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A bucket list refers to a list of things that a person wants to do before they die. For me, visiting all seven continents is on my bucket list – five down so far! While I enjoy filling my life with things I want to do, I also have come to realize there are some things I will never do again… or at all.
In other words, I have an anti-bucket list. Maybe so do you? An anti-bucket list is a list of things that a person should avoid doing at all costs. By taking the time to create an anti-bucket list, you can save precious time avoiding activities that are of no interest or importance to you.
Life is all about making the most of your time, and an anti-bucket list can help you do just that!
27 Items to Include On an Anti Bucket List
1. Eat Stinky Tofu
Just don't do it! When I lived in China, I tried a variety of food that I simply would never have a chance to try anywhere else, including jellyfish. One thing I will never try again or recommend someone try is stinky tofu.
When I first encountered it during a group meal, I mistakenly thought the nice man sitting next to me had defecated himself while at the table. Turns out it was the smell of the stinky tofu! I was encouraged to try it and each bite and chew was torture. It tasted as bad as it smelled. Never again.
2. Do Vodka Shots
I am not a heavy drinker but I enjoy my wine and beer. When it comes to the hard stuff, a shot or two of tequila hits is spot and is a great social activity. However, a 4th of July party years ago involved vodka shots. I took a few at the encouragement of the friendly host.
Needless to say, my night ended before it began and I swore to never try vodka solo again. I attempted to drink Martini (a vodka-based drink) years later and it took forever to finish. Lesson learned… don't drink a type of alcohol you are not comfortable with no matter what someone says.
3. Go to Mexico without Small Bills
While some cities in Mexico such as Mexico City make using your credit/debit card easy, the majority of the country relies on cash. I have been in situations where the place said they took cards but the machine would frequently mess up and you would need to use cash. This happened at Airbnbs, hotels, restaurants, etc.
4. Overpack for a Trip
After years of travel and living abroad, I realize most places will have most of the stuff I am trying to pack into my bag. The area where I have to be careful is my face cream and hair oil.
Otherwise, I can get other toiletries, new clothes, and other things I may need once I arrive. Lugging around a bag full of things I do not need is pointless and annoying.
5. Wait for a Friend to Travel with Me
Back in the day, I tried planning trips with a friend. My last attempt involved researching several itineraries/dates/price options for Italy just to be met with no response. This experience was the final straw that taught me when others claim they will travel with me but make no effort to do so, they simply won't. Waiting for them is a waste of time and would cause me to miss out on a trip.
Now, I just go where I plan to go and get in touch with other traveling friends to see if they would like to meet up somewhere.
6. Worry about Things I Can't Control
This is a big one! I used to worry about things such as the weather, what if (insert something) happens, and more.
While it is important to consider the state of the world, most things outside my home are out of my control. If I let myself get worked up about them, it would just ruin my experience. I focus on what I can directly do about something.
7. Get Caught Up In the News
The news is important but it should not consume you. When I worked in media, an editor rejected a story I pitched because it was too positive. There is so much negativity in the world and media and if you get too caught up in it, you will forget all of the good that is happening.
8. Make Emotional Decisions
As humans, we are emotional creatures. Hey, our emotions make us who we are and we need them! With that said, it is ok to let your emotions settle a bit before making a snap decision you may regret. In other words, don't be so quick to quit your job, move out your apartment, or break up over one thing going wrong.
9. Dwell on the Past
The past is in the past for a reason. Yes, it shaped you into the person you are today but there is no need to keep living in it. When people live in the past, they are spending less time enjoying the beauty of the present.
10. Compare Myself to Others
This is a tough one because social media makes it so easy to do. Just remember that you are on your unique journey and comparing yourself to others will only hold you back.
11. Let Others Decide What I Should Do
If you want to do something, just do it! Don't let other people's opinions or recycled ideas stop you from living your best life. I never would have seen as much of the world as I have if I took people's snippy remarks to heart.
12. Stay in a Toxic Friendship
We often talk about toxic romantic relationships. How about toxic friendships? I have had to let go of so-called friendships where the other person appeared to like me but secretly looked down on me. Ever heard the term “frenemy”? Yea, that.
