Bucket lists have always been a great topic for discussion at dinner parties and other social gatherings. People love to dream about their future and who doesn’t like to share what they want to experience or accomplish while they still can?

For reference, a bucket list is typically associated with a list of things you would like to do before you die, derived from the idiom, “kick the bucket.” The term was largely popularized by the 2007 movie, “The Bucket List,” in which Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman help each other cross off items on their respective bucket lists.

While a bucket list is inherently personal, recent research revealed the top 10 bucket list items for adults 55 and older:

Top 10 Bucket List Items

  • Travel somewhere exotic or far away.
  • Witness or reach a family milestone (i.e. special anniversary, see a child or grandchild get married).
  • Reach peak physical health.
  • Pay off all debts.
  • Make a lot of money.
  • Make a significant donation or contribution to society.
  • Publish something (i.e. book or music)
  • Master a skill (i.e. painting or pottery-making)
  • Learn an instrument
  • Attend a high-profile event (i.e. Super Bowl or the Academy Awards)

Source: Revolution55 survey with 670 respondents (ages 55+) in April 2021

One of the interesting findings from this research is that most older adults have not made significant changes to their personal bucket list due to COVID-19, although restrictions created by the pandemic have delayed the ability to check off bucket list items.

For many older adults, the pandemic has also reinforced a feeling they should live life to its fullest now because you never know what might happen. It is a sentiment well summed up by one response to the bucket list research:

“I think the pandemic has shown me that I can no longer wait for the right time to check things off my bucket list. The right time is as soon as I can!”

If you already have a bucket list, it might be a good time to review that list given what we have gone through over the past year, not necessarily out of a negative sense of urgency, but perhaps to evaluate if there are new items you want to add or some that just don’t seem to matter as much anymore.

Even if you don’t have a bucket list or have no intention of creating one, there is value in dreaming about the activities you would love to experience and milestones you want to achieve. Perhaps it’s attending the farewell tour of a favorite rock band from the 60s, 70s, or 80s. Maybe it’s getting healthier so that you can dance all night at your child’s wedding. Or maybe it’s about engaging in volunteer work so that you can help others.

The point is, you might just find smaller rewards along the path towards realizing your larger goals, even if they can’t always be crossed off a list.

Just remember one thing—dreams or a bucket list can’t be judged or taken away from you. That’s what makes them so personal, so motivating, so revealing about ourselves, and so much fun to share.