Most of us have heard of a bucket list: listing achievements we hope to one day accomplish before we “kick the bucket”. There’s even a movie by that same name with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson. But if I asked you to make a reverse bucket list, would you know where to start?
A reverse bucket list is all of the major achievements you’ve already accomplished and are proud of and/or bring you the most joy. Ever heard of it? Yeah, me neither until I read about it randomly at this website. An intriguing concept. Sort of like a gratitude journal, and can be done daily, weekly, etc. Though I see a gratitude journal saying “I’m thankful for my teacher being patient with me when I didn’t understand the new step we worked on today” whereas a reverse bucket list would be “I’m proud of having the courage to speak up when I didn’t understand the new step”. Slightly different verbiage but all-in-all pretty much interchangeable.
Now, I can tell you it’s easy to beat yourself up about something you did wrong, a plan that went haywire, or missed an appointment. That’s why I challenged myself to come up with a list of things I’m happiest about/proud of regarding my dance history. Here’s what I came up with:
1. Having the courage to walk into the Arthur Murray near where I lived even though I knew very little about ballroom dance
2. Performing my first professional routine for my dance colleagues (it was terrifying but I’d repeat that moment in a heartbeat)
3. Being chosen as a dance host for six different consulate balls
4. Teaching an entire evening’s worth of lessons by candlelight
5. The first time I danced Samba and actually enjoyed it (yes, it took me awhile)
6. Forgetting an entire professional competition routine while in the heat of the moment but having the courage to continue
7. Being promoted to full-time teacher
8. The first wedding routine I choreographed (it was to Aladdin’s “A Whole New World”)
9. Successfully dancing a difficult Merengue syllabus step at a Salsa club with someone who wasn’t part of Arthur Murray
10. Following in my grandpa’s footsteps as a great dancer
These are the accomplishments that make me smile when I think back on them. And now that it’s together, it’s my go-to pat on the back anytime I’m feeling bad or flustered about my dancing. Though I made my list for my whole dance life, you can make a list for any span of time in order to feel the benefits.
My homework to you? Make your own reverse bucket list. See how gratifying it is. After all, you deserve a few pats on the back as well.