The Reverse Bucket List – Looking Back at Some Awesome Accomplishments

I’ve never made a bucket list. I think having a list of goals is great, but I never felt the need to officially put together a bucket list because I fear that 95% of it would just be a list of places I want to visit. And let’s face it, that list of places might as well be 95% of the countries on the planet. But recently my friend Gigi wrote a post about her reverse bucket list, the idea of looking back at things she’s already accomplished. Since I usually spend too much time focusing on what I haven’t accomplished, I thought this would be a good way to remind myself that I have actually done some awesome things.

Met and married a wonderful (and goofy) man

Though I had a few boyfriends before I met Andy, most were short-lived and I was perpetually single. I had finally made my peace with being single when suddenly I met Andy through Twitter. I guess all those people were right when they said I’d find someone when I stopped looking. Every single day I look at him and smile because I feel so lucky to have found my partner in life. And it helps that he’s so goofy and makes me laugh all the time.

Andy and Ali wedding

Traveled by myself

When I realized I hadn’t been out of the US in years, mostly because I was waiting for someone who wanted to travel with me, I decided I had to change things. Who cares if I didn’t have someone to travel with me? So I planned a 10 day solo trip to Greece, which then led to other solo trips over the next few years. I learned that solo travel isn’t so scary, it’s actually pretty great. That trip was probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

sunset in Santorini, Greece

Visited all 7 continents before my 30th birthday

My first trip to Europe was at age 14. My only visit to Africa was a day trip to Morocco from Spain when I was 20, but hey, it still counts. I traveled to South America (the first time) and Antarctica when I was 28, and finished up with Asia and Australia three months before my 30th birthday.

7 continents

Went skydiving

When I was a sophomore in college, one of the resident advisers in my dorm organized a group to go skydiving, and he was able to get pretty good student and group discounts, so it was only $60 per person. It turned out to be lots of fun, though I think once is probably enough for a lifetime.

Studied abroad in Spain

Pretty much as soon as I started taking Spanish classes and learned about study abroad programs, I wanted to study abroad in Spain. I went for a summer program between my sophomore and junior years of college. Even though it was short, it was still an amazing experience that I highly recommend for anyone.

Moved to Europe

For years I dreamed about living in Europe. I imagined I’d end up in Spain since I studied Spanish, but I ended up in Germany instead. Living here isn’t really anything like I thought living in Europe would be, and it has its stresses, but I’m glad to be here.

Freiburg, Germany photos

Passed my German exam

For eight months I went to my German language class, four hours a day, five days a week. I struggled through difficult grammar rules, noun genders that don’t have rules, and frustrating teachers, but I finally got through it and passed my exam in January.

Took a round the world trip

With each trip I took I would meet people on long round the world journeys, and it sounded amazing. Just like moving to Europe wasn’t what I expected, this trip looked nothing like I imagined it would. It really sucked to be away from Andy, but I’m glad I fulfilled this dream.

Great Ocean Road Australia 12 Apostles

Quit a job I hated

I had to quit to move to Germany to be with Andy, but I’m still so glad I was able to get out of a job that was crushing my soul. Andy and I have decided that it just doesn’t make sense for me to get a traditional job here, and I’m working on ideas for how to make money.


So many of us, I suspect, spend too much time comparing ourselves to other people. At least I do. I often see other people’s successes, then I focus on things I haven’t accomplished (whether I even want to accomplish those things or not) and I feel like I’m somehow failing. Which is ridiculous. Instead I should be focusing on the amazing things I have accomplished and the goals I set for my own future. This look back at my own successes certainly helped, and I’ll keep working on changing my thought patterns so I can continue to succeed.

You might also enjoy: