend once described as, “love dipped in sex.”
    I’ve had that too.
    Sorry. It’s a family blog. What’s wrong with me?

    1. Even the Easter Bunny is fun. Your reverse bucket list would be twice this long. You can say what you want here, Tamara, but please remember that this is a peanut-free facility.

  6. What a cool idea! Most of the time, I don’t feel like I’ve lived a very exciting life or done many extraordinary things, but maybe if i made a list like this I would se it differently.

  7. There is nothing I don’t love about this!!! THIS. Amazing. I have never created a bucket list for the simple reason that I didn’t want to live a life of wanting; but rather celebrating what happened! Why did I never think of this? Brilliant. Thank you for sharing all these wonderful little moments that have made such a BIG life. 🙂

    1. Thanks Rore. I appreciate it. I feel like in ever response I should credit Tessa. She debuted the idea beautifully.

      You should definitely do a list.

      It’s the next moments and this moment I hope to make count. Especially with the kids. It’s critical.

  8. You have a wonderfully fun and creative list here, I loved the sense of humor that shined between the lines. I think you can safely say life is good, and that’s the best blessing of all!

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