What do You Want to do Before You Die?

Sometimes, I have to wander around for hours to come with a post idea. Other times, they just pop up out of nowhere and smack me in the face.

The latter happened last week when I was hiking around Boulder with friends. First, we hiked up Mt. Sanitas:

Then we stopped off for dessert breakfast:

Afterwards, we stumbled upon this:

Deep thoughts, especially after inhaling that crepe. And if I would have expired after eating breakfast, I would have died happy. And stuffed.

I’m getting ahead of myself. First, I need to talk about last week’s question when I asked you about focus.



I’m having a difficult time organizing my life and focusing. Here is what you had to say:

I like this from Mrs. Kiwi:

It took me a while to realize that I don’t need to say yes to every invite, and I still struggle with it, as I see my fall filling up fast! And even local events are draining. So, I’m instituting the 24 hour ban. Don’t say yes to a commitment without thinking about it first!

Justin at Atypical Life:

So what do I focus on? I focus on having a good time. Whether it is traveling a ton or hanging out at home and enjoying the easy life, so long as I am enjoying myself, what does it matter?

Gotta love Rocky Mountain National Park. Now the challenge! Wake up at 4am again and ride your bike into the park and to the top of Trail Ridge Rd. It is quite the climb and will be a beautiful fun descent back down.

Reader Phil:

“Don’t trade time for money”. Money can be defined too broadly in this statement. You need to trade time for happiness – and if some of that happiness generates money, so be it. For many people, that happiness is work – but now you get to define that work. The stress comes from having too many options and that lack of clarity on what is validating. If you figure out the validation, then you have found your meaning of life.

Matt from Spills Spot:

I LOVE ping pong, and that set up looks awesome!

Matt, next time you’re in Colorado, prepare for some dirty, hardcore ping-pong action!

So, back to me. A big part of my focus issue is that I have a hard problem saying “no.” Like Mrs. Kiwi said, No is a perfectly valid answer. From now on, my default answer to parties, side-gigs and any other requests that will consume over 20 minutes will be:


But what do I do about everything that I’ve already taken on? Sometimes, I feel like I should ditch it all except for a post here every week. Then, I could slowly add activities back as I see fit.

Sometimes, I feel a little lost. Like this:

It will take a while to right the ship. I’ve heard some say it took a year to fall into a groove after retiring. After five months, I still have a way to go. Half of the fun is figuring it all out, right?

Where to go, what to do? 


What do You Want to do Before You Die?

So, what is one thing you want to do before you buy the dirt farm?

I thought long and hard about this and I’m all over the board:

  • Clean the damn garage
  • Raise my girls in such a way that they get full scholarships to the Colorado School of Mines
  • Eat at Pequod’s, my favorite pizza place
  • Take my toy car out on the Pacific Coast Highway
  • Get my damn weight to 150 and then pack on 15 pounds of muscle
  • More dinosaur:

  • Change the ugly-ass theme (look and feel) of this blog to something even remotely appealing
  • Convince Mrs. 1500 that it’s OK to set the thermostat to under 76 during the winter
  • See a SpaceX launch and landing in person

How about You?

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65 Responses to What do You Want to do Before You Die?

  1. Oh I love these kinds of things. We have lots of things we would like to do before we die, but I would be able to die happy despite the list of things. Since I think you’re getting deeper on the question, let me think.

    Travel with my husband, for missions and fun.
    Raise all my kids to follow their faith.
    Help them find job/career paths that make them happy.
    Join the club for people that have run 1 mile/day for a year.

    I’m pretty sure I have a whole lot more, but those are the big ones that come to me right away.

    I love this question! Really makes you think!
    Ember @ An Intentional Lifestyle recently posted…3 Books That Will Make You A Better Person & SpouseMy Profile

  2. On my bucket list is to go to Iceland. I think it looks incredible and it’s only 5.5 hrs away. So I think we should be able to do that. Some family goals are to raise my children with good morals and to pursue things that they enjoy in life. I’d also like to pursue more of my passions which includes financial education. So hopefully I can check off a couple of these things 🙂
    Mustard Seed Money recently posted…How I Used the Stock Market To Mask My ProblemsMy Profile

  3. Team CF says:

    Great goal for the girls! Actually did one semester at CSM (still have the hoodie to prove it ;-), had a blast.

