Bucket Lists: They Aren't Just for Other People
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By Tracy, Featured Columnist - July 07, 2014


If you are anything like me, as a single mom you have likely suppressed many of the dreams that you had when you were younger because life happened and got in the way. You got married, had children and then separation or divorce forced your hands and guided your actions. Being practical and frugal has become a way of life. BUT- what if you could do anything without time or financial limitations? What would be on your Bucket List?

This past year has been an exercise in re-discovering what makes me happy. What makes me smile…a real smile that makes my eyes sparkle? What gives me true joy? About a year ago, I found a list of 24 Ways to Remind Yourself That You Are Special, (Gannon). It made a difference in how I see my life and allowing myself some small perks without feeling as if I had to break the bank to have them. It turns out that I am not sentenced to a life without perks!

Putting together a Bucket List made me examine my life one step further. Removing the limitations of time and budget, what would I like to do? This exercise was harder than you might think. My very first thoughts were of practical things that I could have with unlimited resources (a new car, house, etc.). Those things are nice goals to have, but they are not bucket list worthy.

Once I started allowing myself the freedom to consider what would make the list, the ideas finally started flowing! Since I am not super-adventurous, or athletic, my list may be too tame for many. I really don’t have a desire to jump out of an airplane, climb a mountain, or train for a marathon. I could probably fill the entire list up with travel, but there are some mildly adventurous things that I would like to do.

On a funny note, when I asked my bff about her bucket list, ALL of hers were activity and travel specific. For example: she wanted to learn to tango in Buenos Aires, learn to make pizza in Italy. Mine are not so tied together, but in some cases, activities and travel go hand in hand.

I have split my list into activities and travel. Amazing that for someone that couldn’t think of items for her list, I really could have made two lists just for travel– one for domestic and one for international.  Here are the top 10 for each:


1)      Go on a cruise

2)      Swim with dolphins

3)      Go whale watching

4)      Go snorkeling

5)      Go on a hot air balloon ride

6)      Learn to dance

7)      Take a class just for fun

8)      Swim in an infinity pool

9)      Buy a property for an animal rescue group: This could be for a specific breed or maybe for service animals. Animals are such loving companions. They deserve placement with those who need their love and can provide for them. I am a firm believer that we are all a little more loving with a pet.

10)  Set up a foundation to help women: Life is very difficult for those who find themselves reeling from the emotional effects of major life events. It’s further complicated by trying to provide for a family after a major loss of financial stability. There is nothing worse than feeling helpless or hopeless. The foundation would be a resource for whatever women need to find well-being again and would include housing subsidies or grants, career counseling, financial counseling, legal services, child care subsidies and/or partnerships and a mentorship program.


My friends and I have often had chats about vacations that are spent going to travel destinations. When they return from such trips, they need a vacation to recover from their vacation. However, free of time and budget constraints, there are so many places that I’d like to go! I would like to mix the types of travel – some which would allow me to explore new places and others that allow me to re-charge.

1)      Hawaii: I would like to see Hawaii and its various islands. I’d like to do touristy things including a helicopter ride over the volcanoes. If I could manage a second week, then I’d like to find a place to stay and just bask in its beauty. 

2)      A spa resort in Arizona: (non-specific) I can only imagine what it is like to spend an entire week focusing on your own well-being. I read a review of Mirival Resort that said, “The bed is a bag of marshmallows with sheets made out of butter. Never in my life have I been in a bed that made me feel more comfortable, nurtured and yummy. Wow.” Single moms- need I say more?

3)      Jackson, Wyoming- This is a combined trip to see the Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park. This could be both a fun a relaxing trip. A day spent floating down the Snake River (despite its name) sounds as nice as a day at the beach.

4)      San Francisco and surrounding areas: I would be happy to explore San Francisco, Sonoma and California Wine Country.

5)      Austria: Flashing back to the fairy tale castles of my childhood and The Sound of Music.  Austria is a must see on my list. Salzburg with its castles… to the rich architecture of Vienna, I can imagine that I will not want to leave. Can I please stay at least one night in a castle?

6)      Venice, Italy: Another romantic city! With its charming canals and gondolas, I can’t resist.

7)      New Zealand / Australia: Breath taking mountains, Great Barrier Reef. The list of things to do and see could make up their own list.

8)      Ireland

9)      Scotland

10)    Greece and/or other islands

This exercise in making my Bucket List made me realize that there are many places I’ve never seen and many adventures I’ve never had! It also made me realize how much we limit ourselves by not allowing ourselves to dream! Whether or not I can find ways to check a few off the list- it didn’t cost me a thing to break out of my normal reality and think of new adventures. It may not be a surprise for those who know me well, but after re-examining my lists, it’s funny what you can tell from my list! I won’t try to deny that I am a water lover and a hopeless romantic! What will your list say about you?




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