13. Do Every Little Thing on My To-Do List
I am a huge fan of to-do lists but if I tried to do every little thing on it, I would go insane. This is where learning to prioritize comes in handy. Ask yourself what is the most important/urgent task and start from there. Give yourself room for flexibility and the unpredictability of life.
14. Buy Cheap Shoes
A male colleague once told me how many good men’s shoes cost and I was shocked. However, he mentioned they last a long time. During this period, I would shop at discount shoe stores.
I remember being excited at the cute pair of 2-inch pumps I bought at one, only to be able to barely walk in them. Let's not forget the series of sneakers from such places that would get worn out within a few months. In other words, quality shoes are worth paying the money for.
15. Get a Degree to Impress People
If you decide to go for higher education, understand it is a lot of work and money. Whether you are paying in cash, loans, scholarships, or get an assistantship, that Masters or Ph.D will cost you years of time and money. When I began my Masters program, I was so sure I was going to go for a Ph.D. By the end of my first year, I realized that the Masters degree would be enough for me and a Ph.D. simply was not needed for my career goals.
Obtaining a certain degree to impress others is futile. Their accolades won't last long and they won't help you with your study or paying that student debt.
16. Believe In “The Secret”
The law of attraction may work to an extent but you have to take action. Just because you want something does not mean it will manifest into your life. You still have to put in the work and make things happen.
17. Speak Negatively About Others
Gossiping about others or speaking badly about them only makes you look bad. Not to mention, it is just mean. I think that if you don't like someone, it is best to leave them alone and move on with your life. That negative energy won't benefit you.
18. Get a Pet without Doing Research
I am a huge animal lover and grew up with pets. As an adult, I remember a friend of mine adopted a cat from an agency that did not tell her the whole story. Once she got the cat home, the cat displayed dangerous emotional and violent tendencies. She had to call the authorities to remove the cat from her house because it was not safe for her to go near it.
Don't get me started on exotic pets. Sorry, but just because a tiger is your “spirit animal” does not mean you should get one.
19. Get a Tattoo without Thinking about It
A lot of people end up regretting their tattoos. They either grow to hate the design, placement, or both. I have a few friends who got their ex's name tattooed and had to go through the costly and painful process of getting it removed or covered up. Put some thought into it before you make the permanent decision.
20. Constantly Check Social Media
I have had to delete social media apps off my phone because I was wasting too much time on them and found it hard to have the real conversions I wanted. If you find yourself in a similar situation, take a break from social media. Ideally, real friends and family should be able to contact us beyond Facebook.
21. Date Someone Jealous of You
Jealousy is a sign of insecurity and lack of trust. If someone is jealous of you, they will try to control you and your behavior. Having a relationship with this type of person is not worth your time or energy.
22. Ignore Your Mental Health
Mental health is just as important as physical health. We need to take care of our minds to have a healthy and happy life. If you are feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or depressed, please seek professional help.
23. Only Buy Books Online
With technology, so many things are becoming digital, including reading. However, nothing can replace the experience of a real bookstore. Don't miss out on the smell of new books, the feel of flipping through pages, and support your local businesses.
24. Travel solo Without Doing Your Research
Traveling solo can be a great experience but it is important to do your research first. Make sure you know where you are going, what the culture is like, and have a plan.
25. Avoid Local Food in a New Place
Part of the experience of traveling is trying the local food. The last thing you want to do is eat at McDonald’s in Italy. You're missing out on deliciousness and an opportunity to try something new.
26. Spend Too Much Time with Technology
Sometimes we need to log-off and live in the moment. There is a lot of beauty in the world and we don't want to miss it because we were too busy looking at a screen. I saw my first real sunset while in Mexico. I watched it from beginning to end. I was tempted to capture it on video. Luckily, I decided to not fumble for my phone and just enjoy it.
27. Buy a House beyond Your Means
If you can afford a 20-room mansion and have enough people to fill it then go for it. However, most of us are not in that situation. It is important to buy a house you can afford and one that won't put you in debt for the rest of your life.
Final Thoughts on the Anti Bucket List
The activities on this list are meant to be avoided because they can waste our time, energy, money, and spirit. They can also lead to negative experiences and regrets and life is too short to fill it with things we don't want or need.
I’d start by doing your research. Then think things through… reflect and meditate on what really matters, so as to make the most of your time. If you do plan to create a list, check out 15 Printable Bucket List Templates for Your Dream Goals.