Some turkey on Winters peak, Death Valley
Wearing turkey hats on desert summits is only *one* reason why I am awesome, and it didn’t even make the list!

This is traditionally the time of year for resolutions and goal-setting, thinking of things we want to accomplish before we turn the last page of the calendar. But a blog post that has been widely shared among my network over the past week has made me pause from my planning and goal setting to reflect on those things that I have already experienced and accomplished. It’s called the “Reverse Bucket List“, and I decided to write one of my own.

The experience of writing this list out brought a lot of smiles and happy memories to mind, so I highly recommend that YOU write your own! You don’t have to have a blog, just write it down on a piece of paper. Take a few moments to reflect on your accomplishments and meaningful experiences. Remember, you aren’t defined by what you HAVEN’T done, you’re defined by the years you’ve already spent here on planet Earth.

So, here is my Reverse Bucket List, 25 things I’m proud of, memorable experiences I’ve had, in no particular order.

  • I have run more than ten continuous miles.
  • I made my mom’s turkey dinner, Christmas cookies, and famous Swedish coffee bread without messing them up.
  • I bought a house.
  • I backpacked the John Muir Trail and the High Sierra Trail.
On the John Muir Trail, 2007
These waterfalls are made for jumpin’
  • I moved across the country, thousands of miles away from family to start my life with my new husband in California, and built a great network of friends to be my substitute family at the holidays.
  • I cooked Thanksgiving dinner over a campfire (7 times!)
Thanksgiving tastes best around a campfire
  • I have climbed more mountains than I can count, and I am thankful for my health and ability to do every single one.
Finally! On Basin Mountain
This is my happy place
  • I spent over 40 nights in a sleeping bag each year for the past five years in a row.
  • I sold prints of my photography
  • I watched sunrise on the peaks below me from Mount Whitney (twice!)
Sunrise from Mount Whitney
  • I photographed Precipice Lake
Precipice Lake
  • I caught, cleaned, and cooked a fish
  • I learned how to safely (and accurately) shoot and operate a gun
  • I studied saxophone with one of the best players in the world (how is THAT for a little known fact about me!)
  • I skinny dipped Lake Michigan by moonlight
  • I learned and flawlessly executed the Madison
  • I ran a Warrior Dash (a couple, actually)
  • I read the complete works of Sherlock Holmes cover to cover. Several times.
  • I backpacked solo. Several times.
  • I hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon (and back)
  • I earned three degrees (two BS majors and one BMA) in four and a half years at the University of Michigan (Virtual cookie to the person who guesses the three topics!)
  • I learned to rock climb
  • I was inspired to study science and technology thanks to seeing the Endeavor space shuttle launch in person when I was 16 (and sadly, on its last flyover on its way to LA).

Now I want to hear from you – what’s on your Reverse Bucket List?



This post was filed under: Personal


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  1. Laura

    Awesome, Bex! You sure got me thinkin’… 😉

  2. Karl

    Nice! The links to your trip reports were particularly useful.

  3. Robert French

    Music Theory, Computer Sci and Literature (my guess)

    Your list makes me feel very tired and sloth-like, I think I’m wasting too much doing nothing 😉  I will say that I did take one item off my bucket list this past year. I got the chance to brew one of my homebrew recipes on a 15-bbl commerical system and sold to the public (very well recieved) at a local brew pub.

    Keep up the good work, your energy is very inspiring.


    1. calipidder

      Music Performance, Physics, and Astronomy. 🙂 Close? Heh.

      I was reading a lot of the other Reverse Bucket lists and feeling inadequate, but once I got my own started it felt really good. Do one!

  4. calipidder

    Oh no! Your comment was marked as spam for some reason. Sorry! I love the list! Especially the JMT. I’m getting the itch to do it again. 

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