One of the most important lessons passed on to me was living life through experiences and exploration.
Life is about exploration – one of my dad’s favourite quotes is: “Dance like no one is watching, Love like you have never been hurt, Sing like no one is listening, Live like heaven on earth”. I remember it clearly, a printed image on my dad’s fridge in his apartment in Chicago overlooking the Chicago Times building, the first time I visited him since he had moved from Joburg to the US. This was my first trip abroad at the age of 16 traveling on my own. This was also my first experience and eye opener to how important travel is in teaching you life’s lessons.
Ever since then, I have made it my life’s goal to make a list of all the countries I would travel to on my bucket list and all the other experiences I would explore in my life.
If you don’t live your days by personal goals and plans, chances are you will spend most of your time caught up in your day to day activities while life passes you by. In fact I had a teacher who always said “if you have not written it down on paper, it doesn’t exist in the mind to fulfil”. Hence, the importance of writing, making lists, and more importantly a “bucket list”. I started my bucket list in high school, achieving one of my first goals, which was to learn another language, and this was German, but also listing down 100 things to achieve while I am still on this earth.
I have now managed to travel to almost all my bucket list countries and more with one country still to visit which is Peru, and do Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail. It does feel good to know that I have worked hard at achieving these goals and have achieved 96 items of my list with only 4 to go. These 4 are a lot simpler than the 96 I have focused on for the past 16 years. These last few I am still hoping to achieve over the coming years are: 1. Whale Watching 2. Machu Picchu – Inca Trail 3. Learn to play an Instrument and 4. Watch a live tennis match, Djokovic in action.
Ever feel your days are passing you by without any tangible output to speak of? What did you accomplish in the past 3 months? I often take stock of my achievements and how much of my list I have managed to tick off and achieve, it doesn’t only inspire you it also makes you see how grateful you should be for being able to achieve these things and how fortunate we all are to be able to do so. Reflection and taking stock of one’s life is important, and often we don’t set aside time to do so. What are your upcoming goals for the coming months? Do they mean anything to you if you are to die today? Having a bucket list reminds you of what’s really important so you can act on them.
Even if you frequently live by goals or to-do lists, they are probably framed within a certain social context e.g. performance, career, health. A bucket list opens up the context. It’s a forum to set anything and everything you’ve ever wanted to do, whether it’s big, small or random.
I have listed down experiences such as: starting my own small business, smoking an original Cuban cigar in Havana, swimming with Dolphins, sitting for a couples portrait, building a large snowman, go fly fishing, go skiing, attend an opera at the Sydney Opera House, snorkelling on a remote island, attending a Formula 1 Grand Prix race, eat at one of the top 10 restaurants in the world, it really can be anything your heart desires.
Live in the moment, Take a chance, Live Now – Be in Love with your Life, every minute of it and never lose your sense of wonder. “Our physical lifespan is but a short speck of our existence in the universe”. What are you waiting for? Life is short. Live it. Take risks, as the biggest risk will be the one you don’t take. To new experiences and adventures.