Your Bucket List

So, what is on your bucket list? I saw an ad for places to put on your Chicago bucket list. If you remember the movie that came out a few years ago with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson, it involved two men who were dying and became good friends. They created a bucket list of things they wanted to do before they kicked the bucket. Interesting premise and, ever since then people have been mentioning their bucket lists.

For every writer I know, the one item we all have in common on our list – to become published. Seems easy enough, doesn't it? For those of you who are not writers, it's not as easy as it seems. Oh, there's always the success story of the person who wrote their first novel and sold it right away becoming an overnight sensation. For most writers, publishing does not happen that way. Most of us toil away on novel after novel, sending them out to overworked editors who must read through a slush pile that is taller than most NBA players before finding the one golden nugget that is going to become the next best seller. And even then, it doesn't always happen that way. So, how do we make that one dream on our bucket list come true?

Perseverance.

Now, let's get back to your bucket list. If you don't have one, make one. Why? Because it makes your life more interesting and fun to have a goal in mind. A seemingly unattainable goal you have always wanted. Shoot for this goal. One of my dreams was to see Paris some day. Last year, through the help of one of my daughters I was able to achieve that dream. She had a voucher for an airline ticket that pretty much paid for the entire ticket to Paris. She was worried I would never go if she didn't do this, so I went. One year ago, I flew to Paris and saw all the places I dreamed about. It was probably the most memorable experience of my life.

I asked several of my friends what was on their bucket lists. Many of you mentioned traveling to places like the Greek Isles, Italy, Hawaii, or a Disney cruise with a special someone. Others included activities like skiing, sky-diving, taking up karate, going to the Super Bowl or an All-Star game. What I found interesting about all of these dreams is that each one is attainable. When we first place a dream on this list, we think "well, if I have time, I want to do this. Or if I have the money, I'll do this someday". The problem is that someday doesn't always come. We have to make these things happen. Pick one thing each year and save toward it. Either put the money aside, or the time, and really work toward that one thing. Doesn't seem so unattainable any longer, does it?

Make a plan. Go ahead. Make a plan. Look up the one thing you want the most. Search the internet for what it would cost both in time and money. Now, let's start with the money part. Divide the amount evenly over a certain period of time – making sure the money you need to save toward it is feasible in your budget. Next, see how long it will take you to save that money. Okay, now you have a timeline. Mark a date on your calendar and stick to it. Put the money aside each month, not touching it for anything else. Basically pretend the money doesn't exist. That way, you won't miss it and you won't remember you have it. Until it comes time to pay for that one thing you want to do on your list.

Don't feel guilty. This is a very important part of making your bucket list and sticking to it. Do not feel guilty. Repeat after me – I will not feel guilty. Why? Because the bills will still be there. The children will still be there. The problems will still be there. But for that one moment in time – when you are experiencing the thrill of a lifetime by going after this one thing on your list – you can forget all those problems. (not the kids, because they are a blessing). When you return to your normal life, you will walk a little lighter. You'll have a smile on your face that no one can take away. Most importantly, you can add something else to your list.

So, what is on my bucket list if I already saw Paris? England. I want to see Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Whitehall, St. James Place, Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, and all the other places I have only seen in pictures but include in my books. I want to walk through history and feel it vibrate through my being. I want to close my eyes while I'm in those buildings and imagine what it must have been like to live during that time. I want to tour the countryside and head into Scotland.

And of course, like all my writer friends, I want to be published. So, there you have it – a bucket list. Let me know what's on yours and how you are going to achieve it.

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