Bucket List


The idea of a bucket list became popular after the release of a 2007 movie, starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, where two terminally ill men go on a road trip with a wish list of things to do before they “kick the bucket.”

A bucket list often refers to the goals one wants to fulfill, dreams one wishes to achieve, and life experiences one desires to have before dying. You may think that the idea of a bucket list is dark and depressing because it references death, but life is only precious because it ends. A reference to our mortality is a reminder of our vitality, a reminder to live life to the fullest and stay aware of how we are prioritizing our precious time.

What does it mean to you to be alive

Is it comfort? discomfort? energy? pain? pleasure? struggle? adventure? love? need? potential? humor?

A couple quotes to ponder on the topic:

“Live for 5am sunrises and 5pm sunsets where you’ll see colors in the sky that are stunning. Live for the times with music in your ears and the wind in your hair. Live for days when you’re surrounded by your favorite people who make you realize that the world is not a cold, harsh place. Live for the little things because they will make you realize that this is what life is about, this is what it means to be alive.” –Unknown internet source


“I enjoy life when things are happening. I don’t care if it’s good things or bad things. That means you’re alive. ” –Joan Rivers

“You’re alive. That means you have infinite potential. You can do anything, make anything, dream anything. If you change the world, the world will change.” –Neil Gaiman


If you had one day, one week, one month, or one year left to live, what would be on your bucket list?

A little over a week ago, I had the opportunity to cross something off of my bucket list. I bungee jumped 100 feet off a bridge, called the bridge to nowhere, and I did it twice, once facing forward and once facing backward. It was perfectly safe, but terrifying all the same. I think, aside from voluntarily jumping off that platform, the hardest part of the experience was the 5-mile hike there. Five miles of thinking about what I was about to do, and that was preceded by checking in with our guides in the parking lot where we were asked to rate how scared we were to jump on a scale of 1-10. I told them “3” but to ask me again in 2 hours.

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An internet search revealed the top 5 bucket list items are:

  1. See the Northern Lights
  2. Skydive
  3. Get a tattoo
  4. Swim with dolphins
  5. Go on a cruise

Why should you have a bucket list?

When the daily routines of life set in, it can be easy to let the days pass without taking much thought for your goals and desires. We get stuck in our routines, in what is familiar, and life passes us by rather quickly. A bucket list helps to guide us out of our comfort zones to new experiences, new goals, and new memories so that we make the most of our time. It also helps us to re-energize. After bungee jumping last weekend, my perspective on life felt refreshed, my focus was sharper, and I felt more empowered to work toward my dreams. The last purpose of a bucket list is it helps us find our “why?” and define what is important in our lives. Why do we work so hard, if not to enjoy the fruits of our efforts at times.

My Bucket List (for now):


  1. Bachelor’s Degree (April 2014)
  2. Master’s Degree
  3. Doctorate/PhD
  4. Get Engaged (November 2014)
  5. Get Married
  6. Have a kid
  7. Bench Press 200#
  8. Deadlift 300#
  9. Squat 225#
  10. Officiate a wedding
  11. Get a tattoo
  12. Compete in powerlifting
  13. Run a spartan race
  14. Run a marathon June 2010
  15. Run a triathlon  2014
  1. Give a speech to an audience of 100
  2. Give a speech to an audience of 500
  3. Give a TEDX Talk
  4. Get an article I’ve written published
  5. Build IG to 1000 subscribers
  6. Build IG to 5000 Subscribers
  7. Work full time in my own business
  8. Meet Bret Contreras
  9. Meet Dan John
  10. Meet Eric Cressey
  11. Meet Mike Boyle
  12. Meet Lewis Howes
  13. Make $4000 per month
  14. Attend SFMA course
  15. Train a professional athlete
  16. Train a celebrity
  17. Write a book
  18. Get interviewed for an article or podcast
  19. Have a professional photoshoot  2017
  1. Climb Mt Kilimanjaro (Tanzania)
  2. Scuba dive in the Great Barrier Reef (Australia)
  3. Run with the bulls (Pamplona, Spain)
  4. Visit Pompeii, Italy 2011
  5. Rock Climb in Yosemite Near Tanaya Lake in 2016
  6. Hike the JMT
  7. See the Northern Lights
  8. Hang glide
  9. Experience the Rio Carnival Parade
  10. Climb Machu Picchu
  11. Climb Mt. Whitney
  12. Hike through Spain
  13. Skydive
  14. Dog Sled
  15. Ride a Zipline
  16. Hike the Zion Narrows
  17. Mardi Gras in New Orleans
  1. Professional Basketball Game
  2. Professional Football Game
  3. Professional Baseball Game
  4. Backstage concert passes
  5. Attend a red carpet event
  6. Hike Holy Jim Trail to Santiago Peak (15 miles, moderate, dogs allowed)
  7. Red Rock Canyon hike at Whiting Ranch (4.2 miles total, no dogs)
  8. Sutton Peak hike (9.2 miles, dogs allowed)
  9. Modjeska Peak hike (15 miles, hard, dogs allowed)
  10. Hike/Backpack around Catalina
  11. Hike Blackstar canyon (7.1, moderate, dogs allowed)

