This piece first appeared on MidlifeAGoGo.com.  See Valerie’s complete bio and contact info below the post.

Bucket lists. We’ve all heard of them. And, chances are, many of you have seen the 2007 movie of the same name with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, both of whom are terminally ill in the film. Yeah, um, uh . . . okay.

Almost four years ago, on my 49th birthday, I began compiling what I referred to as my “50 at 50,” and it was my Midlife Mantra. The “50 at 50” was a compilation that was a personal challenge of sorts for me – I was on a quest to see how many of the 50 items I could tick off the list before I turned 50. Some were innocuous, like growing a vegetable or try my first Bloody Mary, while others (at least two) were decidedly on the scandalous side (take a pole dancing class and ride my bike around my subdivision…topless).

While I didn’t get to fulfill every item on the list within that one-year timeframe, it was wonderful giving myself a goal — or in this case, 50 — to strive towards.

 

When a Bucket List Isn’t Really a Bucket List

 

So now back to the bucket list. I’m not a fan of that term. In fact, I loathe it…I really do. It has a decidedly creepy and morbid connotation to me. Merriam-Webster defines it this way:

 

Bucket List: a list of things that one has not done before but wants to do before dying.

 

It’s semantics, really; death is inevitable and we know this. However, I’d prefer not to have a countdown to when I kick the bucket. Instead of making a list of Things I Want To Do Before I Die, I’d much rather have one along the lines of Things I Want To Do While I’m Still Alive And Kickin’. 

Everyone’s life is different. The values we place on tangibles and intangibles or needs and wants can vary wildly, but perhaps there is a core set of tenets inherent in all of us. You know, those beliefs that inspire kumbuya moments or makes everyone in the room emit a collective “Awwwwww.”

In the spirit of a-bucket-list-that-isn’t-a-bucket-list, here are 50 things to consider if and when you decide to venture into the “things you want to do while you’re still alive and kickin’” territory.

Trading in my Bucket List for : Things I Want To Do While I’m Still Alive And Kickin’ ListClick To Tweet
  1. Exhibit random acts of kindness.
  2. Learn something new.
  3. Volunteer.
  4. Adopt a pet.
  5. Talk to strangers.
  6. Stop and smell the roses. And the tulips, orchids, lilies, daisies, lilacs, carnations, etc.
  7. Dance. Dance. Dance. Did I mention, dance?
  8. Mentor someone.
  9. Laugh often and laugh loud.
  10. Eat peanut butter from the jar with your finger.
  11. Pay it forward.
  12. Have a pillow fight.
  13. Randomly pick a place on the map and travel there.
  14. Go skinny dipping.
  15. Read your favorite book — out loud.
  16. Sing karaoke loud and proud.
  17. Do something that takes you totally out of your comfort zone.
  18. Hula hoop just for the fun of it.
  19. Write a note of appreciation to your mail carrier and leave it for him/her in your mailbox.
  20. Camp out overnight in your backyard and sleep under the stars.
  21. Tap into your inner child.
  22. Eat an entire pizza in one sitting — guilt-free.
  23. Learn a new language.
  24. Brew your own beer at home.
  25. Bake a cake for your neighbor . . . just because.
  26. Do a cartwheel.
  27. Plant a tree.
  28. Make someone smile.
  29. Pay the bill for the person behind you in the grocery store.
  30. Play in the rain.
  31. Buy a meal for a homeless person.
  32. Learn sign language.
  33. Laugh until you: a) cry, b) snort, c) fart, or d) do all three.
  34. Donate an insanely large amount of food to your local food bank.
  35. Grow your favorite herbs.
  36. Compliment a stranger.
  37. Forgive someone.
  38. Say “thank you,” “I love you,” and “keep the change” more often.
  39. Participate in a flash mob.
  40. Splurge on the most extravagant meal you’ve ever had.
  41. Love yourself immensely.
  42. Take a pottery making class.
  43. When it’s raining, share your umbrella with a stranger.
  44. Make a difference.
  45. Learn to play an instrument.
  46. Write a love letter to yourself.
  47. Crash a wedding.
  48. Plan a Date Night for you and your sweetie and hire a limo to chauffeur you in style.
  49. Go fly a kite.
  50. Always be your authentic self.

How do you feel about having a bucket list?’ Have you created one? What’s on it? Tell me about it in the comments.

In the spirit of a-bucket-list-that-isn’t-a-bucket-list, here are 50 things to consider if and when you decide to venture into the “things you want to do while you’re still alive and kickin'” territory.

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Be sure to check out Elena’s post on trading in your bucket list for a f@ck it list.