I haven’t thought about having a bucket list before, but as my career timeline gets shorter, the more I think about a list of goals that I had written some 20 years ago.
I had started a new job at a retail clothing company and it was the first time in my life that I was required to attend an induction. I remember very little with the exception of the session run by the CIO. He spoke about having personal as well as career goals and one of the exercises we did was to write down our goals and to put a timeline to it.
I don’t remember all the goals I wrote on that list. What I do remember is that for me they were BHAG goals – big hairy audacious goals. They weren’t goals that would be easy to achieve. Some would take years. And after the induction, I forgot about them. Yet somehow, years later when I achieved the first goal on that list, I remembered that it was on the list and I mentally ticked it off. And when I achieved the second, I remember thinking not for the first time how amazing the universe is that it conspired to make that goal/dream a reality.
Strangely enough, a couple of these goals were preceded by what I now consider milestones. One of the goals on that list was to drive a Mercedes Benz. When I acquired my first BMW, I fell in love and owned another three BMWs after that. I thought that I would never wish to drive any other make of car. But once you send a wish out to the universe, the universe delivers when you least expect it to. I had an accident and wrote off the smallest BM that I had ever owned. Without going into all the details, a friend’s husband was selling off a few cars and he offered me a Mercedes Benz. That was ten years ago and I still drive that car today.
At about the time that I joined that company, I had just started road running to keep my weight down. I didn’t run very far, and I was considered a very slow runner, but I had taken to running every day after work. One of the goals I had was to run what is reputedly the most beautiful ultra marathon in South Africa and one of the most beautiful in the world. The Two Oceans Marathon in Cape Town got it’s name from the fact that both the Indian and the Atlantic oceans can be viewed from different vantage points along the route. But I ran too slowly to qualify for the race and qualified instead for the Comrades Marathon which is the most prestigious ultra marathon in South Africa. And so it came about that I first ran a 91km marathon before running my dream marathon of 56km the following year.
On that list was the adoption of a baby. My husband and I couldn’t have children and we had tried to adopt about five years previously and had not been successful. So although I thought that the timing was not right for a baby, my husband wanted a baby so much that I added a baby to the list. Well, our daughter arrived at the most inopportune time, six weeks after I started at another company, but as many of you already know, now I would not have had it any other way.
One item on that list comes back to haunt me almost every year. I wanted to register for an MBA degree after graduating. I never did. At the time that I wrote that list I was already in my early thirties and it was about the time that most professionals start their MBA journeys. I was highly ambitious in those days so onto my list went the MBA. Sometimes I think that I worry about that MBA more because it shouts FAILURE to me rather than because I still want to achieve it. I remind myself that bucket lists can change and that I don’t remember the other items on the list anyway. Yet still it rises to the top of my thoughts year after year.
I think there was an item on the list about going back to China. My husband and I had been to China a few years back and we didn’t get to see everything that I had wanted to because our visit was just a few months after the Tianamin Square uprising and the people were still nervous about any repercussions. We haven’t been back yet but we have travelled to different parts of the world since then and while I would still like to return to China, there are many other countries that I would like to visit first.
And I’ve just remembered what I think was the last item on that list! I was born at the coast and I would like to retire at the coast. Now this is something that I have not given up on. Accommodation at the coast is very pricey, so I have started making enquiries about retirement homes. It seems that we will have to sell our home in order to afford a home at the coast. My husband isn’t keen. So there is still lots to talk about. But I truly believe that the universe will conspire to make this happen too, so it’s just a matter of waiting for the right time.
It has taken far too long to tick just four items off a list that was written more than twenty years. I think it is time for a new bucket list! And to actively work towards getting them done. I have also learnt to not only have BHAG goals and I’ll add a few smaller goals to the list this time round.
Until next time ☕️