Reverse bucket list

Love this idea (found via Lady Lizelle at Sandals & Sunnies) and hosted by In It’s Time….

…a reverse bucket list…..

…..a list of all the things already accomplished/experienced…

Here goes…


(in no particular order…)

1. Giving birth to two incredible human beings, who never fail to amaze me and make me fall in love with them even more every single day (I don’t know how it’s possible to love them even more every single day, I just know I do).

2. Sitting, with friends, on the lions in Trafalgar Square at 3 in the morning – most mornings some weeks – pondering London, life and more…..good times. Good times.

3. Watching the sun rise at the Giza Pyramids. Cycling in Cairo. Madness. 

4. Walking the Great Wall of China (not all of it, you understand!)

5. Seeing The Stone Roses at Spike Island.

6. Dancing my socks off at Northern Soul nights in Sheffield City Hall.

7. Living through a hurricane (Isis, 1998).

8. Living to tell the tale of a scorpion bite

9. Enjoying (almost) every minute of getting my PhD and being surrounded by the most amazingly inspiring people in one of the most beautiful places on Earth

10. Sledging on the hills up in Derbyshire

11. Working at the National Portrait Gallery and getting to see, up close, all the works that aren’t displayed. [‘Night at the Museum’ child-like excitement multiplied by about a million!]

12. Visiting Teotihuacan. Visiting Mexico in general (love it!). Frida Kahlo’s house (the colours! the little ceramic pots in the kitchen!). Churros and hot chocolate so thick you can pull it out the cup with your finger. Yum!

13. La Sagrada Familia. Architecture imitates nature, written grand.

14. Eating in Italy. Pizza. Spaghetti a la vongole. Gelato. Night-time walks around, trying anything and everything at ‘hole in the wall’ places. Double, no – triple – yum! 

15. The afternoon spent on the rooftop at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Incomparable. [I often think my last memory may well be of me walking out the lift and seeing the Rodin sculpture to my right and the whole of Manhattan laid out before me].

Loved this exercise. I’m guilty, especially now because of my circumstances, of looking forwards to “that time when I’ll be able to…” and I forget to look backwards, to the amazing things I’ve already experienced and the joy they gave me (and still give me when I daydream about them). A friend, Joy, wrote an amazing post about this just yesterday: how our memories just sometimes pop up, when we least expect it, seemingly out of nowhere, and how we can be comforted, at such a deep level, when this happens.

It’s truly a gift to be able to reflect on our lives so far and realise how blessed we’ve been.

As I was looking back, I saw several ‘Helens’ in this list: all of them hopeful. Student Helen, living in London, totally and utterly broke in monetary terms but so fulfilled spiritually and intellectually (an afternoon at the British Museum? Oh, yes please!). Slightly older, slightly more jaded student Helen studying for her PhD, in awe for most of the day every day, surrounded by seriously brilliant people at every turn. [It was a powerful period of my life]. Married Helen (when things started to take a bit of a nosedive): hopeful, as always, but losing little bits of herself here and there….

I could be really sad, having done this exercise, my “Why me’s?” and “Oh, woe is me” threatening to overtake me…but, instead, I’m uplifted….

I did all these things in my life. Through my own sheer force of will. I have the power within me to make my life look more like the version of my life I’d always imagined….to show my littles the good things in life, to show them not only the small every day beauty of life but also the big beautiful things in the world, to take them on adventures and to show them things that’ll take their breath away.

Reflection: it’s a powerful, powerful motivator!

And hope, I’m learning, is so much more powerful than fear…

Blessings to you all,

Helen xxx


30 thoughts on “Reverse bucket list

  1. alexa says:

    You have really travelled and seen and experienced such a lot! A wonderfully inspiring list. No wonder you feel uplifted :). Here’s to more. MUCH more.


  2. Gabriele says:

    The reverse bucket list is brilliant. Surely it gives perspective in out yearning.


  3. Lizelle says:

    oh i savoured reading this! So delicious thank you for taking me on a mini trip through your eyes, Italy, Mexico, London, Manhattan, islands. From quiet streets to PhD awes oh my goodness I feel a little filled just reading it! Also very privileged to have the chance to see as you saw even if just in a glimpse.

    When i first started making my list I felt that way too, overcome by the things I haven’t achieved yet…it took me a while to direct my mind away from the bath of negative patterns and to look instead down the path of unique positive experience.


    • iwillbloom says:

      Hia Lady Lizelle! So pleased you enjoyed the post; I certainly enjoyed writing it. Thank you so much for the idea! Yes, I found that: it took me a while to get rid of the negative but once I did, it was a really positive experience……thank you!!!!


  4. You are power. You are adventure. You are inspiration!! Oh the amazing things you have done Helen…and you’re right – all by your own sheer will (& power & sense of adventure).

    So fun to read about your adventures (& makes my adventures feel so boring – Lol). You need to write a book and share more details! 😉

    Happy week ahead you amazing Lady! xo


    • iwillbloom says:

      Thank you, Carrie…..oh, goodness, I think everyone’s adventures are so exciting…..(you may just have given me an idea for a book, actually……!)……thank you! I can feel my force of will coming back with a vengeance so I hope my ‘ten year from now’ reverse bucket list will be full of adventure!!!!!!!