    The list for me:
    – become FI and be free
    – do a Olympic distance triathlon (and get a six-pack doing it)
    – visit New Zealand/Chili
    – re-visit Hawaii (this time Kauai)
    – be an awesome dad
    – keep Mrs CF happy for a very long time
    Team CF recently posted…August 2017 Cheesy IndexMy Profile

  4. Divnomics says:

    Saying no is definitely something that’s underrated. Although it’s an issue everybody can have with everything. I can understand that when you enter a life stage where you have a lot more time on hands, it’s more difficult to prioritize between things.

    As for the things I want to do before I die… live life as best as I could of course!
    It would be the best feeling ever that if you near the end, you will look back and are happy with how you lived your life.

    But what makes me happy now, can be different from what makes me happy ten years from now. Maybe it’s traveling the world, bulk reading, becoming a millionaire, finding a new job. I don’t really know.

  5. My list is meager – I want to visit Rome and Athens.

  6. It’s a long list filled with traveling to all sorts of places, raising great kids, and enjoying life. Slowly we chip away at each thing on the list, but always ensure there is more to come. If you already accomplished everything what would you do with yourself.

  7. Mr. Tako says:

    Great list of things to do Carl!

    I’ve been at this early retirement thing for over two years now, and I’m still not sure I’ve fallen into a “groove”. Life just keeps changing and bringing ever greater variety.

    Not sure I’ll ever get used to it, but at least it’s a fun ride.
    Mr. Tako recently posted…When Disaster StrikesMy Profile

  8. Jeff from Jersey says:

    Pretty simple…want to take a good couple of weeks (or months) and drive back and forth across the United States. Take the north route out west, cruise down the Pacific coast, and finish via the south track back east. There are just so many parts of this country that I have never seen outside of the major cities. No agendas, no hustle, just trying to discover the lovely treasures and locations that this land has to offer with the people you care the most about.

  9. Machinist says:

    I’m a German citizen, living in the US since 5 years.
    I’m already FI but not retired. I want to fatten our family nest egg a bit more.
    Because of that I currently have some internal pain/conflict, when thinking about this question.
    – I want to spend more time with my family, friends and for myself.
    – I want to play in a band again and perform at some hobby events.
    – I want to deadlift 405 pounds (4 plates)
    – I want to spend more time with blogging.
    – I want to live with my family close to a beach+ good school district either in North Florida or South Spain.
    (this house at the beach thing is the reason im still trading time for money…).
    How many additional years in the prison camp is that worth? 😉


  10. I love this bucket list! I think there’s something really great about setting goals for yourself. 🙂 Gives ya something to look forward to. For me, I think I’d just like to travel a lot more. I got to travel when I was a kid and teen, but as an adult, I haven’t really gone abroad (since I’m now footing the bill!).
    Mrs. Picky Pincher recently posted…What A Frugal Weekend! September 10My Profile

  11. Mine is rather simple and maybe cheesy, but I want to feel like I made a difference. Also to be a ggod father and husband. If I can do those things everything else should fall into place.
    PedalsorPennies recently posted…Make some extra cash – OfficiateMy Profile

  12. Get married, write a book, and make a feature-length documentary.
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…Life and Financial Lessons I’m Learning from a MillennialMy Profile

  13. I like your list! I have some crazy idea that I want to try skydiving – something’s definitely wrong with me!

    I’ve also had a backpacking trip on my bucket list for what seems like forever. The good news is that it’s coming up this weekend! One item to cross off the list… until I love it and want to do it again every year! 😉

    — Jim
    Jim @ Route To Retire recently posted…You’re Doing It Wrong! Your Personal Savings RateMy Profile

  14. The Rhino says:

    “What do You Want to do Before You Die?”

    Live, man, live..

  15. Love the angles of your posts recently, Carl. As always, we are a few years behind and we want to steal ruthlessly from your efforts. Hope that’s cool.

    I have a few big ones on the list:

    -Write a non-fiction book and a book of short stories.
    -Visit six of seven continents (one left)
    -Live abroad with the family for at least one year
    -Oh yeah, make a couple kids
    -Build a structure. A shed, at least. But there’s something intriguing about a tiny house on wheels. I want to put my hands on my hips and say, “I built that.”
    Done by Forty recently posted…The Triumphant Return of Budget Porn!My Profile

  16. jb says:

    this is more geared towards the previous post, but you should read the book “essentialism”. i just read it and it was eye opening. and such common sense. Like this one:

    “slow yes, quick no” – aka, you should protect your time, and be thoughtful about what you say yes to. always remember the tradeoff. that was a whole chapter on how to do the graceful no.

    • JB, thanks for the book recommendation. You’re the second one to mention it to me this week, so it must be really great (or I’m really screwed up). Anyway, I just added the book to my Hold list at the local library.

      • jb says:

        I had to wait forever to get it from the library, and speed read it once i finally got it. it was worth it. that may be one of the few books I actually buy….

        i started bullet journaling recently also (mostly to keep track of food / health) but also to write down things that I come across that resonate. I can say I wrote down a lot of thoughts after reading essentialism. I dont generally read productivity books, because they kind of give me a bad taste in my mouth – they mostly seem geared towards squeezing as much productivity as possible out of every minute of your day. that sounds exhausting. Essentialism didnt read like that to me – it was more about being thoughtful and conscious about where you focus your time. I also read it while I was on a break from work, and it helped me both think through what I wanted to do when i returned to work, as well as what i wanted to do personally. when i first went on that break, i experienced something similar to you, i think. I had gone from no free time to so much of it, and I was slow to put structure around it to accomplish the things I really wanted to do. its a nice problem to have, but a hard one to deal with nonetheless.

        anyways, i hope you like it and that it helps.

  17. Joe says:

    That’s a tough question because life keeps changing. What I want today is different than what I wanted 5 years ago. Of course, I want to raise my kid to be a smart well adjusted young man. Other than that, it’s gravy.
    – Take a year off to go on a RTW trip.
    – Live in Thailand for a year
    – lose a few pounds … This one is always tough..
    Joe recently posted…How We’re Generating Passive Income in 2017My Profile

  18. Jason says:

    So many things:
    1) Become a parent….we are still doing the IVF thing and it is wearing on us. Every day I get older and every day it seems more remote (don’t want pity…sorry)
    2) Write another book on my own
    3) Travel to all of Europe
    4) Hit all 7 continents (I have 6 done…only need Antartica)
    5) Own a home on the water
    Jason recently posted…Guest Post: Balance Your Social Life and Finances-10 Ways to Save Money When Eating OutMy Profile

    • I’m really sorry about #1. These types of things have a funny way of working out when you least expect it or after you’ve given up.

      I’ve done #5 and it’s awesome. Face West so you can watch the Sun set every evening.

  19. Mr. SSC says:

    Finish the last 460 miles of the AT. Maybe redo the thru hike but finish this time, lol.
    Build a wood strip canoe
    See a baseball game in every stadium – this is a work in progress. 🙂
    Not raise the kids to be self-centered a$$holes…
    Finish a Half Ironman – this will take some real work. For now the Olympic distance is fun.
    Enjoy life now

    Good luck on CSM, for undergrad they seem to be real competitive! But not absurdly competitive like some other schools can be. I mean, they let me in, lol. For grad school anyway. I loved going to school there, so many people from all over to interact with.
    Mr. SSC recently posted…One More Year Syndrome is LegitMy Profile

    • Whoah, nice work on becoming an Oredigger! Want to do some paid coaching? 🙂

      • Mr. SSC says:

        Persistence paid off for me. I worked in Lakewood when I applied to grad school (finished undergrad at CU Denver) and got rejected the first time. Then I showed up about every other week to talk to the admissions officer, geology dept head, etc… They knew me before I was admitted and I got first run at the new prof taking grad students. Even if it was just to get me out of their hair, it worked.

        Persistence, get them to know and remember your/their name and face, and don’t accept a rejection if they get one at first. 🙂
        Mr. SSC recently posted…One More Year Syndrome is LegitMy Profile

  20. CSM grad says:

    I went to Mines. Go Orediggers! Your goal to help your daughters earn a full ride is to CSM is a good one. It’s a great school. Have you heard of the CSM Harvey Scholars? Check out their webpage. I think they awarded 18 full-rides this year. You could mentor your girls in regards to community service and an attitude of paying it forward. ‘Tis a blessing to be a blessing, but frosting on the cake if you can win a scholarship too. 😃

    As for one of my to do items, I’d like to try blogging and join this online personal finance community.

