Ultimate Guide to Building Your Bucket List

Let’s say you’re nearing 50, the kids are out of the house and you and your spouse are wondering “what’s next?” You’re starting to think that if you’re ever going to do what you want to do, it’s time to start planning because life isn’t infinite. You’re starting to think about what you want to do with the rest of your life!

You’re still young and healthy! Like many people nearing or past the half-century mark, you’re comfortable financially. So what’s next?  Take a look below for 10 “bucket list” ideas we’re thinking of as (some of us) get closer and closer to 50:

1. Vacation to an exotic or romantic location.

If you didn’t backpack through Europe in your 20s and you’ve never seen Paris, Dublin, Rome, or Madrid, it’s time to go. Now! Of course, you probably don’t want to backpack anymore. But because you’ve done reasonably well for yourself financially, you won’t have to. Get on the phone now to your favorite travel agent (or research online) and surprise your spouse with that trip to Bora Bora, Paris in the spring, Spain to see the bullfights, Ireland to kiss the Blarney Stone, and more!

2. Buy that Classic Chevy, Camaro or Mustang you’ve always wanted.photo of a classic car

What 18-year-old young man doesn’t want a classic ’Stang? None that we know of! But what 18-year-old can afford such a classy chassie? None! But near or over 50? You have the funds. Don’t wait for one of the Big “0” birthdays to buy it for yourself, either. Do it now!

3. Write that book!

Most of us dream of writing the Great American Novel. Most of us will never do so. Don’t be most of us. Even if no conventional publisher picks it up, you can still self-publish it on Amazon. And it doesn’t have to be fiction: tell your life story, write a how-to book on something you know how to do well that others might want to learn. You’ve lived many years and probably have something to say. Say it.

4. Learn how to tap dance, play a musical instrument, learn a new language, etc.

Learning something new and challenging is believed to help stave off dementia. It’s also a good thing to do “just because.” It takes you out of comfort zone, introduces to new people and it can be – simply – fun!

5. Hike the Appalachian Trail.

person hikingYou’re fit, fab and near or over 50! Keep on moving and hike the AT (as hikers call it). It will take you five to seven months to hike its 2,600-plus miles if you decide to do it all at once, but many people hike the trail in stages, over several months or years. You’ll remain in great shape and you’ll challenge yourself in ways you never thought possible. It probably will be the toughest thing you ever do.

6. Speaking of tough things you’ll love…

…consider volunteering with the Peace Corps or other charitable organization. The Corps’ slogan has been “the toughest job you’ll ever love” and the 225,000 people who have volunteered with it over its half-century-plus of existence (hey, the Peace Corps is as old as you!) would certainly agree. Yes, most volunteers are in their 20s or 30s, but if you have the time available, consider it. All volunteer organizations will find your half-century of accumulated wisdom invaluable.

7. Become a foster parent.

Empty nest got you down? You can help children and teens have a stable home life (sometimes for the first time in their young lives), providing them the affectionate and caring home they deserve. Will it be easy? No! But you will be doing something far, far better (to paraphrase A Tale of Two Cities) than most middle-aged adults.

8. Try stand-up comedy.

You can’t tell us you haven’t thought about how great it would be to stand up in front of people and hear them laugh with you. Yes, you may get heckled the first several times (even Jerry Seinfeld flopped in the beginning), but keep at it and you’ll improve. If stand-up isn’t your thing, audition for community theater, a choir, an improv troupe, an over-fifty dance team. Whatever you loved doing when younger and wondered “what if,” wonder “what if” now that you’re 50 no more.

9. Open a map of the world.  

Close your eyes and have a friend nearby who will turn the map around a few times. Once the friend stops, place your finger on the map. Go to whatever country your finger lands on. Immediately.

One tip: you’ll need to have a current passport. Also, be safe. If your finger lands on a country the U.S. deems as risky, ask your friend to keep spinning the map.

10.  Start a Dryer Vent Wizard franchise.

Reynaldo SanchezHere’s one we bet you hadn’t thought of, opening a Dryer Vent Wizard Franchise in your hometown. Did you even know there was a whole franchise built around cleaning dryer vents and improving home safety in your community? Well there is, and it’s a very successful and growing franchise, too.

Owning a Dryer Vent Wizard franchise is more rewarding than you could imagine. You get your own truck and the freedom of the open road. Your daily work is helping homeowners and property owners in your community prevent dryer vent fires and increase energy efficiency by cleaning and properly maintaining their dryer vents.

Franchisees make good money and enjoy the control and freedom of running their own business. All the heavy lifting (marketing, appointment setting, and more) is handled by the DVW home office in Farmington Hills, Michigan. So you just do what you do best: meet people in your community, give them great service, and build your own franchise business.

Dryer Vent Wizard truck in front of homeThe Dryer Vent Wizard franchise was founded in 2004 and has grown to almost 90 locally owned and operated franchises across the United States and Canada. It’s ranked in Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 List

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