  5. Shauna841505 says:

    Your reverse list is AMAZING! What a fabulous life! 🙂


    • iwillbloom says:

      Hah, Shauna……it’s funny because most of them were undertaken in a short period of about five years between 18 and about 23/24……then none of them since then (16 years ago!)………I must use my force of will to make great things happen from now on…..I’ve got 16 ‘lost’ years to make up for!!!!!! Hope you’re having a great week xx

      Liked by 1 person

      • Shauna841505 says:

        Well at least you’ve got them under your belt! I’m pretty sure you’ll get a lot more soon, you are so positive that I can’t imagine you not getting more checked off!

        Hope your week is great as well! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Joy Lenton says:

    Helen, I love the idea of this but it also makes me aware what a comparatively sheltered and limited life I’ve led! You’ve travelled widely and have a whole host of positive experiences to reflect on and enjoy all over again. Just putting them down here must have helped shift your perspective toward gifts of grace. I’m surprised and humbly grateful to get a mention here because my memories fall far short of the splendour of your own. Thank you for your generous heart friend! May God bless you with more wonderful memories to come as you take care of your little ones. Blessings and love. Xox ❤


    • iwillbloom says:

      Hi Joy…yes, it was a perspective-shifting exercise, so powerful. I always love what you write about and how you write, it’s a joy (you were named the perfect name!)….sending you blessings right back and hope that you’re feeling OK…it must be Spring time in England…..daffodils and lighter nights and buds on the trees. Heaven!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Sian says:

    Working at the National Portrait Gallery?! That’s the one jumping out at me..a wonderful fact i didn’t know about Helen 🙂


    • iwillbloom says:

      You didn’t know? It was the best job ever. I always used to jump out of bed and get there early: the guards would let me in and I’d have some uninterrupted gallery time before work started….and the parties?! Amazing…Annie Leibowitz, so so many brilliant people passed through… was definitely one of the highlights of my life (so far)…..loved every minute of it…(and the fact that it was a weekend job that allowed me to pay for many of the adventures listed in my reverse bucket list!)…, I’m just reminiscing…..they were some *good* times!!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Barbara says:

    What an awesome mini-trip I took while reading this – as Lizelle already said!! I have been to some places, in the USA more so than other places; but this amazing life of yours…so gifted and loved and inspiring to read all that you have done…and an amazIng job of persevering – in spite of – what transpired in that one phase of your life.

    I always enjoy reading your posts; and as I have said before – reading your heart! Thank you for sharing this “Reverse Bucket List”…this is an awesome idea and I am going to have to “copy” you and get mine written down! I have a bucket list; and some things have actually been fulfilled! This list – makes a lot of sense to number our accomplishments, doesn’t it?!

    Thanks for sharing – I’ll be back to get inspiration for my list; and will let you know when it’s published (still working on the posts for my April “gifts”!!).


    • iwillbloom says:

      Hi Barbara…..I love how you note that ‘it’ has been just one phase….it’s so true….I can see that now……and its given me a whole new perspective on so many things……can’t wait to see your list (as Carrie Ann said above, everyone has different adventures and they’re all *so special*!!!!)….


  9. initstimeblog says:

    Wow, so many amazing accomplishments! I’m with you, I tend to look forward and think about what lies ahead of me as opposed to looking back and seeing just how blessed I truly am. So glad that this post and exercise helped you reach to that same conclusion as me! 🙂

    And you’ve been all over the world, that’s awesome! It’s giving me serious wanderlust now (except for your scorpion bite, ouch!!!). 🙂

    Thanks for linking up!


    • iwillbloom says:

      Hia….have been really busy so have only just seen your comment! Thank you for your lovely comment! It’s so important to look forward and, when looking back, only to see it in the best possible light….(I had serious wanderlust looking at my own list, LOL!!!)…..thanks for the great, great idea!!


  10. Aubrey says:

    What a list!! You have been all over!! The great wall of china and the pyramid!!! Those are both on my list!! And a scorpion bite! Wow! That is scary! I’m so glad that you are here to tell the story of it!!


    • iwillbloom says:

      Hia Aubrey, you *will* get to the Pyramids and to China….visualise it, girl, visualise it! The scorpion bite was pretty hairy because it happened in the aftermath of the hurricane – bridges down, no roads to get to the clinic…awful, really…..


  11. I love this reversed bucket list! You’ve achieved so much and seen so much beauty! And ate so much good food (ITALY! YUM)


  12. Rachel G says:

    I’m glad that you’re able to look back on all these amazing things and feel uplifted because of it. I’m really big on remembering and story telling–the tough stories of life have their place, but the happy and amazing stories of cool experiences and contentment should be told too. I’m a big fan of saying “Remember when….”


    • iwillbloom says:

      Hi Rachel, absolutely! My daughter always asks me for stories from when she was a baby….the look of fascination on her face is priceless…..we’ve started doing ‘Remember when’ when we’re eating dinner….always interesting!


  13. Eva says:

    Wow… you’ve done SO many incredible things! This list and the way you wrote about it is so inspiring! I love the idea of looking at all you’ve accomplished rather than what you want to accomplish!


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