The good ol’ Bucket List. We have all made one before in our lifetime. It is a to-do list with things we wish to eventually experience or achieve. It is so easy to set our minds free and dream of all the possibilities that are out there in our grand and beautiful world. I, for one, always encourage those around me to write all their goals and dreams down so that they can easily visualize their potential successes and achievements.
- Volunteer Abroad
- Travel to South Africa
- Sky dive out of a plane
- Speak in front of a crowd
- Meet Michelle Obama
However, as the list grows year by year, we also grow older. The expectation of “checking things off” becomes more pressing and we suddenly feel as if time is running out. We start to undervalue ourselves and feel overwhelmed about all the “what if’s” and “maybe’s”. That is NO way to live!
So, what is a reverse bucket list?
“A bucket list is what you want to do; a reverse bucket list is what you’ve already done.” – Marelisa Fabrega.
We spend so much time focusing on what we haven’t done, what we don’t own, and who we haven’t met that we don’t spend enough time reflecting on what we have achieved so far. We lose sight of all of the opportunities and experiences that have already passed. We constantly are striving to do more and be more everyday, but it is important to take a step back and be grateful at what got us here today.
I, for one, do not quite enjoy talking about myself or what I have achieved so far in my twenties. Sometimes, I even catch myself belittling my accomplishments or comparing my successes to others! If you are like me, you understand how unhealthy that can be to our mental state and mindset. However, when I came across the notion of a reverse bucket list, I made one for myself and instantly felt better about who I am and what I have experienced so far in my lifetime.
In making a reverse bucket list:
- it gave me a sense of progress and can in turn boost a high level of motivation and fulfillment in our lives
- it allowed me to celebrate my accomplishments and myself
- it reminded me to be thankful, humble, and grateful for all the opportunities and experiences that have happened in my life
- it provided me as an outlet to reflect on wha I have already achieved instead of longing for something else
How does one make a reverse bucket list?
Making a reverse bucket list is easy. Grab a piece of paper and some colourful pens, and start writing down things that you have accomplished so far that you are proud of. Size and impact does not matter. Write anything down from places you have traveled to, things you have seen, people you have met, events you have been to, and even things that you bought for yourself! You can put it all on one big list or separate it by years – it’s up to you how you want to design your reverse bucket list! Once you are done, take a moment and look back at all those memories you have made. THAT is the blueprint for your life.
TIP: If you want to dive a little deeper, write down under each “reverse bucket list item” why it makes you feel happy and appreciated! How did it help you grow into the person you are today?
Here are some highlights on my reverse bucket list:
- I obtained my Bachelor of Arts in Honours Communications from the University of Ottawa and a post-graduate certification in Event Management from Algonquin College
- I became certified as a wedding planner at the end of 2015 and launched my wedding & event planning business, En Amour Events, in 2017
- I have had the luxury to travel to many places on my birthday since I turned 21, including destinations such as: Las Vegas, Bali, Morocco, Greece, Croatia, Montenegro, Portugal, Spain, and Italy
- I have taken a week-long cruise to sunny and beautiful Hawaii with my family, which is one of my favourite family vacations to date
- I met the legendary QUEEN, Sophia Bush, earlier this year in Chicago and was floored by her beauty, kindness, and genuineness
- I was on the Dean’s List for all my semesters at Algonquin College, receiving a 4.0 GPA
- I joined a sorority in my university career, and held positions such as Historian, Social Chair, Philanthropy Chair, and Semi Formal/Formal Chair. The proudest position I held was Vice President and the Chair of the Judiciary Committee
- I bungee jumped without thinking twice about it (with a 200 ft. head/body dip and a 160 ft. rebound)
- I scuba dived in Bali (Gili Trawangan Island) and swam with beautiful sea turtles under the sun
- I ate pasta in Italy. Three meals a day, I did.
- I sat on a roof for two hours and saw the most beautiful sunset in Santorini with my best friend
- I attended an international traveling yoga retreat called Wanderlust with my best friends at the top of Mont Tremblant
- I was on CTV Morning Live representing and promoting a charity event that my team and I planned which raised thousands for the Children’s Wish Foundation
- I live in a two bedroom condominium in downtown Ottawa overlooking the majestic Chateau Laurier
- I delivered my first Junior Achievement Program successfully to a Grade 8 class teaching them all things entrepreneurship, work readiness, and financial literacy
So, the next time your “what am I going to do next” anxiety gets the best of you, try taking a moment to reflect on your reverse bucket list! Not only will it help ground you, but it will make you feel a whole lot more grateful and present in your everyday life.
Seeing people succeed while doing what they love fires her up like no other. Aside from being the co-founder of DiscoverHER Project, Jess is a meeting planner by day and a wedding planner by night. Jess is passionate about giving girls and women around the world the same tools she used to get to where she is today. She believes in wearing her heart on her sleeve, doing everything out of a place of love, and empowering people around her to do the same. When she isn’t working, she’s most often found with a good book in hand, brunching with friends (hello mimosas!), or off exploring the world.