What does it mean to you to be alive? If you had one day, one week, one month, or one year left to live, what would be on your bucket list?



Last week, two significant events occurred in my life:

  1. I celebrated my 25th birthday  7279382038_7bacf1ef67
  2. My uncle tragically and unexpectedly passed awaysadface

Needless to say, my mind is full of overwhelming thoughts and emotions as I reflect on a quarter of a century of my life and everything my uncle meant to me and my family.

I want to write this post on my reflections- the thoughts and revelations I’ve had in light of these two events. I can’t promise this will be the most uplifting post I’ve ever written. Additionally, a lot of these points are part of my own “processing” of events, so I apologize if I ramble a bit.

Reflections on Uncle Mike

  • He was my dad’s oldest brother (only 54 years old, though), best man at my parents’ wedding, father to two of my cousins, and eldest son of my grandparents…among his other roles.
  • No doubt about it: he was the family jokester. I can’t picture him without a big smile on his face. One of the funniest stories my family tells is how Uncle Mike showed up the day of my parents’ wedding, as the best man, with hair and eyebrows freshly dyed jet-black. I can’t imagine my mom laughed about it then, but now we definitely do.
  • He was everyone’s cheerleader. He was such a big supporter of whatever I was doing in my life at the time. When I started weight lifting and bodybuilding, he was one of the only people in my family not saying things like “don’t get big,” “be careful of too much muscle.” He shared my excitement over lifting PRs, my progress in getting stronger and more muscular and we spent many a family party shooting the shit about fitness. He made me feel validated with my passions.
  • He adventured…Cairo, the Himalayas, Nepal, Europe, Yosemite. He was a tourist in the cities and backpacked in the mountains. I believe it was after he finished law school that he (and my Aunt) backpacked around most of the world. He had a passion for nature and culture. Sometimes his priorities may have been questionable…like the time in college when he spent money that was supposed to pay for housing on climbing shoes (then had to live out of his car)…but everything worked out for the better in the end.
  • He was passionate…about his kids, rugby, corvette racing, his wife, nature, adventuring, family, music, and so many other, sometimes random, things.

