Reverse Bucket List – An Exercise in Gratitude

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 8 years, you’ve probably heard of a Bucket List. There was this big movie that came out about it back in 2007… maybe you heard of it? ;) Well, there’s been a new trend going around the inter webs this year and it’s called the Reverse Bucket List.

I’ve had a traditional bucket list for a long time now. A rolling list of things I want to do and places I want to see before I die. It’s definitely an inspirational list and I can assure you that if I accomplish even a third of what’s on it I will have lived a pretty kick-ass life!

So what’s different about a reverse bucket list? Well, a reverse bucket list is where you sit down and write down all of the things that you have already accomplished! It’s as simple as that! (Or so I thought)

It wasn’t until I sat down to create my own reverse bucket list that I realized it really wasn’t that simple. With a traditional bucket list, it’s easy to open your mind up to new possibilities. It’s easy to imagine all of the things that you hope to accomplish and the places you dream of visiting.

A reverse bucket list, on the other hand, requires a mindset shift of sorts. Instead of dreaming and planning, it requires reflection and gratitude. You wouldn’t think it would be hard to list your accomplishments but often times we tend to belittle our own achievements, thinking that they are not as grandiose as we would like or as exciting as other stories we have heard.

When I sat down to write out my own reverse bucket list, it took me hours! Not because I haven’t done awesome things, but because I kept editing myself. I would cross things off thinking “Nah, that’s not special enough” or “Everyone has done that“.

It wasn’t until I approached my reverse bucket list from a gratitude perspective that it really started to take off. I began to realize that just because an item didn’t sound like a big deal to others, that didn’t mean it was not special or important to me. Once my list was done, I reflected on it for a while and realized how grateful I am for the adventures I have had and how proud I am of my accomplishments.

At first I thought this was just going to be a fun little list to make. A cute way to showcase my adventures. What I didn’t expect was the wave of gratitude that came over me when I read it in it’s entirety. What’s great about this reverse bucket list too, is that I can keep adding to it! (and I’m grateful for that too!)

We've all heard about Bucket Lists. But how about a reverse bucket list?

KARA’S REVERSE BUCKET LIST:

1. LIVED IN COSTA RICA (1990-1996)

One of the most amazing and cherished experiences of my life! I learned to speak Spanish fluently, saw volcanoes, played in rain forests, visited amazing beaches, made life-long friends, and learned to appreciate different cultures.

2. LIVED & WORKED IN 5 DIFFERENT STATES

Moving around so much has definitely helped me to become more tolerant and understanding of different cultures and ways of life. I’ve lived in fast-paced big cities and slow-paced small towns where everyone knows your name.

3. SNORKELED THE BACK SIDE OF THE MOLOKINI CRATER IN MAUI (2013)

The Molokini Crater is amazing in it’s own right, but few people get to snorkel the back side. We were lucky enough that the winds and swells were low enough on the day we went, and therefore got to see the amazing 360 foot drop off on the backside of the crater.

4. WENT SKYDIVING IN LAS VEGAS (2010)

Talk about an adrenaline rush! In addition to the free-fall (which was incredible), the beauty of the sights at this jump sight are almost indescribable. The Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, the Colorado River, Red Rock Canyon, and the Valley of Fire… talk about a feast for the eyes!

5. QUIT SMOKING (2015)

After being a smoker for almost 15 years, I’m proud to say that I was finally able to quit earlier this year. Not being a slave to cigarettes is one of the best feelings in the world!

6. MET & MARRIED THE MAN OF MY DREAMS (2012/2013)

My love, my partner in all things, my best friend. ‘Nuff said! :)

7. LEARNED TO SNOWBOARD (2013)

OK, so I fell on my ass… a LOT! But this also happens to be the trip where Mark proposed to me on a snow-covered mountain top in Colorado. Swoon, anyone? Yeah, I thought so ;)

8. RAN A 1/2 MARATHON (2006)

Running: that one thing that I love and hate all at the same time. I actually stopped running for a long time but I’m happy to report that I’m getting back into the swing of things and I’m hoping to run my first full marathon next year!

9. EXPERIENCED & OVERCAME DEPRESSION (2001)

This was one of those that I wasn’t sure about adding here. But gosh darn it, I am proud that I came out on the other side of depression!

