Don't wait to live: Realistic Bucket List Living for Right Now

I had a “bucket list” before they were cool.

In fact, I don’t think the term bucket list was even around yet.

But as I sat there as a 20-year-old in the kitchen of my parents’ house at my super swanky Compaq Presario computer (way to show my age right off the bat), I knew that I wanted to DO stuff.

And by “stuff,” I didn’t mean just go drinking and dancing with my girlfriends every weekend or follow the traditional college-job-marry-baby route.  I wanted to do FUN stuff.  EXCITING stuff.  Stuff that I wouldn’t look back at the end of my life and wish I had done.

So I made a “Life To Do” list that included everything from salsa dancing and karaoke singing, to driving a race car and kissing atop the Empire State Building at night.  All total, it had 60 items that were completely schizophrenic in nature.

As any bucket list worth its salt should be.

But then, life happened.  Fast forward to 2013, where I’m… a little bit older… and I still haven’t checked the majority of the items off the list.  In fact, I think I had only checked off TWO.  Sigh.

The good news, however, was I still had the list (thankfully I had printed it out ‘cuz the Compaq went to computer heaven in the sky a long time ago).  And more importantly… I still had the gusto to make it happen!

In fact, I had more motivation than ever.

After watching my beloved mother (who was also my BFF) pass away from cancer just six months after her diagnosis, it became clearer to me than ever, that you truly don’t know how much time you have left.

Why are we all “waiting” around to live… ‘til we’re older, ‘til we retire, ‘til we get married, ‘til we have kids, ‘til the kids are grown, ‘til we have more money… when we don’t even know if we’re gonna be around long enough for that TIL to happen?

So I dusted off the list, made just a few slight edits (I could really care less about a makeover, a designer bag or meeting Oprah at this point in my life) and set out with a new conviction to GET ‘ER DONE!

And now, not only is my bucket list slowly but surely getting marked off, but I consider “bucket list living” a way of life!

What is “bucket list living” you ask?  Well, let me tell you.

Bucket list living means always being present and REALLY remembering how precious life is.  It means taking chances as much as possible.  Believing in your dreams.  Going after your goals and having adventures.  NOW.  Not later.

But… “I have a full time job to work, a side “hustle” to launch, a husband to raise love, kids to raise and housework to do.  How am I supposed to find time to be part of a flash mob and write a best-selling book?” you ask.

Well, the answer is actually pretty simple.

You make the time.

No, this is not some sort of wizardry I speak of where you can add extra hours to your day (I wish).  No, the key is to make bucket list living a priority.

For example, let’s say you have always wanted to learn to paint but you feel like you just never have the time, much less the money to buy supplies.

Well, how much did you spend on Starbucks this week?  (It’s okay… we’re all friends here, we know you’ve earned more gold stars on your Starbucks Rewards card than you did on all of your papers from elementary school.)

And how many hours have you spent scrolling through Facebook or Instagram, liking and commenting posts like your life depended on it?  Or perhaps the sun has risen and set, all while you binge-watch the latest season of Random Housewives.

The point is, there is always time and money available for your dreams.  You may just not realize it.

If you’ve always wanted to paint, then paint!  Give up those lattes for two weeks and use the money to enroll in an art course at a local community college or rec center.  Then take that hour or two that used to get swallowed up by Facebook or Netflix, and go to the class!

Suddenly, you’ll be marking things off your life to-do list left and right.  And wonder what in the world you were doing before.

Bucket list living doesn’t have to be a dream for another day.  It can be your reality now.

So, stop waiting and start doing.

Because life is too short to live any other way.

About the Author

Jenn Baxter is an accomplished writer in Charlotte, NC, who has been published in numerous newspapers and magazines, as well as featured as a columnist on

In 2015, she launched her website, Live a F.a.s.t. Life, based on her own experiences with clean living, emotional health and downsizing into a 160 sq. ft. tiny house, and released her first book, “Tiny Abundance:  My Journey to a Simple, Yet Fabulously Abundant Life in 160 Square Feet.”.  She also strives to help others learn to clean up their homes, their bodies and their lives in her e-course collection, “De-Clutter, De-Tox, De-Stress.”  Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Google +.