A Bucket List Re-Focus: My “To Try” List

posted in: Bucket List, Outdoors, Personal | 4

There is something inspiring about a new year. We might be a couple of weeks in now, but the idea of setting goals and resolutions for the next 12 months is still at the forefront of my mind. I’m still considering carefully what that might mean for me; I want to set a series of goals that will do a number of things – develop myself as a person, mean I can try out some new things, and also give me opportunity to inspire other people.

This has all got me thinking way too much, and as a result of all that contemplation, I’ve decided to give my bucket list a bit of a re-focus. It is time to make the most of it.

Bucket List Image - Life is all about the Journey

Photo taken on my Friday morning hike up Kinder Scout last summer.

My Bucket List History

You may or may not know that my bucket list didn’t start out as a bucket list. I’ve always enjoyed trying new things and have always had a kind of list of things I’ve wanted to try out. When I turned 25 I decided to write all those things down and make it my project – that document was titled “before I’m 30” and it included all kinds of things such as do a skydive, learn to surf, and get a Masters degree.

Learning to Surf in Cornwall

Learning to surf with Ashleigh from Oneill Surf Academy, Watergate Bay, Cornwall. 

Over the following five years I added more to my list than I ticked off. The ideas came thick and fast thanks to magazines, television programmes, and family and friends (not to mention twitter!). I realised very quickly that I would quite simply never achieve everything, and so the rules of my list had to be revisited, or come my 30th birthday I was going to be incredibly disappointed over my lack of achievement rather than be happy with what I had been able to do. My bucket list – or my big list of things to do – was born.

The problem with a bucket list is it’s generally full of things that you might only do once, that are expensive, that involve lots of preparation, and that don’t allow for your changing circumstances. Mine has definitely become that – there is some seriousness in there (move up the property ladder was one such thing), but the vast majority are physical activities that involve high levels of fitness, a large travel fund, and endless time away from the day job. None of which I have.

Fly Boarding at Tattershall Lakes

Flyboarding at Tattershall Lakes near Lincoln. So much fun I can’t even tell you!

The biggest problem with how my bucket list has evolved is not only does it rely on having loads of time and money to spend, but it also relies on me “achieving” lots of things. That is, there is an element of success or failure in many of the items, which inevitably leads to disappointment. There are some things that I simply will not be able to do to a particular standard, but that shouldn’t be putting me off giving them a go. Running 10km in under an hour is an excellent example; it’s been on my list for years and I have been outside the hour every single time I’ve tried (and yes, I trained). I’ve pretty much given up on that one now I think, and feel like a failure as a result. I should have just put “run 10km”.

A bucket list should be full of things I want to try once as well as things I want to learn and get good at – things I want to experience at different levels. It should be full of adventure in every sense of that word – at home, away, on my own, with family and friends, through organised activities, on a random Sunday morning, and even effort that lasts a lifetime. It should provide me and those around me with a plethora of things to do that create memories, offer opportunities to take photographs, and prove that life is all about the journey.

The Grand Canyon

View of the Grand Canyon last summer. A very traditional Bucket List item.

So why do I still want one of these lists even though they are full of potential problems and I’ve already admitted I shan’t be able to do everything that is on it?

The fact is I want a list so I have a) somewhere to write down my hopes and dreams so I know what I’m aiming for, and b) somewhere that records all the amazing things I’ve had the opportunity to do so I don’t run the risk of forgetting. If I am to prove that life is all about the journey I need to know what steps I have taken along my path, and have some kind of idea of the turnings I should take when I come to a junction. To continue the metaphor, a bucket list for me is a series of signposts that mark my way along the road. It will be the thing that keeps me busy, the thing that keeps me motivated, the thing that makes me want to get up and do something rather than just vegetating on the sofa.

My “To Try” and “To Try Again” List

With all this in mind, my bucket list is now my “to try” list. I’ll still refer to it as my bucket list, of course, but it is a no-pressure list that gives me somewhere to make note of all the things I have ever thought “oh yea I’d like to do that sometime”. Anything and everything I want to give a go will make its way onto that list. It will be huge. Absolutely enormous. I will have so many things on the list I can never be bored! It will still have all the usual and traditional bucket list items on it, the adrenaline fuelled experiences, the “must see” places, the very expensive things. And it will also include things I want to do again, things I want to get good at, things that will take an awful lot of planning and consideration. Not to mention the simple things I really should have tried already that everyone else has already mastered.

Skiing in Ruka, Finland

Skiing in Ruka, Finland. Add this place to your list if you’ve never been – it’s stunning. 

To give you an idea, last night I added these things to my list…

  • Make my own pair of shoes. I love shoes, but have never considered trying to make my own until now. I’m thinking a nice pair of leather sandals for the summer. Anyone know of a tutor who can instruct me?
  • Present a radio show. That’s as the presenter – not just be a interviewed on radio which I’ve had the pleasure of doing a number of times now. I want to choose the music and choose the phone-in topic. Do you know anyone who could make this happen for me?
  • Do a flip on a trampoline. Actually trampolining is not new to me; I was lucky enough to have a go at School and also more recently at a “have a go” event at work. But in order to do a flip I need to go somewhere with a harness don’t I? You tell me!
  • Go curling. You know, the sport with the stones and brooms that Team GB are surprisingly good at thanks to the likes of Eve Muirhead and her team mates. I want to know how they can slide along the ice on one foot so accurately!
  • Play an Alpine Horn (Alphorn) on the top of a hill. It doesn’t have to be in Switzerland! I wonder if Bill Bailey would lend me his for the occasion? Unless you have one I can borrow for a jaunt up a nice green hill?

Splodz Blogz will of course be the place where I write about all my experiences. If you want to see the list as it is at the moment then head over to my Bucket List page and have a look. And as I say very regularly, if you have any suggestions of things I really should try, or if you have an idea about how I can move something from “to try” to “try again sometime, maybe” then give me a shout in any of the usual ways. I am always open to ideas – you must have some!

I might not have any idea of what I want to be when I grow up, but my “to try” list will mean I might never need to choose. Or it might lead to something I never even imagined. It is possible to go through live sticking our fingers in lots of pies and enjoying all the flavours – I’ve never been too fussy!

Life is all about the journey. I am going to try and make the most of mine.

Bucket List Image - Life is all about the Journey



4 Responses

  1. Shybiker

    I like this post and your aspirations. It’s better to incorporate new activities into our lives than do something only once.

    • Splodz

      Thanks Ally. Trying new things is very important to me, it really make me smile and I think it makes life very interesting. I hope through trying all these things that I might find a handful I love so much I want to do them all the time 🙂

  2. Jo Cross

    Hi Zoe,

    I really like your “to try again” list idea. Once we have achieved things on our bucket “to try” list, we cross them off as done but what if we really enjoyed doing them and want try them again? Get them back on that “to try again” list I say. After all as you say, life is all about the journey and we should make the best we can.


    • Splodz

      Yes absolutely – right back on the list for sure – some things just aren’t made for “once”. There are many things on here I’d love to do again, and some I have done loads of times as a result of trying them that first time without any pressure on myself to like it. I think that’s the key – no pressure, just trying.

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