Should I write a wish list?

I have a Big Birthday coming up this year – one which ends in a 0 – but to be honest I am sort of ignoring it. Partly because I don’t really want to think about getting older, but also because the last year has been so chaotic, with the move back to the UK, single parenting for five months, getting the girls settled into new schools etc, that the thought of organising ANYTHING more than a trip to the supermarket seems just too overwhelming right now.

But today I saw one of those “40 things to do before I am 40” lists which looked…kind of fun. The blogger originally wrote the list in 2013 but was updating it to see how many she had left to do (a few, but she had completed most of them). It led me to think what I would have written on my list 5 years ago, and how many I would have completed.

Five years ago, we still had no idea a move to South Africa was on the cards. So, it’s hard to know whether some of things I might put on this list in retrospect (eg seeing wild dogs and cheetahs in the wild, going up Table Mountain, climbing a huge sand dune, visiting the highest pub in the world etc etc etc) would ever have even occurred to me. I know I would have added “write/publish a book” and “swim with whale sharks”, which have been the two things on my wish list for as long as I can remember (I have managed the first but still not the second). But what other things do I think I would have tried to do before I got to this age had I thought to write them down?



Quite frankly I have no idea! Mostly because life has a habit of changing to the extent that I have stopped trying to guess where I will be or what I will be doing be in a year’s time, let alone five years. Which makes it hard to set myself a list of tasks to do when I don’t know if I will be in a place (physically or mentally) to do them.

Not only that, but I have also been extremely lucky and already done many of the things that might make it on to this sort of a list.  Learned to dive? Tick. Whale watching? Tick. Swim with dolphins (tick – and in the wild in New Zealand, rather than in an enclosed artificial environment). I’ve given birth, bought a house, been up in a hot air balloon. Star watched in the desert, visited Petra, swum at the base of the Angel Falls, slept in a hammock in a rain forest, walked on a glacier. Owned a dog, learned to make bread, started a blog.

Okay of course there are many, many more things I could put on a list that I have yet to do. But somehow I feel like I have been spoiled and perhaps I should just wait and see what life will throw at me rather than making a list which may, or may not, be achievable depending on circumstances. And which may just make me feel even more stressed when I can’t get through it (it’s bad enough just trying to get through my normal day-to-day To Do list). Additionally, there’s something slightly depressing about making a list of things you want to have done in a decade’s time: who wants to think that far ahead? When you get to this stage in life, it’s easier not to think how old you will be in ten years time.

So for now I am holding off making any kind of a list but I will continue to mull it over and see if I can come up with anything more than “re-visit Jamaica” which I decided I wanted to do after seeing a programme about the island the other evening. I’d love to hear if anyone else has such a list and, if so, what’s on it. If I do start a list I need some inspiration. Just don’t suggest anything safari related (although come to think of it, returning sans kids to Kruger really IS something I want to do at some point….then there’s all the children-free wine tours….not to mention adult-only liveaboard dive trips….hmmm, there seems to be a theme developing here….).

Hit me up – what’s on your wish list?

Photo credit: _Bunn_




6 thoughts on “Should I write a wish list?

  1. Sorry if I’m posting this twice, but not sure if the first one took (glad by now I know better and copy my comment before submitting it:-):

    I like your approach on this. Instead of writing lists, look back at all the incredible things you’ve done. And most of them weren’t on a list because you didn’t even think them up. Had you HAD a list , you might have spent your life pursuing those things instead of simply taking advantage of the ones right outside your doorstep. It would be foolish, for instance, to work super hard at going to Macchu Picchu (I never know how to spell it and am too lazy to look it up) when living in South Africa and having the opportunity to relatively easily explore the Cape Peninsula, Victoria Falls, and even Mount Kilimanjaro. Like you, I never even dreamed of certain things before living in SA. I never would have put cage diving with great white sharks on my list, and yet that is what came up and was an unforgettable experience (yes, I know it is controversial, like visiting the lion park, but I still cherish having seen these creatures from up close). I never would have even wanted to go on a safari, and now that I have multiple times, I would love nothing more than going back and doing more of it. Life is like that – full of twists and turns that invite you to do new things, with the new people you meet along the way and who inspire you to do those things with them. Having said all that, I do think it’s good to have a few things on your list – what would you do without some kind of unfulfilled dream? Your whale shark swimming for me is kite surfing. Every time we are somewhere I could actually learn it, I don’t end up doing it, mainly because that would mean a whole week by myself because no one wants to do it with me, and it’s also super expensive. So I faithfully keep it on my list until the day someone is going to do it with me. Thanks for your inspirational thoughts this morning!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Sine, I’m glad someone else gets it (and in fact you probably explained it better than I did!). I agree it’s worth having a few aspirations in place, but to have a definitive list is probably either going to lead to disappointment or to pursue things only because they’re on that list, at the expense of things you don’t even know about yet. I hope you get to do your kite surfing one day, I’m sure you will. Just like one day I still hope to swim with those darn elusive whale sharks!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think a lot of expats are going to get it, which is I think why expats often have a pretty healthy approach to life and are less stressed about uncertainty. We just go with the flow. Or maybe it’s more a mindset you either have or don’t have, and the fact you became an expat is testament to you having that mindset already. I do admire people who have more of a list and work hard in dogged pursuit of it, but that’s just not me. Maybe I’m a tad bit lazy, actually. But I’m a happy person by and large, so it works for me:-)

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I like the idea of having dreams and aspirations that you would someday like to do but I’m not a fan of wishlists or the dreaded bucket list. Anything that requires ticking items off like some extreme shopping list surely lessens the importance of those items when they should all be held as achievements or experiences in their own right. Sometimes the greatest experiences are a surprise and are not things that you could have planned or foresaw.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I love this idea! Don’t think of it as planning ahead for ten years. Think of it as things you’d love to do, and the goal is to do them in the next decade…as in don’t wait for it – make the experiences happen!

    Liked by 1 person

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