Time to scratch things off the itch list

Skydiving in Moab.

If you started 2018 with a list of New Year’s resolutions, why not think bigger? Abraham Lincoln understood.

“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years,” he said.

There’s no point in waiting. It’s time to put your bucket list on paper and start checking it off! (If you find that “bucket list” reminds you too much of “kicking the bucket,” then call it a “life list,” “wander list” or an “itch list”—the things you’re just itching to do.)

Getting ready to paraglide over Queenstown, New Zealand.

“Most everyone has a bucket list, but they lack the motivation to accomplish it,” said Mike Perry, 72. “Making a bucket list of all the things you want to do is one thing, but for many, that’s as far as it goes. Maybe it’s fear that gets in your way, procrastination or lack of commitment. Maybe you just need a nudge or a partner to motivate you to get off the couch.”

Perry inspires hundreds with lectures on attacking bucket lists. His lifestyle is proof that he believes itch lists should be done, not just dreamed.

“Always do something new, keep your mind stimulated, get out of your comfort zone,” Perry said. “Anytime you can include your family, that’s always a good thing.”

Perry at Patagonia.

In his mid-20s, Perry was a self-described “Indiana Jones wannabe.” He still treasures an article he tore from a 1972 issue of “Life Magazine,” titled “One Man’s Life of No Regrets.” It recounted the amazing, goal-driven life of John Goddard, one of the world’s most famous anthropologists, explorers and adventurers.

At 15, Goddard wrote down 127 goals to achieve during his life. They were not simple or easy: becoming an Eagle Scout, climbing the world’s major mountains, piloting the world’s fastest aircraft, reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica.

His list grew over time, but by the end of his 88-year life, he had accomplished an impressive 109 of his original goals.

He became known as “The World’s Greatest Goal Achiever.”

“John Goddard has always been my hero,” said Perry. “My dream was to meet my mentor, the man I modeled my life after.”

In 2003, as Perry prepared to speak on goal setting before a group of scouts and other youth, he wondered if there was a chance of receiving advice from Goddard. Perry tracked down his phone number.

Perry developed a friendship with his mentor, John Goddard.

Surprisingly, Goddard himself answered the phone and, following a friendly exchange, he invited Perry to his California home.

Perry developed a close friendship with his mentor in the decade before

Goddard’s death. They communicated frequently and visited several times—Goddard even spoke at Colorado Mesa University and at the Western Colorado Boy Scouts Council Peak Vision Award dinner in 2006.

“He signed the ‘Life Magazine’ article I had saved all these years. ‘To Mike, a fellow adventurer, with love and friendship, John Goddard,’” said Perry. “He later signed a card to me, ‘To my kindred spirit,’ and claimed it was his good fortune as well to meet me. That means so much to me.”

To help others attain their dreams, Perry has led adventures to places including Iceland, Cuba and Peru. He has bungee-jumped in New Zealand, sky-dived and parasailed. He is completing a coast-to-coast bike ride in pieces.

“Some goals take longer than others to accomplish and that’s okay,” he said.

There’s a new year ahead of us. How will you spend it? Ride a horse on the beach. Learn a new language. Travel. Scuba dive. Learn to knit. Sleep under the stars. Reconnect with a childhood friend. Raft the Grand Canyon. It’s time to get started!

Any good bucket list consists of overcoming fears, realizing dreams and achieving goals.

Here’s Mike’s advice on how to get started:

  • Start your list with a draft and refine it as you find new ideas.
  • Surround yourself with passionate people. Stay clear of people who limit your dreams.
  • Include family, health and friends.
  • Stay optimistic, be flexible and have fun.
  • Be specific and build in accountability.
  • Keep a journal.
  • Take advantage of the knowledge of others.
  • Choose to live happily. Life is too short to be sad, upset or negative.
  • Post your bucket list in a prominent place where you can see it every day.
Melanie Wiseman

Melanie Wiseman

Melanie Wiseman is passionate about writing and loves sharing the stories of family, love, volunteering and adventure of the people she interviews. Raised in Wisconsin, she has called western Colorado home for more than 30 years. She loves traveling, reading, photography, hiking, camping, biking, cross-country skiing and exploring the outdoors with her husband, Dan, and Papillon, Abby.
Melanie Wiseman

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