    • I had not heard of that scholarship, but thanks for that! And way to go on getting into CSM!

      And let me know if you need help getting your blog career off the ground. Hit me up through the Contact page.

  21. I like these kind of posts that get you thinking after you read them.
    For me, I am just getting started on my journey to FIand definitely one of the big goals is to achieve Fi. Another item on my list was to start my own blog which I did recently(thegameoffire.com).
    As an engineer, i have been thinking recently about what metrics will I use to measure a successful life. I haven’t found an easy way to answer that question but I think there’s more to come as I continue my quest for more knowledge.

  22. MrWow says:

    We will discuss this PCH trip in about 6 weeks.

    Until then. I know we want to spend a lot of time traveling. I want to hit every continent. I know the Mrs has a goal to be in her alma mater’s 40 under 40. She’ll get there I know it.

    He also always wanted to ride my bike a cross the country. Weird and long. But I want to do it one day.

    • Oh hell yeah, the Mrs. will do it.

      And I can’t hardly wait to chat with you about the PCH. I mentioned the NSX, but as you know, the bike would be fun too. I’m going to outfit it with hard bags over the winter for long distance touring.

      A cross-country bike trip would be AWESOME! Mrs. 1500 already did this, so be sure to ask her about it in Dallas.

  23. Mr. Free says:

    Wisconsin Ironman Triathlon and qualify for Kona.

  24. Feisty FIRE says:

    Post idea: nytimes article today posted about Denver being as a top pick for Amazon headquarters, what will be the pitfalls of Denver being chosen from a cost of living perspective and what will be the opportunities coming out of it for wealth creation?

  25. Thanks for the shoutout, would love to take you up on that sometime! Visiting Colorado is definitely on my list for the near future. One of my favorite bucket list items that I want to complete before I die is to attend a baseball game at all 30 MLB stadiums.
    Matt Spillar @ Spills Spot recently posted…Money Map: How We Manage Our FinancesMy Profile

  26. Crispy Doc says:

    Okay, here’s a chance to hang out while knocking a couple of items off your bucket list: when you decide to take the NSX for a road trip along PCH, you can visit SpaceX headquarters in SoCal (not technically viewing a launch, but gets many fans excited), after which we can meet up for that hike and beer overlooking the Pacific.

    Let me know when the trip happens, and keep that logorrhea pouring onto the page!



  27. LadyFIRE says:

    Milk a cow! Preferably my own cow. And then, morbidly, butcher a cow (or pig, or sheep, whichever)

    I have long term dreams of living on a homestead, brewing my own beer and mead, producing most of my own food. Long, long term dreams, but ones that will work out great if the Zombie Apocalypse hits
    LadyFIRE recently posted…Stop buying shitMy Profile

  28. Lara says:

    It changes a bit every year. I crossed off “go to Puerto Rico and see the bioluminescent bay” this past year. Right now I want to bike the trail next to Hadrian’s wall, see the northern lights, pass the CPA exam, do a sprint triathalon without drowning, help my kids become kind, responsible and adventurous adults, try out the ifly indoor skydiving place in Seattle, and, eventually, dance with my husband at our 50 year wedding anniversary

  29. Old School says:

    Good luck with the thermostat war but I have a feeling that is a battle you won’t win…unless you can figure out a way to alter the digital readout muhahahahahaha!!!

  30. Acastus says:

    Figuring out what you want to do that will give your life meaning is a very worthy exercise. Contemplating your bucket list while your are 40ish is macabre. It is not time to cross off those final activities. It is time to choose your life’s purpose. With any luck, you are in the first half of your life, the very prime of your life. Save the bucket list for the back nine.

  31. grbkeb says:

    Travel slowly on a sailboat to visit places most people only look at pictures of and getting there using mother nature. Speaking of that, I’m off to France for the Cannes sailboat show, never been there should be a blast! Sailboat shopping is a lot like puppy shopping…hard not to pull the trigger!

  32. Kristina says:

    Ride in a hyperloop!

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