Why You Need a “Right Now” Bucket List

why you need a "right now" bucket list

So my practical, finance-obsessed 65 year old Dad did this last week:

It was such an out of character move for him that left my siblings and I scratching our heads. Growing up all he preached and lived was providing for his family and living below his means. Now he was out buying expensive toys just because.

He told us he decided it was finally “bucket list” time. My Dad worked hard his whole life and once he retired, he shifted his mindset to do what makes him happy.

I am genuinely delighted to see my Dad treat himself and enjoy the fruits of his labor. At the same time, it makes me wonder why he had to wait so long. Did he really need to sacrifice as much as he did all these years? Maybe he could have made a few more trips to Fenway Park (his number one happy place) when we were little instead of making it a rare treat?

Maybe what he needed then was a “right now” bucket list.

The 40th birthday “right now” bucket list

Just one day after the great car splurge, I went out to brunch with a couple of my Mommy friends. One of my friends, Lisa, had just celebrated her 40th birthday without a party or any gifts from her husband. We were all set and ready to feel sorry for her, until she told us that she did something even better.

She wrote down 40 things that she’s been wanting to do but hasn’t. (As a Mom aren’t there always “more important” things to spend your time and money on besides yourself?) But this time, plot twist! She actually went and did them.

It started with the simple act of paying someone else to do something she hates. In this case, it was cleaning her car. I’ve seen Lisa’s car in all it’s disgusting glory and let me tell you, that was a wonderful gift to herself! Then there was a take out meal on a night when she totally could have cooked but just didn’t feel like it.

The grand finale was a trip to Boston (by herself, can you imagine the luxury?!) to go visit her friend from college where they went to a famous pastry shop and indulged in 18 decadent desserts.

you need a bucket list in your 30s
18 of these bad boys? Yes please!

Why Now?

None of the things on her 40th birthday bucket list were outside of her means or impossible to orchestrate. They were simply things that she’d been denying herself permission to do.

Whether we are in our 20s, 30s, 40s (or beyond), as Moms we have a tendency to put ourselves last. If we go out alone, we feel guilty for the time missed with our children. If we spend money on ourselves, we think of what else we could have spent it on that would benefit our families.

But all this Mommy-martyrdom isn’t healthy. It’s the reason so many Moms feel like they’ve lost their identity. The Washington Post article Mommy, the Martyr warns:

While mothers certainly sacrifice and go to great lengths to care for our children, that doesn’t mean that those sacrifices don’t come with potential consequences such as hidden resentments, failed marriages, poor self-care, and lost friendships.

Moms need to put their own needs back into the rotation. A “right now” bucket list is a great place to start.

All it takes is giving yourself permission.

My “Right Now” Bucket List

  1. Take a one on one trip with each of my children (I’ll be checking one of these off next week!)
  2. Spend a night in the swanky hotel right down the street from my house just to have 24 hours of peace and relaxation.
  3. Hire someone to organize my closets.
  4. Let my kids play hooky from school for a day and stay in our pajamas watching movies all day.
  5. When my husband needs to work late, pay a babysitter for two hours just to get out of doing bedtime by myself.
  6. Tour a local winery with my girlfriends.
  7. Get tickets to a Broadway show and spend the day in NYC.
  8. Buy some bath bombs and take an hour long bath in the clawfoot tub I have that I have never bathed in.
  9. Go to a concert with my husband and party like there won’t be kids the next morning.
  10. Have a picnic on the beach and don’t leave until the sun goes down.

It’s a start.

Maybe some of these won’t actually be for “right now”. It could be 10 years before I get to them, if at all. But the point is I wrote them down. Just that simple act turned them into something real. A hope, a goal, something to look forward to.

I hope you’ll at least write down yours too.


Tell me, what is one thing you’d put on your “right now” bucket list?



Adoptive mom, biological mom, slacker mom, Disney mom, and above all things a REAL mom. Fan of blogging, sleeping, and pretending not to hear my kids fight.


  1. I’ll be the Big 4-0 next month. Hubs is supposed to be planning a “surprise” weekend trip. I know it’s happening, just not when or where. No idea if the planning has actually started… 😑 anywho, this is a nice idea. Def see a Broadway show if you can (wicked was so so good). I think I’d like to go somewhere ALONE for a day or a weekend. I like the idea of someone cooking and cleaning for me. Hmmm…. the possibilities.

  2. I love this post! I am working really hard to do things for myself this year, and it’s been absolutely life-changing. I think my next item will be to take my daughter to another little play, just her and I. She’s been asking to go, and I need to make it happen- for the both of us!

  3. What a great idea! My birthday is in January so I’ve got to get going on my list! haha. I’d have to agree with you on Broadway show in NYC, it’d be fun to buy an extravagant dress, pretend to be fancy and spend too much on food and drinks. I’ve never been so that’s on my list and ‘Mean Girls’ on Broadway is coming out this Spring… I also highly recommend ‘The Book of Mormon’.

  4. I love this! Maybe when my kids are a liiiiittle bit bigger I’ll start my own right now bucket list. I LOVE the idea of staying at a nearby swanky hotel. That sounds awesome!

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