What do you want to do most during your lifetime? Start a family? Become CEO of a Fortune 500 company? Climb Mount Everest? Witness a meteor shower? Whatever it is, chances are it’s not too late. So why not start fulfilling your dreams and aspirations? In an effort to live life to its fullest, consider creating your very own bucket list: a list of things to do before turning 50.
Why Start A Bucket List?
The point of a bucket list is to create a list of things you’d like to experience but never have. It’s really about living life to its fullest and trying things you’ve always been interested in. When you start a bucket list, you:
- Reconnect with your values. Making a list of how you’d like to spend your time may give you some perspective on how you’re currently living your life.
- Keep track of your goals. Recording your long- and short-term goals can help you stay in touch with them, even when life gets crazy.
- Allow yourself to dream. Brainstorming ideas may help unlock the creativity you have within you. You may find that creating your bucket list inspires you to start living your dreams right away.
- Add joy to your life. What’s the best thing about a bucket list? It’s fun. Creating a bucket list and checking off experience after experience can be a fun project. Sharing it with your loved ones may help bring you closer together.1
Bucket List Ideas: Things to Do Before Turning 50
The fun of a bucket list comes from coming up with your own dreams and ideas. Here are several ideas to help you start brainstorming. You can use this as a springboard to create your own list.
Travel Somewhere You’ve Always Wanted To Go
Traveling the world is something many people dream of doing. Fewer people actually book the flights, hop on a plane, and do it. Whether you dream of a visit to the Trevi fountain in Rome, a gondola in Venice, or a trek in Machu Picchu, write it down on your bucket list.
Travel is scientifically proven to help relieve stress, enhance creativity, and boost happiness.2 So why wait? Go visit Stonehenge, go to a music festival in London, or take that hot air balloon ride in New Mexico sooner rather than later.
Bring Home A Pet
Have you always dreamed of bringing home a dog or cat to join your family? Many people wish they had a pet, but certain obstacles in the past may have held them back.3 If you’ve always dreamed of living with a furry friend, reevaluate these obstacles, think about prioritizing it and make it happen before you turn 50.
Living with a pet can bring you an impressive range of benefits for your social life, emotional health, and physical health.4
Consider Giving Therapy A Try
Even if you don’t have a specific bad habit or issue to unpack, therapy may improve your quality of life. Talking to a professional can give you the self-knowledge and self-control to be the happiest and most loving version of yourself.5
Learn An Entirely New Skill
What’s the best way to stay young at heart? Never stop learning. Pick a skill you’re interested in, take an online or in-person course, and get really good at it. This could be social media, photography, tap dancing, fencing, or anything you dream of. Learning a new skill can help your mind grow stronger.6
Learn To Cook A Signature Dish
Have you always said that “one day” you’ll learn how to cook? You may want to add that to your bucket list. If you’re ready to start, consider tackling the world of cooking in this order:
- Learn the methods, like braising, roasting, and sauteing.
- Play around with different ingredients, like chicken, shrimp, or eggplant.
- Experiment with flavor combinations, like garlic, ginger, and scallions.
- Understand how to balance flavors, like salt, acid, and fat.7
You can learn to cook by taking an in-person cooking class or watching videos online. If you have one favorite dish, like fish and chips, why not learn how to make that and turn it into your signature dish?
Seek Out An Adrenaline Rush
There’s nothing like a good old fashioned adrenaline rush to make you feel alive. An adrenaline rush can elevate your physical and mental alertness. This may heighten other experiences, help ease discomfort, and even support longevity.8,9
Looking for a rush? Try an extreme activity like skydiving or bungee jumping. Or it can be something as simple as trying a new roller coaster or going on a hot air balloon ride. Whatever you choose, you’ll need to make sure you get your doctor’s approval first.
Make A Plan For Your Golden Years
This one is not quite as fun as the other items on the list, but it’s equally important. According to a study done by the Federal Reserve, one in three Americans don’t have a plan for their retirement.10 You probably don’t want to be one of those people.
Add this to your bucket list: plan for retirement. Set financial goals, start saving, and invest for the long term.11 If you’re already 50, you may plan to add catch-up contributions to your 401k or IRA.12 Whatever you want to do, the important part is to make a plan and start now.
Do Something Fun In The Water Or Under Water
Before you turn 50, do that one thing in the water (or under the water) that you’ve always dreamed of. You may wonder what it’s like to swim with dolphins, or maybe you’ve always wanted to scuba dive or surf. Whatever it is, go for it. Trying something new helps you overcome fears, get to know yourself better, and gives you something to talk about.13
Learn A New Language
Habla Espanol? Before you turn 50, why not promise yourself that you’ll start to learn a new language? Learning a new language may help improve your communication skills, sharpen your brain, and support feelings of happiness.14 Plus, if traveling is on your bucket list, having some language skills can really enhance your experience.
Try A Different Job
Have you ever wondered what it might be like to do something else for a living? If you have a potential career passion that you’ve never explored, think about trying it out for a bit. Try shadowing a friend at their job, volunteering in a new industry, or even starting your own business.
No one’s saying you should quit a job that you love, but the idea here is to make sure you don’t have any lingering “what if’s.”
Volunteer For A Cause Close To Your Heart
Once you’re established in your own routine, it can be easy to forget about causes that are close to your heart. Volunteer your time doing something you care about. You could volunteer to feed the homeless population, walk shelter dogs, or mentor children.
Helping others might just help prolong your own life. Studies show that volunteering may help reduce stress and support longevity.15
Why Not Start Crossing Things Off Today?
Once you have a few items on your bucket list, it’s time to get started. A bucket list is all about making sure you experience life to the fullest. So, when you have a few goals written down, get out there and do them. There’s no “perfect time,” so don’t wait. As you continue to experience new adventures, you may think of new things you want to do. Add those to your list too, and keep going.