I saw my friend’s eyebrows raise in amusement, perhaps even a hint of astonishment, when I told her, “I’m going surfing tomorrow.”

Learning to surf was on THE LIST for Miss 16 and her birthday seemed like the perfect opportunity. In lieu of a birthday party and to honour her wish to make this year one of activity and adventure, the family decided to go along for the ‘ride’!

So, there I was with the rest of the class; our instructor diligently sharing the 4 step process that, once mastered, would somehow allow us to effortlessly transition from lying on the board to…surfing!

1…slap the board with both hands palm down, bring elbows up high like chicken wings
2…bring both knees up between your hands – quickly and gracefully!
3…place one foot on the board between your hands and get ready to pivot
4…stand up, toes to the side, eyes and arms straight ahead, knees gently bent

That’s all there is to it! On the sand it wasn’t impossible. With the beach underneath the board, I could surf with the best of them but heading out into the waves was another story!

Long story short…even though the board was long, my rides were short! Very short!

All was not lost though. We had a great day together and everyone else in our group experienced the thrill of riding a wave. I decided that even though surfing had never really been on my bucket list, I was really glad to get a little taste for it and it certainly gave me much more (MUCH, MUCH MORE) appreciation for the strength and agility needed to surf.

That day I decided that surfing lessons was definitely worth putting on THE LIST but since I’ve never really cared to have a bucket list, I’d have to write one in retrospect. For me, writing a bucket list in retrospect is like using a ‘rear vision mirror’ to record some of life’s highlights. The more I thought about it, I felt it was a strategy worth sharing.

Why create a retrospective bucket list?

1. A retrospective bucket list fuels a feeling of gratitude for what has already been experienced in contrast to creating a focus on things that haven’t been done yet and which could cause a sense of restlessness or dissatisfaction.

2. Looking back over past highlights can help you plan more similar experiences in the future. If you’ve loved time spent walking in National Parks or camping on the beach in the past, planning for more time outdoors will be a good investment of your time in the future.

3. Having a list of ‘happy times’ can provide a wonderful antidote to low moods; your list can become a source of inspiration to do something proactive, that you already know you enjoy and that will lift your spirits.

4. Sharing a list of happy memories can be a wonderful talking point with family and friends and may even become a source of inspiration for them too. Telling children about the time you did ________ will create connection and provide inspiration. Reminding a friend about the time you _______ together will brighten their day and may even give them a good laugh!

So, how about it?

What would happen if we all wrote a retrospective bucket list today with at least five things we’re glad we’ve done?

It could be like me trying to surf – something you never really intended to do but, in hindsight, you’re really glad you did.

What do you see in your ‘rear vision mirror’? We’d love to hear some of your highlights!

Warm regards.