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These days, people seem to think of a bucket list as majestic travel destinations and experiences.
It’s about designing a meaningful and exciting life that’s more than our daily to do list.
A recent research by REST Industry Super found that 52 per cent of Australia’s over-55s actually have a retirement bucket list.
Bucket list coach Lee Blume explains what it involves.
“The common definition of a bucket list is usually about travel but it should be about much more than that. It should be about things that you want to do, things you want to try, learn, experience and before you’re given any sort of used-by date and it should also be never ending. So, as you cross things off, you should always be adding things onto it. So, as a perpetual list, they actually have to sit down and do things and action them rather than wait for some traumatic experience to happen.”
Young people are also increasingly challenging themselves to a list of dreams to fulfil.
With clients ranging from their twenties through to sixties, Blume notices a different attitude in the baby boomers to the millennials.
"Whereas, older, probably myself included, we would think about it and go, ‘oh, can I afford it? Can I afford the time? What about this? What about that? And of course, then, the opportunity is gone.”
“With older people, our culture or the way we saw mum and dad work, you know, you sort of got up, you went to work and you were given your lot and that’s what you accepted. Whereas, today, a lot of younger people don’t do that. They take advantage of the things that come along. They’ll go and do it. Whereas, older, probably myself included, we would think about it and go, ‘oh, can I afford it? Can I afford the time? What about this? What about that? And of course, then, the opportunity is gone.”
Blume says a bucket list doesn’t need to contain grand goals that cost the earth.
The list is highly personal and different for every individual.
Some of the items can be as simple as organising a group of friends to donate blood together, looking into your family history, taking up a new hobby, or exploring nearby towns.
“I had one client, she’s sixty. She told me that she thinks that she’s actually dared to dream that she is putting on paper things that she never ever thought that she would even think about let alone do.”
One of her clients, Ayoma Gooneratne, took the plunge of opening a gourmet deli in the country town of Orange 12 years ago.
Gooneratne loves her job as chef and owner of a family business, but since writing down her bucket list, her life is no longer just about work.
“It brings a certain amount of excitement back into your life, you know, because we get so involved with the mundane everyday things of life that it can actually bring us down"
While she is still passionate about her work, she looks forward to realising her dreams of swimming with a dolphin, going hiking and visiting Antarctica.
"I love what I do but then I also have to look outside the square and look at recreational stuff that actually make me feel just as happy as running a business.”
"Until then, you know, you go on from day to day stuff and then your weeklys and your monthlys and your annual things that you have to do and achieve, but a few months ago, when I actually sat down and thought okay this bucket list is a wonderful idea and it made me realise that, yes, I love what I do but then I also have to look outside the square and look at recreational stuff that actually make me feel just as happy as running a business.”
Blume suggests starting with ten items on the list with pictures to help you visualise those goals.
“If someone wants to do a bucket list, they have to really just sit down, make their list, put on the deadlines, the actions, how much money it’s going to take, and they need to have it somewhere that they can see it every single day so that they can be continually inspired.”
Surendra Prasad may have retired but still wears many hats.
He is on the board of the Queensland Ethnic Communities Council, and president of the local Fiji Senior Citizens Association.
And Surendra helps in raising ten socially-responsible grandchildren.
"I will keep working, keep working for the community,keep working for my family and keep working for myself"
“Never say old. You have to be active. You know, my children say that ‘dad, you’re old, you don't work, you stay home and it’s time for you to relax,’ and I tell them, I say, ‘no, no, that's not the way I want to live. I will keep working, keep working for the community,keep working for my family and keep working for myself',it’s the best way of living the life.”
Prasad speaks with a sparkle in his eyes.
Everything he does links back to his lifelong aspiration of forging intercultural ties in the community.
Upon reading about the Australian-Indian soldiers who fought during WWI and WWII, he spent two years establishing a memorial for those unsung heroes he felt so inspired by at the local RSL.
Nothing seems impossible for Prasad at 75.
“You've got to do whatever you think and work towards anything in this world. There is nothing hard for human being to achieve. If you keep doing it, keep working towards it, you will be successful.”
These days, Prasad is slowing down although still devoting much of his time to whatever cause he finds meaningful in the community.
"Once your health is bad then you can’t travel, you can’t do nothing"
“This is the last stage of life. You’re going to die one day, you know? That's for sure but you've got to use most of your life, you know? When you’re alive, you've got to use it in a good way, and now, I’m thinking to travel overseas, see other countries while your health is good. Once your health is bad then you can’t travel, you can’t do nothing.”
Having rode camels through the Gobi Desert, trekked in the summer heat of Mongolia and then finding herself inside a glacier the next moment, life is still full of wonder for Blume at 63 back at home in Orange.
“Because I work always in a group so I’m always getting new ideas. There’s all these different things come up and you go, ‘Oh! I haven’t even thought of that one’. So, yes, I’m constantly adding to the things that I want to explore I just don’t have a use-by date because I need to fit all these things in.”
If you ever find yourself getting lost in the realities of life, why not pause for a moment, pick up a pen and start uncovering your dreams?