The Reverse Bucket List

Many people draw up a bucket list of things they’d like to see and do before they die. I have always found the concept a bit morbid … and then I came up with a great concept: the reverse bucket list.

I think it’s one of the best ideas for bucket lists ever: to focus on the the wonderful experiences you’ve already had.

For me, another list of things to do seems like a lot of pressure that I don’t really need. And a list of things I want to do and see is only going to get longer the more I learn about our amazing world. In this time-starved information-overload modern world, more pressure is the last thing anyone needs.

Many of the highlights of my life weren’t planned and researched, they just happened. I think those moments should be celebrated.

So here’s my reverse bucket list. It isn’t supposed to be a brag or a “look at me and the special things I’ve done” list. It’s just a bit of reflection and an attempt to stay focused on the positives, especially when my spirits flag. These are the experiences I had that, even at the time, I thought “wow, isn’t this great”. And looking back (especially when I’ve been stuck at work in front of multiple computer screens) they seem even more “wow”.

I get such a lift when I read this list. And no matter how down in the dumps I’m feeling before I read it, it always makes me smile … and most times I think of something else I can add to my list. Because life is wonderful!

My Reverse Bucket List

I have:

  • * Named a mountain after my Mum. (I was 10 and it was only a hill and it probably already had a name. But I planted an environmentally-friendly paper flag on a stick and drew a map so Mum could find it.)
  • * Snorkeled and dived the Great Barrier Reef
  • * Dived the SS President Coolidge wreck in Vanuatu
  • * Seen Mount Everest with my own eyes. (Only a little bit was peeking out of the clouds the day I took a scenic flight but it was thrilling all the same.)
  • * Bathed in the Ganges in India. (And screamed like a banshee when some floating thing touched me on the way past. I hope it wasn’t a leg or an arm.)
  • * Become a certified scuba diver
  • * Ridden an elephant in Laos
  • * Seen rhinoceros, kangaroos, snakes, koalas, wallabies, quokkas and dingoes  in the wild. As well as fresh tiger poo.
  • * Ridden a bicycle across Cambodia
  • * Ridden a bicycle across Vietnam with my Dad
  • * Spent one magical day cycling through Provence
  • * Had two babies (the logistics are best glossed over)
  • * Interviewed a prime minister
  • * Seen Uluru (otherwise known as Ayers Rock)
  • * Seen the Acropolis in Athens, Greece
  • * Seen the Colosseum in Rome, Italy
  • * Watched my daughter clamber over Roman ruins in France
  • * Seen the pyramids (in the distance)
  • * Explored Coptic Cairo with a two-year-old
  • * Traveled through Egypt, France and Switzerland for five weeks solo parenting a toddler after Darling Man was refused a visa
  • * Been kissed by a billionaire. (Yes, Sir Richard Branson still holds the title of “richest man ever to kiss me” even though it was only a peck on the cheek because for some reason he thought there was a line of girls waiting to greet him. But it was just one of those weird crowd moments, where people were in a line rather than in clumps.)
  • * Delivered my dad’s eulogy without crying (much)
  • * Seen Halley’s Comet
  • * Been licked by a three-day-old elephant in Nepal
  • * Flown a plane (for about 15 seconds, when I was eight)
  • * Ridden a motorbike in Vietnam
  • * Ridden a motorbike in Thailand
  • * Ridden a horse in the Australian outback
  • * Slept under the stars
  • * Seen a rainbow
  • * Seen snow
  • * Seen hail the size of golf balls
  • * Skiied
  • * Drunk free wine
  • * Worn the family tartan
  • * Learned enough of a foreign language to get by
  • * Accepted a job offer in a bar on an outer island of Vanuatu (and subsequently helped film a documentary)
  • * Made friends from all around the world
  • * Shared 13 wonderful wonderful years with my canine best friend (and, oh, how I miss her)
  • * Seen the sun rise over the ocean
  • * Seen the sun set over the ocean
  • * Waterskiied
  • * Kissed the most handsome man in Vietnam, the most handsome man in Australia, the most handsome man in Thailand, the most handsome man in Singapore, the most handsome man in the Philippines, the most handsome man in Cambodia, the most handsome man in Indonesia and the most handsome man in Malaysia. (As voted by me. All the same guy, just did the kissing in different countries.)
  • * Competed in the Pier To Pub, the world’s largest ocean water swim (AND didn’t come last)
  • * Stood on the most northern point of Australia
  • * Stood on the most eastern point of Australia
  • * Been blessed by a monk at an obscure wat in northern Thailand
  • * Sipped absinthe at a Czech bar in Melbourne during a bluegrass music performance
  • * Eaten saukraut with chopsticks at a Czech brewery in Vietnam
  • * Seen the sun rise over the Himalaya
  • * Seen the Eiffel Tower, in the day and at night
  • * Fossiked for gemstones in Anakie in central Queensland
  • * Attended real live rodeos in north-west Queensland
  • * Worked as a professional pear picker
  • * Worked as a professional pirate
  • * Seen the Taj Mahal change colour as the sun set and, the next morning, rose
  • * Come home — regularly — to an extended-mix five-star super-squeezy VIP baby cuddle (with sound effects)
  • * Watched my daughter learn to jump at a temple in Malaysia
  • * Heard my daughter say “I love you” for the first time – to my Mum!
  • * Realised my baby suddenly has enough words for a conversation (oh, and what funny conversations they are too)
  • * Believed the guy that said the dugong were singing love songs in harmony with my snoring (a sleeping under the stars on the beach story)
  • * Burned around Versailles in a golf cart
  • * Drank Malanda Milk in Malanda and ate Milla Milla cheese in Milla Milla
  • * Lived on Yorkey’s Knob (a suburb of Cairns in far north Queensland)
  • * Seen Loch Ness
  • * Seen a complete rainbow
  • * Crossed a country by taxi
  • * Stood up on a surf board
  • * Crossed an international border for a meal
  • * Stumbled across the most amazing 700-year-old wat in northern Thailand in an attempt to find shelter from the rain
  • * Watched someone wake up, register my presence and smile a smile full of love.

The only thing I could think of as the opposite of a bucket was a sandcastle. But calling this my sandcastle list sounded a bit too obscure.

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