Reflections on Grief


  • It sucks the big one.
  • I don’t like the word grief.  It’s weird.  One’s response to loss. I don’t feel like it’s an accurate depiction of what I or any of my family feel. Grief. Sadness, confusion, anger, numbness, emptiness, shock, devastation, sober, pensive, pained, preoccupied, distracted, heartbroken
  • Everyone says how important it is to let yourself feel, to “process” emotions associated with such occurrences, but, to be honest, I don’t really know how to even begin to do that. What do you do? Sit on the couch all day? Make yourself cry looking through old photos? Part of me doesn’t feel like I deserve to be as affected as others who were closer to hom. I was just one of his nieces, not someone who talked to him often, grew up with him, or saw him daily. A lot of my sadness around my uncle’s passing comes from empathizing with my family members’ pains…my dad’s, my grandma’s, my cousins’. Seeing my dad’s reaction to losing his brother, my grandparents’ pain from losing their son, my cousins’ heartbreak from losing their dad. These are the realities that affect me the most. I’m sad for their sadness.
  • Relationships and time are the most important aspects of life. Who matters to you? Do they know what they mean to you? How does your time reflect who is important to you? I know I definitely need to devote more time to cultivating relationships with my parents, my sisters, my friends, other uncles, and my grandparents. Life is too short to put these things off just because I’m busy with work or too caught up in my own world.

Reflections on being 25 years old

  • I bought myself 6 bottles of red wine for my birthday.
  • I feel old even though everyone I know who is older than me says I shouldn’t feel that way.
  • I feel so blessed to have such a close family and a fantastic boyfriend. My family has grown so close as my sisters and I have become adults. Our family dinners are truly the best and are frequently spent laughing, telling stories, playing games, and just having a great time together. My boyfriend and I support and compliment each other well. We both love working hard and playing harder. We both have our own businesses but make time to go climbing, back packing, shooting, surfing, sailing, hiking, to the movies, and to do all other kinds of things together. I’m so lucky and so blessed to be with him.
  • I’m frustrated to not be in or committed to a graduate program. I still feel like I’m in this “transition” phase in which I don’t know where I’ll be or what kind of job I’ll be doing 5 months from now. I am taking steps to remedy this, but it’s just a slow-as-molasses process. I’m not done learning. I’m eager to begin the “career” part of life, but there is so much more I want to learn.
  • I have a few major accomplishments so far in my life: 1) I was a member of the Santa Clara Vanguard for 2 years 2) I ran a full marathon 3) I worked as an EMT with UCLA EMS 4) I graduated from UCLA with my B.S. in Physiology.
  • On my own I’ve learned a lot about:
    • Exercise
    • Nutrition
    • Coaching
    • Motivational/Habit-Forming Psychology
    • Marketing
    • Sales
    • Running my own business
    • Physical Therapy
  • In the last year, especially, I’ve realized that a healthy mind is just as important (if not more so) as a healthy body. Achieving these is not something that happens over night nor is it something that one can just give up on. Both are essential for a high quality of life. I will never stop trying to be healthier today than I was yesterday.
  • I don’t know everything. Actually, I don’t know much at all. What am I doing?
  • I’m not sure what I want to do for my career. Some career paths have well defined names: physical therapist, doctor, writer. More and more I find that the people I look up to and aspire to be like have less defined titles. Eric Cressey runs two athletic training facilities, writes articles for multiple websites, publishes books and training programs, and speaks in conferences and seminars. Ben Coomber owns 4 businesses, runs a nutritionist certification program, has an amazing weekly podcast, speaks at tons of venues on nutrition, creates supplements, and plays rugby. James Clear publishes articles, writes books, speaks at events, travels the world, and lifts heavy weights. Bret Contreras writes a lot of great articles, does a lot of impactful research, is finishing his Phd, and runs a successful coaching business. So I guess I want to be an entrepreneur? A fitness professional? Create a career where I can do all the things I love that help people get/stay healthy and active? Impact as many lives as I can. Unfortunately, there isn’t a how-to book available on that kind of career. It’s a lot of touch-and-go, trial and error, work your butt off, try and try again, and take things a day at a time.
  •  I’m grateful that my parents allow me to live at home with a low rent…..but it’s really hard to grow as an adult under one’s parents’ roof. It’s really hard. I’m an organization nut, and the fact that I don’t have a functional, organized office space to work in, with white boards, etc drives me cray cray. Sharing a fridge and pantry with the fam is a challenge, as is spending most nights at my boyfriend’s place but having to come back home in the morning for clothes/food/etc. I do my best to create and environment where I can be successful, but I also crave my independence on the daily.

What are your thoughts? Please share below in a comment.