A bucket list. Maybe you have a real one, written out and posted on your refrigerator. Or maybe you just have a few things in the back of your mind that you really want to do "someday." ("See the Eiffel Tower by moonlight." "Visit Machu Picchu." "Go skydiving." "Learn to play the banjo." "Use 'quartzite' for a triple word score in Scrabble.")
Either way, it's probably a good idea to have some sort of list of things you want to do before you kick the bucket. And an even better idea, of course, to actually do them.
But here's something else that's also a good idea: a "hole in your bucket" list.
Some of the things on your bucket list might not belong there anymore. Maybe you wanted to do them once upon a time—or thought you did. But by now, one way or another, they're just not worth the trouble. It might be time to let those things just slip through a hole in the bottom of your bucket.
Maybe you've figured out that some items on your list are too risky or too dumb. (Bungee jumping, anyone?) You might be like the rancher who said he wanted to be a bull rider "until I got older and my brains came in."
Maybe some things on your list really aren't your dreams at all, but belong on someone else's bucket list. If your spouse has always wanted to go sky diving or canoe up the Amazon or trek through the Gobi Desert, you don't have to want to go, too. You can wave goodbye with a big smile, then enjoy looking at the pictures afterward.
There might be items on your list that seemed like a good idea at the time, but on second or third thought, you really aren't that interested. When I visited the Grand Canyon a decade ago, a hike to the bottom sounded like fun. Now, not so much. By now I've figured out the drawback to the whole plan. The natural consequence of hiking to the bottom is that you have to hike back up to the top.
Sadly, it might be too late for some bucket list items. If you're a person of mature years, say 59 or 67, you probably aren't ever going to realize that long-held dream of dancing with the Rockettes or playing tight end for the Green Bay Packers. (Let's face it—no matter who you are, "age 67" and "tight end" just don't belong in the same sentence.)
If there are things on your bucket list that won't keep, start actively planning to do them sooner rather than later. And while you're at it, take a close look at your list. It might be time to let some things fall through the hole and disappear. Letting go of goals that no longer fit makes more room for new ones.
It also helps you refocus on long-held goals that really do matter to you. One of these days, there's got to be a place to play "quartzite" and get that triple word score.