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The Ultimate Bucket List in Life. By Andrew Scot Proctor

By Mormon.org
Andrew Proctor jumping into Cascade Lake with all his clothes on

I have a bucket list. Some of the things on my bucket list include jumping into a large body of water with all my clothes on, downhill skiing in a gorilla suit, going to Rome before I turn 30, going on a honeymoon to the Holy Land with my wife, and many others. Just like me, I think people often think about life in terms of what we want to do. We create long lists of things to do before we "kick the bucket." Some things I have seen on many bucket lists include: 

  • Go skydiving.
  • Hike the Appalachian Trail.
  • Run a marathon.
  • Backpack across Europe.
  • Swim with dolphins.
  • Go on an Alaskan cruise.
  • Ride an elephant in Thailand.
  • Earn a doctorate degree.
  • Go to the great pyramids of Egypt.
  • Buy a house.
  • Make a million dollars in one year.
  • Write a book.
  • Learn a foreign language.

These all sound amazing! I’m really not against creating a list that motivates you and animates the fire of life in your heart. Actually, I think the Lord wants us to do things that fill our hearts with hope and help us to look forward to the future. Everyone should strive for happiness and fulfillment in their lives.

Personally, I believe the most happy and fulfilled people on this earth are those who are constantly working on a different kind of bucket list. And that happiness and fulfillment did not come because they BASE jumped off the Burj Khalifa in Dubai (though this would be a way cool thing to tell your friends). It also didn't come because they hiked a mountain and took a selfie with some Tibetan monks.

I believe the ultimate bucket list would have less to do with what we are d​oing ​and more to do with what we are b​ecoming.​ Here is my idea of the ultimate life bucket list:

  • Become filled with love for everyone, even my enemies.
  • Become a compassionate person.
  • Become a good listener.
  • Become a meek and humble person.
  • Become a person of absolute confidence.
  • Become a person filled with light and truth.
  • Become someone who loves learning.
  • Become a master teacher.
  • Become a servant to all.
  • Become patient.
  • Become trustworthy.
  • Become someone who hungers and thirsts after righteousness.
  • Become merciful and develop a forgiving heart.
  • Become pure in heart.
  • Become a peacemaker.
  • Become like Jesus.

This list is the ultimate list because it challenges us not just to do something, but to become something more—to become like Jesus. I believe Jesus Christ was and is the most happy and fulfilled person not because of what He has checked off a bucket list of accomplishments (or cool things to post on Facebook or Twitter), but because of what He has b​ecome.​ And I believe that we will find the greatest fulfillment in life not from posting selfies from the Great Wall of China or any number of cool accomplishments, but by what we are becoming.

It’s like President Dieter F. Uchtdorf quoted in the April 2015 general conference:

“Many of the things you can count, do not count. Many of the things you cannot count, really do count.”

God's plan of salvation is perfect for everyone precisely because it asks us not to d​o something great, but to b​ecome​ someone great. I​t levels the playing field.​ Becoming patient weighs equally on God’s scale whether you are an Olympic hurdler or a crippled leper in India. Becoming pure in heart weighs equally on God’s scale whether you are a 55-­year-­old mother of 10 kids or a 55­-year-­old woman who never married. Becoming merciful weighs equally on God’s scale whether you have three advanced degrees from Ivy League universities or you never finished high school. Ultimately, God will see not what we have done, but what we have b​ecome, ​and this list of becoming more Christlike is the ultimate ​bucket list, no matter your age, race, vocation, location, or relationship status. Jesus challenged us to become more when He said, "Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am" (3 Nephi 27:27; italics added).

And President Ezra Taft Benson added this: “Walking in His way is the greatest achievement of life. That man or woman is most truly successful whose life most closely parallels that of the Master.”

Please don't hesitate to create your bucket list of things you want to do or see or accomplish in your life. Just remember that as you accomplish and do, what you are b​ecoming​ matters most of all.

Andrew Scot Proctor is the owner of the blog T​he Returned Missionary, encouraging the tens of thousands of LDS missionaries who come home every year to continue to be productive, hardworking, faithful, and happy long after their full-time mission has ended. His goal with this blog is to help people know how they can live the gospel while living their dreams. He just launched his first book, called Live Your Mission: 21 Powerful Principles to Discover Your Life Mission after Your Mission, which is the first book in the L​ive My Gospel​ book series.

Check out w​ww.thereturnedmissionary.com. Follow this blog on Facebook,​ Twitter,​ or Google+.​