From the moment you are born you begin spending the currency of your life…time. Once spent it cannot be refunded. You cannot earn more. How you choose to invest that time is perhaps the most important decision you have to make on a daily basis. Lately, I’ve been reflecting on where I’ve made my investments and considering how best to spend my remaining balance.
I used to have a bucket list. A some-day-before-I-die list. Problem is, that some day could very well be tomorrow. My bucket list had become purely aspirational…vaporware…a list of intentions with no accountability and no consequences. After all, I had plenty of time, right? Yet my list just kept growing and growing and the number of unchecked items stared back at me mockingly. Sound familiar?
So I retired my bucket list and created, simply, The List: 360 Things I Will Do in the Next 60 Years. That wording is deliberate. Intentional. It is meaningful, focused and finite. It holds me accountable to a timeline. Coming full circle 360 degrees also seemed appropriately poetic.
When I first began crafting The List, I felt a growing sense of despair in facing my mortality. After all, 360 experiences doesn’t seem like very much. That’s it? That’s all I get for the rest of my life? Why, oh why, didn’t I think about this sooner? Have I missed my window? Have I squandered too much time? Wait, I’m too young to die! Tick, tick, tick…
I plan on having a good 60 more years ahead of me so I’m not quite ready for my mid-life crisis just yet.
As I continued adding items to my list despair gave way to a powerful sense of purpose. Firstly, 360 of anything is a lot. Go ahead, make a list of 360 places you want to visit. Try it, it’s not that easy. Pull out your own bucket list. Most people don’t have 360 things on theirs. As you can see from my own, I’ve still got quite a few open spots left. Spend some dedicated time and be deliberate about choosing the things you want to experience in life. You can always add to it and make changes but take some time to consider what memories you want to create. Finally, 360 is achievable. I can plan and execute 360 things. So can you. It may take a few attempts. You might need to explore a few different approaches to achieve your goal.
Ignore the little voice in the back of your head that whispers incessantly that your aspirations are unrealistic, that you will never achieve them. Take the list of reasons you just ran through in your head about why it will never work then dismiss them. “But I don’t have the time!” So where else are you spending that time? You can’t save time. Life makes withdrawals whether you want it to or not. At the end of your days, you’ll have to decide for yourself whether those were better investments. “But I don’t have the money!” Fair enough. This is often a legitimate reason. When it’s not happens more often than you’d think.
I’ll give you an example. It’s on my list to set foot on Antarctica. That trip costs over $10,000. Shazbot! That’s a whole lotta’ snow cones. A friend of mine is a huge Antarctica fanatic and I asked her how she talked herself into dropping that kind of coin. She said, “I’m not. There are government grants that will pay for your trip if you are an author or a scientist. I applied and got accepted.” If this is something you really want to do, there will be a way to make it happen. Doubt me? Search the web for “win a trip to Antarctica” or “drive a Ferrari for free.” Take a temporary valet job. Be a courier. Go teach English in a foreign country. Have faith. The universe conspires.
By many accounts I’ve already done quite well for myself. I’ve been blessed to meet amazing people, visit incredible places and experience life-changing things. I’ve flown higher and further than my parents could have ever dreamt for me.
I’ve greeted the sunrise over the rooftops of Prague. Climbed a deserted part of the Great Wall. Stood in awe before the Colosseum. Drank with the Mexican ambassador of tequila. Shared an elevator with a prince. Eaten scorpions. Dined on Robuchon’s potato puree. Made snow angels on a glacier. Knelt before golden and jade Buddhas. Gazed upon works by Picasso, Van Gogh and Da Vinci. All while surrounded by loving family and friends. Like I said, blessed.
Not bad for a li’l, brown, Island boy.
Oh, and I did ALL those things (and a good deal more to boot) for under $3000 out of pocket…total. You might say, “That’s cool, Serge, that you have three grand to drop. I don’t.” I didn’t always. Nor did I at the time I had those experiences. I found a way. So will you.
The List is not meant to be some inflexible blueprint to my life. It simply serves as a reminder to live my life with intention. I still find the remarkable in my every day. The world will continue to bring me opportunities I cannot plan for or foresee. Life happens in those unexpected detours. The List just gives me markers along my journey. It serves as a vehicle to create opportunity and context. My life will be no less fulfilled if I never complete my list. The measure of my life will not be based on how many of these experiences I complete but rather the richness of the journey that accompanies them.
Here’s a little bit of inspiration to get you going:
360 things. In 60 years that’s one thing from your list every other month. That should keep you busy. So get cracking.
How You Can Be a Part of My Journey and Start Your Own
I am blessed to have access to opportunities to meet admirable people, see inspiring places and experience exceptional things. Whenever I can, I try to share those experiences. Share an aspiration that I have on my list? Let’s make it happen together. Know someone who can connect me with someone, someplace or something from my list? Holler at me by dropping me a message, tweet, comment, Bat Signal, whatever. Any time, any place, I’m there. Have something you’ve always wanted to do? Share in the comments below. You never know, I just might be the guy to help you make it happen. Or perhaps I know someone else who will.
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