Awhile back, I wrote an ironic introvert bucket list, but I’d like to get a little more into stretching our comfort zones with some different things you can add to your bucket list. We like to draw lines in the sand so often, but what we don’t often associate with that line is what we might be missing out on on the other side of it.
Beyond keeping me safe and comfortable, my boundaries also provide a convenient and unnecessary crutch for my fears. It’s a giant pile of “what ifs”. What if I say no and I regret it? What if I go and I hate it or have a panic attack? What if it’s all too much? I want to share this experience with them, but what if I just can’t?
What I’ve realized over the years is that I will not do something based on the idea that I don’t think I will enjoy something, and sometimes I’m right, but other times, I’m very, very wrong. I’m not saying that introverts don’t know themselves, but maybe we know ourselves too well and choose the easier path because it’s always so cozy and familiar.
No one should be forced to do something they truly don’t want to do, but I have found myself in moments that I would not normally have put myself in – and enjoyed it. I know what I like and don’t like, but a lot of the time, I’m just assuming I know what a situation is going to be like. How can we better weigh the risks and rewards?
We can’t, but we can ask ourselves if we’re open to new experience and willing to accept what that encompasses.
Can I check this off my list?
If big crowds make you nervous, maybe this is something you should add to your bucket list. This has been on mine for quite some time, and now it’s at my doorstep. It’s a blog conference, which may not sound like that big of a deal, but it is for me. Not only is it large enough to freak me out, but I’m going ALONE, and that’s not something I would not normally do. Here’s the deal though: I have to do this for myself because I know I will love it.
This is my scary thing. The thing that gets my stomach in knots and creates visions of awkwardness and loneliness. It’s my starting point for putting myself out there, which I don’t do enough of, and don’t they say to go big or go home?
I guess I’m going big, since I already paid for the ticket.
11 Things to Add to Your Bucket List
- Sleep under the stars. Preferably, on a beach, on a clear night. This isn’t really that far out of an introvert’s comfort zone, so consider this a freebie or a good place to start. If anything, it will get you outside… maybe chillin’ around a campfire with some close friends.
- See your favorite band live in concert. This is important for introverts because this is the exact kind of situation that some of us avoid because it can be so overly stimulating, but we’re talking about your favorite band or singer, so maybe try to find them at a smaller or outdoor venue. If this isn’t possible, take a friend and sit in the outside perimeter of the arena, in case you need a quick exit.
- Start the convo. Initiate conversation with your crush, a stranger, or someone you met at a work party. It doesn’t matter who it is, but be the first to say, “hi”.
- Get lost in a foreign city. This is perfect for introverts who love to wander, explore, and experience culture. You can learn a lot about yourself in moments like these. It can be in a beautiful countryside or big city, but tell your taxi driver to take you to the best park, beach, or ice cream shop, and start from there. On foot or bicycle is the best way to get to know an area.
- Do something that legitimately scares you. Facing a fear should always make it on your bucket list because fear prevents you from doing something you actually want to do. Pick one thing, big or small, that scares you, and make the decision to do it anyway. You can take a friend for emotional support, if needed.
- Learn to surf. More than likely, you’ve always dreamed of doing something you have no idea how to do. Whether it’s surfing, pottery, or learning a new language, take a lesson. Just start. I took a surfing lesson (I’m scared of sharks), and it was SO MUCH FUN.
- Go to a murder mystery dinner (in costume). This would be a tough one for me since it would include both strangers and small talk, BUT the small talk would likely center around clues and investigative work, so you wouldn’t have to try very hard. It also just might be entertaining enough to hold your attention.
- Sing at karaoke night or read a verse at poetry night. I did this a long time ago, even though I don’t usually like to be the center of attention – so I did it with a small group of friends. It was pretty humorous, but a lot of fun, too. We probably didn’t sound as awful as we were, since the audience was mostly drunk.
- Host a special event or dinner party. Obviously, a party is usually not the introvert’s first choice, but consider the following. If you’re the host, then you’re focused on other things and don’t have to mingle as much, you have control of how long the party lasts, and you’ll likely have your bestie helping out in the kitchen. Aaaand, if you’re hosting with a significant other (or close friend), they can carry your small talk load. Win-win, baby. And, no, you can’t ghost your own party.
- Take a road trip. No plans, itinerary, or destination. Many introverts love to plan ahead, but there’s something to spontaneity, and while you still have control of the small decisions along the way, you have to let go of the not knowing part. Live in the moment. Who knows where you might end up or who you might meet along the way?
- Start your own business. The introvert dream – ditch the cubicle and work for yourself! What do yo do in your spare time that you could provide to the rest of the world? Do you have an innovative idea, handmade product or artwork, information you could share (blog, book), or a service you could provide to others?
- Go skinny dipping. This might sound odd to list specifically for introverts, but hear me out. It’s in the vulnerability. It’s not easy for us to feel exposed emotionally, so here’s a different way to feel exposed and vulnerable, if even for only a short time. It’s also freeing and exciting. Find a secluded spot. Do it with a friend, or not. Just don’t do it in a thunderstorm.
What’s on YOUR bucket list?
A bucket list is, technically, a list of things to do before you kick the bucket, but I like to think of it as a list of things to broaden your horizon, stretch your wings, and maybe grow a little. Traveling to new places and trying adrenalin-based activities are on most people’s lists, but bucket lists aren’t solely about being outrageous.
What about facing a small fear, forgiving someone, or planning an amazing adventure that is specific to you? This could be anything from a Costa Rican wellness retreat to a balloon festival in Arizona!
Whatever you add to your bucket list, be authentic and make it about you.
What other things can you think of to add to your bucket list that would take you out of your comfort zone? What would push your boundaries a little or a lot? What experience have you already checked off of your list, and did you love it or hate it?