It was a few years ago that my wife and I were talking about our next trip/adventure and we began sort of listing places we “could” go.
As we blurted out some far-flung places, we found ourselves saying things like “I don’t need to go there” or “No interest in that place.” That small experience made me make an ANTI-bucket list of the things I was not going to do and not going to waste time considering.
Also, having just turned 60 years old, I also decided I probably had another 15-20 years (if fortunate) of super productive travel/life/activities, and I needed some focus.
A Reverse Bucket List
I have found the working-list very “freeing” as I can easily and politely say “no interest” when certain things come up. Maybe the anti-bucket list actually produces a bucket list in reverse! While it can come across as close-minded, I feel it is actually being more open-minded on the things I want to make sure I have time for.
Here are some excerpts from my anti-bucket list:
1. Travel. Take no offense at the places I am about to list. While I know they are fascinating, adventurous places and worthy of the travel, I simply don’t care. I’m not going.
The list runs something like:
- China. I have already been there twice.
- Some Central American countries. We go to Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
- Some South American countries. I know there is adventure in these places and rich history, but I’m personally out.
When we are making new travel plans, we have the handy list of where we are not going, which makes travel planning much easier.
2. Wine. For years I have focused on and collected Italian, French, and some US/California wines. Everything else? Uninterested.
I continue to learn deeply about the wines and the regions I have fallen in love with. However, I will not be diving into Spanish, South African, Australian, and New Zealand wines or any other places that produces decent wine.
This makes perusing new wines easier in the regions I like—and sort of liberating! I’ll have a pour of the anti-bucket list wines but won’t be collecting or learning about them.
3. Investing. I’m not going to invest in things that may be intellectually interesting, but that I have no experience in, especially on a large scale. Also, I have decided that while I want to have a decent understanding of the following areas, I am not going to deep-dive them and try to become an expert. They are:
- Crypto currencies. I have zero interest in these, but do understand the value and blockchain principles.
- Federal Reserve interest rates. I know they have a great effect on the economy, but they give me a headache.
- Puts/calls and instruments like that. I have rarely made money on them.
- Foreign currencies. I track the Euro and AUS$ for my business concerns. I have little interest in learning how/when/why they change.
- Non-US Stocks. I have seen enough to know that US stocks outperform non-US stocks and I understand our market better.
4. Circle of Friends. I am at capacity for friends. With my circle of friends/family, I’m set. Between my friends/neighbors in New Jersey, my golf friends, my college buddies, business colleagues/friends, and large families, my life is full.
The one place I could use some buddies/couples is California where we have found it harder to make friends since we come-and-go. Being there part-time makes it a challenge to initiate new, lasting friendships.
Even though we’re always interested in meeting truly interesting people to hang with and expanding the circle meaningfully, seeking out new friendships won’t be a priority.
5. Philanthropy. Between the universities I am close to and some other smaller charities, I am satisfied with my philanthropic work. I would rather focus our efforts and resources in places we enjoy, value, and feel we can make a difference. This decision has made it easier to say “no” to the myriad asks that pop-up.
This is my anti-bucket list. The menu of life is vast, and choice paralysis is real. The anti-bucket list has allowed me to sort out which things are most deserving of my time and attention. Your list might look quite different—I hope it does! With limited time on this Earth, no one gets to do everything, but I challenge you to drill down into the things that you definitely don’t feel compelled to experience so you can have clarity on how your remaining time should be spent.