Don’t Wait Until You See the Bucket Coming to Start Your Bucket List

I have no idea where the phrase “kicking the bucket” came from. It’s not a very inviting image, but I’m going with it because we’ve all seen the movie, right? So here’s some advice from someone who wishes she had used her allotted time more wisely:

Don’t wait until you can see the bucket coming to start working on your bucket list.
Busyness is a bucket list’s worst enemy.

And, yes, I understand raising a family or building a career or running a ministry takes time. Lot’s of it. But in the midst of all these very worthy and important endeavors, are you paying any attention to your personal “to do before I die” list?

What skill do you want to hone? What would you love to create if you had the time to do it?

I’ve spent most of my “allotted time” as a preacher’s wife, a Sunday school teacher, a singer/songwriter, the church pianist.

Great things! I loved every minute of it. Well, if I’m honest, not every minute. Maybe not even every other minute. But I loved it, and I loved the people we served. However, I didn’t take much time doing anything but church stuff. And as spiritual as that sounds, it can be bad for you and the church.

Writing a novel was on my bucket list.

I finally got that done! It took about 15 years. Not because it takes 15 years to write a book. I didn’t take enough time out of my schedule to learn the craft, so I actually rewrote The Struggle for Love: The Story of Leah about 30 times. That’s not an exaggeration. It’s probably an understatement. If you’ve read the book and you’d like to have some of the out takes from it, download a PDF here. I’d be happy to have someone read some of that work that ended up on the cutting room floor! This chapter is about young Leah at the time of her mother’s death. I hated to cut it, but I had to start the novel when she was older.

I’m moving much more quickly on my upcoming novel. I might have it done in half that time. Just kidding. I’m hoping to have it published in a few months.

When I look at the portfolios of some of the younger authors I follow, I wish I’d have started much, much earlier.

So, my family’s grown. Heck, most of my grandchildren are grown, so I’m spending time writing. That’s good, but now I’m wondering if I’ll ever have time to scroll down a little lower on my bucket list and do some art.

Maybe you’re working on the top thing on yours, but how about the things a little further down? God has given us all many talents, but most of us are fortunate if we truly develop even one of them.

My sister passed away a few months ago.

She was an amazing artist. She has paintings in many parts of the world. She kept a photographic record of the paintings she sold at art shows. She certainly had more paintings to her credit than I have books!

I was always a little jealous of Colleen. Sorry, Sis.

I spent my time on music and drama because, in the church, somebody has to play the piano and put together the Christmas plays. Right?

And before churches started hiring people to do that, most of it fell to the pastor’s wife.

Unfortunately, music and drama were not my truest loves. They had a purposeful place in my life, but when I started writing in earnest, I knew I had found my primary calling. Now most of my time is spent in front of a computer writing stories and creating characters that I love.

But I also have the artist gene.

I never had the time to study art as my sister did, so I just dabbled a little here and there. The next thing on my bucket list is to illustrate my own children’s books. I know I can do it, but am I going to follow through? We’ll see.

Here’s a drawing I did a number of years ago while I was making an effort to learn technique.

I’m showing it to you because if I don’t follow through with my plans, you and my children—and they didn’t know I could draw until they stumbled onto a drawing pad in a drawer—may be the only people who have any idea that I’d ever held a drawing utensil in my hand. Gotta have a witness.

My advice is to start at the top one or two things on your list and just consistently do the work needed to master them. I know people who try too many things at once and never finish anything. But if you wait until you “retire” you may be too “tired” to start something new.

So, this is probably the least “spiritual” post I’ve written, but I think it’s something we need to hear.

Life is short even when it’s long.

Think about some of the things you’ve always wanted to do and get with it!

Rebecca and I wish you an absolutely wonderful, productive 2023. Many blessings!