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The Bucket List

Updated on January 6, 2013

The Bucket List 2012

Chances are that if you have stopped into this lens then you are looking to start a Bucket List OR you have already starting one and are looking for ideas.

Bucket Lists are great because they give you the chance to think about what you want to do in life.

Run a marathon.

Running a marathon is definitely on my bucket list. Who wouldn't want to push their body to the absolute limit and succeed in a goal at the same time?

If you've never ran a marathon before, you will need to do some training. Serious training.

If you follow some of these steps, then you should be able to run a marathon and check it off of your Bucket List:


Before you begin marathon training, you should be able to run for at least 30 minutes without stopping. You can do a combination of walking and running throughout this portion of the training as it will help your body build endurance.


As you being to train, you will want to increase the amount of mileage that you run each week up until the last few weeks prior to the marathon. A good training period is 16 weeks. If you think that is to short you can increase this schedule to about 26 weeks which will include the training needed to run 30 minutes at a time. (links below this post will lead you to Very useful tools to get you started).

Learn to play the piano.

Learning to play piano comes easily to few and hard to most. It takes great dexterity and hand-eye coordination that we lose after our teenage years. It's that aged phrase, "if you don't use it, you lose it" but I am here to say that you can learn to the piano at any stage in your life.

I am a self-taught pianist and I find that playing piano is meditative and delightful. Here are some tips for learning to play the piano:

Start by picking up a book on Music Theory

Reading about music theory can help you understand the point of piano playing and how the sounds and rhythms function on the instrument. I took three years of music theory in college and it aided me in becoming an advanced musician.

Practice by Listening

This is the one tip that I tell all of my students about learning ANY instrument. You need to listen to piano music in order to learn to play piano. It is like any other hobby or skill. Listening to the piano will help you tune your ears to the sounds of the piano. So get out there are download a few piano albums.

Start with Scales

Sounds boring, but it isn't. Learn the scales before you attempt to play songs. Hanker down the basics and the advanced scales of the piano. It will start to train your fingers and your ears. Scales are important for warming up and getting your fingers to "know" the piano that you are playing on...whether the keys are stiff or not...

Learn to read the music

This goes without saying, but take some time to memorize the notes and the register of music.

Pick Music You Want to Hear

I always notice parents telling their children to play Beethoven or Chopin or something excruciatingly difficult to play. I say, don't do that. I say, pick your favorite music or something that you would love to hear played by another. Perhaps it is Beauty and the Beast or the latest Kings of Leon what YOU love.

From Pianos to Running

Here are some of my favorite items that can help you achieve your Bucket List goals.

Go snorkeling in a shipwreck.

Gear for Snorkeling

Snorkeling can be so much fun and educational.

Read every novel that has won a Pulitzer Prize in the Fiction Category.

His Family by Ernest Poole

The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

Alice Adams by Booth Tarkington

One of Ours by Willa Cather

The Able McLaughlins by Margaret Wilson

So Big by Edna Ferber

Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis

Early Autumn by Louis Bromfield

The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder

Scarlet Sister Mary by Julia Peterkin

Laughing Boy by Oliver La Farge

Years of Grace by Margaret Ayer Barnes

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck

The Store by Thomas Sigismund Stribling

Lamb in His Bosom by Caroline Miller

Now in November by Josephine Winslow Johnson

Honey in the Horn by Harold L. Davis

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

The Late George Apley by John Phillips Marquand

The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

In This Our Life by Ellen Glasgow

Dragon's Teeth by Upton Sinclair

Journey in the Dark by Martin Flavin

A Bell for Adano by John Hersey

All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren

Tales of the South Pacific by James A. Michener

Guard of Honor by James Gould Cozzens

The Way West by A. B. Guthrie, Jr.

The Town by Conrad Richter

The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

A Fable by William Faulkner

Andersonville by MacKinlay Kantor

A Death in the Family by James Agee (posthumous win)

The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters by Robert Lewis Taylor

Advise and Consent by Allen Drury

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The Edge of Sadness by Edwin O'Connor

The Reivers by William Faulkner (posthumous win)

The Keepers of the House by Shirley Ann Grau

The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter by Katherine Anne Porter

The Fixer by Bernard Malamud

The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron

House Made of Dawn by N. Scott Momaday

Stories of Jean Stafford by Jean Stafford

Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner

The Optimist's Daughter by Eudora Welty

The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara

Humboldt's Gift by Saul Bellow

Elbow Room by James Alan McPherson

The Stories of John Cheever by John Cheever

The Executioner's Song by Norman Mailer

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

Rabbit Is Rich by John Updike

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Foreign Affairs by Alison Lurie

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

A Summons to Memphis by Peter Taylor

Beloved by Toni Morrison

The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love by Oscar Hijuelos

Rabbit at Rest by John Updike

A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley

A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain by Robert Olen Butler

The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx

The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields

Independence Day by Richard Ford

Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer by Steven Millhauser

American Pastoral by Philip Roth

The Hours by Michael Cunningham

Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon

Empire Falls by Richard Russo

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

The Known World by Edward P. Jones

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

March by Geraldine Brooks

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

Tinkers by Paul Harding

A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

Become an early riser.

It takes hard word and dedication to become an early riser if you are inclined to sleeping in...that doesn't mean that you cannot do it.

Early rising has its benefits and you will find yourself much more accomplished through waking up with the sun.

How to do it:

1. Go to bed Earlier, but Only a little bit:

This applies to people who go to sleep after midnight. If you are going to bed at two in the morning then you need to scale it back to midnight. For people who go to bed before midnight, then you may need to evaluate when you are getting sleepy because no matter what time you do go to bed, you need to be tired. Consider scaling your "bed time" back thirty minutes and see if that is an alright time.

If you go to bed un-tired, then get back up and do something until you get tired, but don't go to bed after midnight!

2. Don't Jump the Gun

Seriously, if you wake up at 8AM every morning and want to start getting up at 5AM do not make the mistake of getting up at FIVE on the first morning of your new routine. Every morning wake up fifteen to thirty minutes earlier and take it one morning at a time. Perhaps you can wake up thirty minutes earlier and wake up at that time for several days to get adjusted if you need a longer time frame....

3. Alarm Clock by the Door.

Do not give yourself the chance to slam the snooze button. Place the alarm clock in a location that forces you out of bed.

4. Establish a Routine

Before you ever begin to get up earlier, know what you plan to do with your extra time. Perhaps drink a cup of coffee and do some work. Or make breakfast or garden or something. Know what you have to do to avoid boredom.

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