What does Gratitude and a Bucket List Have in Common?

Do you have a bucket list?  Do you think you’re too young to have your dream experiences written down or too old to still make them happen?  You are never too young to make a list of all the wonderful things you wish to do and see.  You are also never too old to still capture some of your special unfilled dreams.

I recently had the thrill of accomplishing a feat that has been on my list of important achievements I would like to do before I die.  For years when I listen to music in my home or car, I added to my enjoyment by simulating the experience of conducting the musicians.   I believed being an orchestra conductor could combine my desire to create beautiful music with the enjoyment of bringing out the most in people (in this case musicians) and my pleasure to influence and control 70 to 100 musicians through the movement of my arms, eyes, and body.

Three weeks ago, when the conductor of the Desert Symphony Orchestra said he was going to auction off the opportunity to conduct this fine orchestra to an audience of more than 1,000 people at the McCallum Theatre, I was all in.  I was ultimately the highest bidder and was blessed to conduct John Phillip Souza’s “The Washington Post” to open the concert last week.

So how does completing an item on a bucket list compare to expressing profound gratitude to those who have been important in my life as was the main focus of my yearlong journey of gratitude (my “victory lap”)?

As I reflected on this question, I concluded that in some ways it was the same but in some aspects it was different.

Bucket lists are intended to be done before we die which was the case with my yearlong journey of gratitude captured in my book, This is the Moment.  This journey was intended to not only reach out and visit people who have been important to me while they are alive and well but to encourage others to “do it now”.

Just like the cost of completing items on one’s bucket list could be minor, so is the act of expressing profound gratitude.  Doing it in an extraordinary way does not have to cost any significant expenditures of money.  A good example of this is the “44 cents” story I share in the book about a friend who was able to communicate how important a lifelong friend was to him with the use of two pieces of paper, an envelope and a 44-cent stamp.

Bucket lists and expressions of extraordinary gratitude also share a build-up of excitement, anticipation, anxiety and ultimately a feeling of sheer joy when it’s completed.

A bucket list could include reaching out and reconnecting with people but more often than not it refers to travel adventures and unique experiences.

Items on a bucket list could be the same activity for you as they could be for your friends and loved ones (bungee jumping, Alaskan cruise, etc.), but an expression of extraordinary gratitude is unique to each and every expression.  Each expression is different, which is what makes adding it to your bucket list so special.

I would be remiss if I didn’t highlight that the most important aspect that one’s bucket list and expressing extraordinary gratitude is that these are life opportunities that should not be missed.

It is never too early to add expressions of gratitude to your bucket list, but it can be too late.  Don’t let this opportunity pass you by.  Connect with your significant relationships today.

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