TouchdownCMYKIn our previous issue, we looked at the possibility of turning wishes into hopes and into goals — steps toward turning wishes into realities. A 2007 movie, The Bucket List, popularized the term, “bucket list.” A bucket list is a list of things you want to accomplish or obtain before you “kick the bucket,” a euphemism of unverified origin for “die.” It is a catalog of goals you intend to reach, no matter what.

They can be as frivolous as running barefoot in the sand and as meaningful as befriending a stranger. You might want to read a book or write a book. You can learn something new or teach someone new. Let loose and boogie at a party or attend a solitary, disciplined retreat. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination and the suggestions of others.

It’s been said that if you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time. 100% accuracy is worthless when the score is zero. Imagine a football game in a stadium without goal posts and yard lines. Players would just scramble around the field with no purpose or progress. The fans and the players would soon lose interest (unless a fight breaks out). There would be a lot of time and energy spent with no accomplishments. Fans would certainly regret buying tickets for such an event, and as we saw in the second installment, regrets can be painful.

A bucket list, by its nature, includes things you might not normally do, or perhaps have never considered. For most people, parachuting and hang gliding are not daily routines. Activities like making new friends, sleeping outdoors, and volunteering at a hospice, may be outside your comfort zone, but so is dying, so you might as well make the most of life.
What does a bucket list have to do with legacy? You can use the opportunity to set an example for future generations, create memories, and do something special for and with family members. Besides material possessions, one thing everyone leaves behind is what people think of them — how they are remembered. “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold” (Proverbs 22:1). “The memory of the righteous is a blessing, but the name of the wicked will rot” (Proverbs 10:7). A primary goal should be to leave behind a good name.

Maybe you can’t take that world cruise or zoom down that zip line, but you can resolve to be kinder to your caregiver or pray for three people every day. If you can get out and go shopping, buy a treat for someone who needs a lift or pay for the groceries of a public servant who is standing next in line. Learn a new word every day, or vow to unlearn an unpleasant word you’ve used carelessly. In any case, make your first goal to get up in the morning and say, “Today, I am going to (fill in the blank).”

In our final installment, we will look at goals for when we reach our final installment in life. There are things to do before you die, but what about afterward?

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