10. STARTED MY OWN BUSINESS (2008, 2010, 2015)

I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit. That’s not to say that I’ve always been successful though. In 2008 I started to spin my own yarn for sale. I soon realized that I just couldn’t charge what I thought my time was worth. In 2010 I started a house cleaning business. Then I realized that I hated cleaning other people’s homes as much as I hated cleaning my own. Finally in 2015 I started selling my boho jewelry and I haven’t looked back since!

11. BEGAN A MEDITATION PRACTICE (2015)

This might be the single best thing I have done for myself! I had toyed around with meditation for years, but finally made the commitment in January and I promise you, it has changed my life!

We've all heard about Bucket Lists. But how about a reverse bucket list?

12. WROTE A BOOK (2015)

Who knew that I had it in me to write an ebook? Finishing those last few pages was one of the best feelings of accomplishment that I have had to date!

13. LEARNED TO KNIT & CROCHET (2006)

In the last few months before my daughter was born, I quit working because frankly I was just too exhausted! (You try being on your feet for 8-10 hours waiting tables in a busy restaurant). I had to find something to occupy my days and I turned to YouTube to teach me how to knit & crochet. To this day it is one of my favorite pastimes :)

14. SAW THE CHERRY BLOSSOMS IN FULL BLOOM IN WASHINGTON D.C. (2003)

It’s no secret that I’m obsessed with cherry blossoms. They are everywhere in my house and I even have a full cherry blossom tattoo sleeve on my left arm. So when I was living just outside of D.C. I had to go see them for myself.

15. BECAME A MOTHER (2006)

The day that Bella was born is one that I will never forget. Finally getting to hold that baby girl that had been kicking around inside of me for 9 months was one of the happiest moments of my life. Fun fact: she was born on her due date… so punctual, that kid!

16. GOT A TATTOO – OR FIVE (2003, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)

I’ll admit it… I’m a sucker for ink! There are lots of pretty designs in my future too!

17. STARTED A BLOG (2015)

I honestly never intended to start a blog, believe it or not. But when I started my jewelry business earlier this year, I knew that a blog was a great way to show my customers a little more about me and my design process. What this blog has evolved into since then was beyond my wildest dreams and I’m so grateful every day that I did it!

18. SWAM WITH THE DOLPHINS (2001)

I was lucky to visit Atlantis in the Bahamas when I graduated high school and even luckier to get the opportunity to swim with dolphins on that trip! Would I do it again? Absolutely!

19. PLAYED IN HIDDEN WATERFALLS IN MAUI (2013)

Our honeymoon in Maui was incredible! My favorite part was our guided tour of the Road to Hana, where we hiked to see some beautiful hidden waterfalls. Our tour guide (hi, Wade!) was amazing and took us to some places that those big tourist buses never get to see!

20. ATE AT AN IRON CHEF’S RESTAURANT (2014)

I’ve always been a big fan of the T.V. show Iron Chef. Little did I know that not only would I get to eat at one of their restaurants but I would end up working for one too!

21. RODE IN THE OUTBACK BLIMP (2007)

Did you know that you cannot buy a ticket to ride in a blimp? You have to be invited! Back in 2007 there were only 7 blimps in the U.S. and I was lucky enough to work for Outback Steakhouse, who owned 2 of them. They ran a sales contest and the grand prize was a ride on the Outback blimp! Guess who won? :)

22. PUT 100,000 MILES ON A CAR THAT I BOUGHT BRAND NEW (2015)

Yup! I love to drive, and being nearly 1,000 miles away from home makes for putting a lot of miles on the wheels!


So there you have it! My very own Reverse Bucket List! Oh, and speaking of gratitude… I’m going to tease you with another glimpse into my Bullet Journal!

Cultivating gratitude in my Bullet Journal. What are you grateful for today?

I promise the full Bullet Journal post is coming up very soon and I think you’re going to love it!

What are the TOP 3 accomplishments in your life that you would add to your own Reverse Bucket List? Do me a favor and let me know in the comments below, will ya?

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Kara Benz

Kara Benz is the artist and author behind Boho Berry, where she inspires her readers to lead a more centered, fulfilled, and inspired life. Kara also runs a successful sticker shop on Etsy – Boho Berry Paperie.

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