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Creating a Life List

Growing up I never kept a bucket list because growing up below the poverty line, the goal was just to graduate high school. Then, while in high school both of my parents passed away and I became intently focused on overcoming any obstacle put in my way while accomplishing any goal I set my mind on.

Though I believed in myself, I never thought I would have the amazing opportunities and experiences that now, years later, I’ve had. I’ve traveled to the Philippines, sailed the Caribbean islandspublished a bookenjoyed dinner on a beach while the sun set, sipped champagne overlooking a vineyard in Napa and many more memories. But, as someone that craves new experiences, there is so much more that I want to do.

Over the past few months I started creating a list of experiences and places that I want to travel to before I die. I couldn’t stand the term “bucket list” or “things to do before I die” but had never found a phrase that fit what this list meant to me until hearing it called a “life list”, thanks to C.C. Chapman.  Using that list as inspiration (and stealing a few from his list that I had forgotten about), I published my own life list.

As I was creating the list I began to question the “why” behind it and the “how” to accomplish the experiences I began to add.

Similar to the three words exercise, the value of creating a life list is to serve as guiding pillars for your travels through life. If you fully intend on accomplishing your life list, the decisions you make will put you on a path to having these experiences. For example, if you have a love for travel and new travel experiences dominate your life list, you should seek out a job that will allow you to travel either on behalf of the company or because they support workshifting.

But, just creating the list isn’t enough. You now need to work backwards from the experiences you have listed to understand what actions you need to take to achieve your goal. Some of these experiences you likely will not know how you’ll achieve them so don’t stress about those ones yet. I have no idea how I’ll build my own community center but it is something I’ve always dreamed of because when I was growing up, I didn’t have a community center.

There are other experiences though that you can work towards checking off in the nearer future. I’ve always wanted to watch the sun rise from a hot air balloon. There are a few companies that offer hot air balloon rides in Napa Valley so this coming year I will be making it a goal to have this experience. If there is anywhere that would be great to take a hot air balloon ride, it certainly is over Napa Valley!

Once you’ve created your life list, review it and see what themes jump out at you. You may be surprised. I’ve always had a love for travel but I didn’t realize how much until I saw the long list of places I want to visit.

If you’re interested in what I’ve added to my life list, you can find the entire list here. I plan on keeping that page updated with new experiences and to update current ones, hence why I didn’t just add the list to this post.

Question: Have you created a life list yet? If so, how are you working towards ensuring that you have these experiences?