Your Secret Bucket List


IMG_0655I bet you have two bucket lists.

I used to.

They’re usually labeled, “It Could Happen,” and “Only if I Can Find Where My Dog was Burried in the Backyard On the First Try.” Otherwise known as, “Not On Your Life.”

In the “It Could Happen” bucket, you have things like,

Ride in a hot air balloon

Get a promotion

Live long enough to see Episode IV

Make out with someone by graduation

Read ten books this year

These are things well within our grasp. Well, my high school self had a hard time finding people to make out with, but chances are, if you’re not me, you can make it happen.

These are things most people around you have accomplished and, as long as you don’t mistake an active volcano for a swimming pool, you’ll live long enough to carry out as well.

Now let’s peel the lid off that second bucket, shall we? It’s much darker inside than the first bucket-bucket-bucket. It’s also emptier-emptier-emptier. (See what I’m doing there? With my awesome demonstrative skills, I’m illustrating with lyrically-placed echoes that this bucket is also much larger.)

You shine your phone around (because no one uses flashlights anymore, and if you do, you should add getting an iPhone to your first bucket list), and here’s what we find:

Publish your songs on iTunes

Write a bestseller

Start a blog and get 20,000 followers

Win a gold medal

Start a business

The difference between this list and the first is pretty obvious. It’s likely you don’t know anyone who’s accomplished anything in your “Not On Your Life” bucket. Which means you’re on your own.

Do you think that stopped Cam Newton from putting his dreams in one smaller, more manageable, public bucket?

Do you honestly think J.K. Rowling kept her biggest hopes isolated from her more ‘achievable’ goals?

Did Adele attempt to hide her much bigger bucket list from everyone she knew?

I doubt it, too.

Stop separating your bigger dreams  from your smaller dreams (which are basically items on a to-to list). Because then you’re only focusing on what you think you can accomplish and those bigger dreams only get visited once in a purple moon. I’ve never seen a purple moon, so…

Don’t be ashamed of your dreams, either. There’s nothing wrong with having high hopes. Tell everyone you know. Who knows – they might be tremendous sources of encouragement. Or, they might ask you really difficult questions like my wife did when I told her I wanted to start my own publishing company.

In a way, that’s better than a blanket encourager. Her questions forced me to evaluate whether I can really do this or not.

So combine your to-do-list dreams with your larger dreams. Earning your airplane license should be in the same bucket as dying your hair blue.

No more secret goals. Make them real, make them public, make them happen.

Have you entered the Endever Writing Contest yet? Add that to your bucket list and win $150! Deadline is February 25th.

Published by Andrew Toy

Writer when I'm not being a husband or dad. So mostly just a husband and dad.

21 thoughts on “Your Secret Bucket List

  1. Nice post. I do have an iPhone (which I love and after having for three years discovered the flashlight feature which I use and love). I did in my early 20s try out a business – as an introvert it was difficult to sell so it floundered and it died. I have started a blog – no where near 20,000 followers though – perhaps I could revive my business dream, write that book on parenting a child with FASD and grow my blog – thanks for the reminders to get back at it !


  2. Interesting post! I have two bucket lists- but they’re not what you’d expect! One is the things I wanna do and the other is things I don’t wanna do. The things I don’t want to do (like jump out a plane or bungee jumping) are all things that I’ve decided I may as well do when I’m 80 and have nothing left to lose :p . The things I wanna do don’t actually include targets with any numbers attached. For instance, I wanted to start a blog, so I did, but I’m not worried about the number of followers- I was happy just to do the blog with a handful of people reading it- if more people are interested in what I have to say, then that’s just a bonus


  3. I got stuck on this part… “Only if I Can Find Where My Dog was Burried in the Backyard On the First Try…” What?!? Is that a saying? If so, I have never heard of it and it’s the most random (sad?) and weird thing I’ve heard in a while!


  4. I don’t have two but I think it is important to make a distinction between goals and a ‘bucket list’ I don’t have a bucket list but if I did these are things that I could do when I wanted e.g. make an awesome cake (in theory, maybe not in practice), go on a skydive, visit Australia – these are all things that if I wanted to do enough I could. However my goals (of different timescales – tomorrow, next week, next year) is how I actually split my lists. These are lists based on what I am actually working towards in daily life – i.e. I can’t do it right now but I would like to start now and you may never actually achieve them. Also my bucket list would remain the same but my goals can change depending on circumstance. Does this make sense? Maybe I am talking rubbish! They are all in the same bucket, some are just buried deeper than others and are more of a challenge to get out!


    1. Thanks! I thoughts so… although, brilliant wasn’t the word I thought. Maybe… insightful? Interesting? Either way, a word that contains a lot of I’s.


  5. I love this idea of not having a private bucket list! Too often we keep our big dreams a secret because then, if we never achieve them, no one will know but us. But like you said, this makes us miss out on the encouragement of others and it also makes us sacrifice our chances of ever making our secret dream a reality.


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