Throw Away the Bucket List

Date Posted: August 17, 2015
Posted in: Expat Life, Personal, Travel Tales

Jay Smith live your life

I read this article penned by Jay Smith, a man suffering from ALS. It may be horrible to say, but I truly believe that people facing death offer the best wisdom. When faced with your own mortality, you may make different decisions about your life. You may prioritize things differently; you might reevaluate aspects of your everyday existence.

I like to live my life as if I were dying. I like to know that whenever that inevitable eventuality occurs, I took advantage of each and every moment along the way – or at least I tried. It is so easy to get caught up in mundane daily life and to forget how fleeting a moment truly is. But how amazing would this world be if we could each live our days accepting our short time here and therefore appreciate our present moments?

Sometimes I catch people off-guard when I ask them what they love about life, or where they would go if money were no object, or what work they would like to do if they could choose any job in the world. Sometimes, I scare people by asking them questions that make them question their own realities. I don’t like asking, “What do you do?” to figure out a person’s current job to place them into a box of people in a similar profession. I like to ask people about their joys, their passions, their lofty goals.

We should ask those questions of ourselves every single day. We should live as if we would die tomorrow. I don’t mean run out and spend every penny you have on one crazy experience without hesitation. I don’t mean you should forget your manners and disregard others in your own effort to live life fully.

Life can be fully lived in the smallest of moments. You don’t need a bucket list to tell you all the things you can do to enjoy life! Don’t make it a life mission to check items off of yet another list. Bucket lists are just elongated versions of a to do list, but I prefer calling myself a human being rather than a human doing.

Have goals. Have dreams. But you don’t need to write them down in a desperate attempt to ensure you experience everything there is in this life. Those amazing experiences are happening every moment of every day if you just look around and notice them. Don’t be so busy writing lists to check them off that you forget to look up.

Take Jay Smith’s advice: Live your life in slow motion, noting every detail, creating space for each moment to linger in your memory.

Take a moment to admire the beautifully strange dragonfly on your arm. That is an experience worth noting, but I would guess you didn’t have it written on your bucket list.


Make sure you sign up for my newsletter to stay updated! There are pop-up boxes to enter your name and email address.

Connect with me on Facebook for more regular updates, and I’m also on TwitterInstagram, and Pinterest. Let’s be friends! 

I read this article penned by Jay Smith, a man suffering from ALS. It may be horrible to say, but I truly believe that people facing death offer the best wisdom. When faced with your own mortality, you may make different decisions about your life. You may prioritize things differently; you might reevaluate aspects of your everyday existence.

I like to live my life as if I were dying. I like to know that whenever that inevitable eventuality occurs, I took advantage of each and every moment along the way – or at least I tried. It is so easy to get caught up in mundane daily life and to forget how fleeting a moment truly is. But how amazing would this world be if we could each live our days accepting our short time here and therefore appreciate our present moments?

Sometimes I catch people off-guard when I ask them what they love about life, or where they would go if money were no object, or what work they would like to do if they could choose any job in the world. Sometimes, I scare people by asking them questions that make them question their own realities. I don’t like asking, “What do you do?” to figure out a person’s current job to place them into a box of people in a similar profession. I like to ask people about their joys, their passions, their lofty goals.

We should ask those questions of ourselves every single day. We should live as if we would die tomorrow. I don’t mean run out and spend every penny you have on one crazy experience without hesitation. I don’t mean you should forget your manners and disregard others in your own effort to live life fully.

Life can be fully lived in the smallest of moments. You don’t need a bucket list to tell you all the things you can do to enjoy life! Don’t make it a life mission to check items off of yet another list. Bucket lists are just elongated versions of a to do list, but I prefer calling myself a human being rather than a human doing.

Have goals. Have dreams. But you don’t need to write them down in a desperate attempt to ensure you experience everything there is in this life. Those amazing experiences are happening every moment of every day if you just look around and notice them. Don’t be so busy writing lists to check them off that you forget to look up.

Take Jay Smith’s advice: Live your life in slow motion, noting every detail, creating space for each moment to linger in your memory.

Take a moment to admire the beautifully strange dragonfly on your arm. That is an experience worth noting, but I would guess you didn’t have it written on your bucket list.


Make sure you sign up for my newsletter to stay updated! There are pop-up boxes to enter your name and email address.

Connect with me on Facebook for more regular updates, and I’m also on TwitterInstagram, and Pinterest. Let’s be friends! 

About the author

Amanda Walkins

Serial expat Amanda Walkins is a freelance writer & blogger. She has lived in 7 countries, traveled to many more, and loves helping people explore the world through slow travel (like house and pet sitting!) and living overseas.