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Don't Make a Bucket List

Updated on October 28, 2017
theraggededge profile image

A freelance writer for many years, I like to explore and question everything.

The Bucket List
The Bucket List | Source

How Did This Bucket List Thing Start?

Ever since the release of the horribly implausible movie, “The Bucket List”, not a day goes by without someone posting their bucket list for all to see.

What's a bucket list? Okay, well these two terminally ill characters (Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman) whose paths would never normally cross, find themselves sharing a hospital room, despite one of them being the guy who owns the hospital. After much predictable character-conflict, they decide they are going to leave their normal lives, run away together and do all the things they dreamed of doing but never did because they were busy working, making sacrifices, building a business and bringing up families. Somehow, they overcome their health issues to climb mountains and go on a wildlife safari before they kick the bucket, hence 'bucket list'.

Since then, making a list of all the things you want to do before you die has become de rigueur. Not only is it mandatory to make a very long list, you must also try to out-do everyone else with your originality, humor and dedication to action. Don't forget to post it on Facebook as well as your blog and maybe you could write an article about it too. Share it - for the world awaits!

How Not to Create a Bucket List

Your friend tells you she is making a bucket list. You start seeing references to bucket lists all over the place. A friend of a friend on Facebook has just posted his. Wha..?? You'd better get going, hadn't you? You grab a cool-looking notebook, in fact you go and buy one especially for the purpose. You feel there is satisfaction in listing all your goals, serious and frivolous. This book is going to be a road map for your life. So you take your special purple pen and begin to write. Well, actually you don't. You have to think about this. Maybe the internet...?

So you go online and there are about a trillion websites about bucket lists. You find a few cool ideas and write them in your book. You notice that a few people have listed some altruistic goals of helping others. Aw... nice people. You write some good deeds down. You make a note of some interesting-looking places. You might come up with a couple of ideas of your own but on the whole, as there is nothing new under the sun, you end up using other people's. You'll find that they have lots in common.

Made Your Bucket List?

Have you got one, are you going to have one?

See results
Bucket-listers ahoy! (Morguefile Free License)
Bucket-listers ahoy! (Morguefile Free License) | Source

Top Ten Bucket List Ideas (in no particular order)

  • Ride in a hot air balloon
  • Visit the Grand Canyon
  • Write a novel/screenplay/memoir
  • Take a road trip
  • Spend six months in Europe, especially Paris, especially in a hot air balloon.
  • Go skydiving/bungee jump
  • Meet George Clooney/Tom Cruise/Justin Bieber/Rhiannah/Taylor Swift/Madonna
  • Have sex while skydiving (preferably with one of the above)
  • Climb Mount Killimanjaro/Everest/ some other mountain
  • Swim with dolphins/whales/seals/orcas/George Clooney
  • Did I mention hot air balloon? It's going to get awfully crowded up there.

Yawny yawn...

Why Bucket Lists Suck

So maybe you got to a hundred items on the list. Maybe you even managed five hundred. You type up the list and post it on your blog, or Facebook, or you decide to Tweet one a day. Why? Why do you want to announce to the world your own private and personal goals for your life? I'll tell you why... it's because you want to be seen as a bit special, a little bit edgy. You want to be seen as actually 'having a life', and by that I mean in the modern sense of being busy, popular and … well, busy. Look at my bucket list! Ain't I a cool dude/dudette? I'll let you in on a secret: No-one cares. Really.

Making a bucket list in the first place simply indicates that you are not being original in any way. Think about it... a second-rate movie inspires you to write down all the stuff you are never going to achieve along with a zillion other people all doing the same thing. It's all sooo Facebook.

A lone bucket-lister. (Morguefile Free License).
A lone bucket-lister. (Morguefile Free License). | Source

Bucket List Blues

When Your Bucket List Bites You in the Bum

So this bloke in New Zealand was given a diagnosis of terminal lung cancer – very similar situation to the guys in the movie. He has some hefty life assurance so he and his wife decide to give all their stuff away, sell their home (at less than its value), cancel the health insurance and live his remaining life to the full. Off they go on the trip of a lifetime. Pure indulgence. He even takes up smoking again. Hell, why not? Well, the money runs out, the trip comes to an end and the couple simply wait for him to pop his clogs. Except he doesn't. In fact his cancer went away and the hospital forgot to tell him. Oops. Now what do they do? Credit cards maxed, no home, no income and, most importantly, no life assurance payout. Man With Nothing To Lose...

What I find amazing about the story, as reported, is that the couple don't seem particularly happy that the cancer has gone, in fact they are downright disappointed that he's still around. They are planning on suing the hospital.

Bucket Lists are Expensive

Have a little look-through your bucket list. Jot down a rough estimated figure for each item on the list. For example, I'd say you couldn't get through six months in Europe (including hot air balloon trips) for much under $30k. Add up the costs of the other goals. Now cross out the very first item on the list and replace it with 'Win the lottery'.

Does Anyone Ever Complete Their Bucket List?

No. Not ever. The Bucket List site has a 'tribe' for members who have made it to 50 items achieved. It currently has ten members. Count 'em. Ten. Only 50 things... and I bet some of those were related to cupcakes. Hell's bells, I can get 50 things done in a day. Edit 2017: Oops, it's gone, faded away. No more bucketeers.

Bucket Lists are Stressful

It's true. If you keep your list with you all the time, don't you find it becoming more of a burden than an inspiration? Doesn't it give you the guilts that you are not getting these worthy things done? Are other people crowing that they are achieving their dreams while you are still sitting at the same desk you were a year ago when you made the list? Throw it in the back of a closet. Better still, burn that bugger!

Complete a Bucket List in a Day

20 Low-Cost Ideas for a One-Day Bucket List

  • Smile
  • Relax
  • Express appreciation for someone or some thing
  • Eat something delicious and really enjoy it
  • Walk
  • Nap
  • Do one chore – go on, you'll feel better for getting it done
  • Pet the cat/dog/kid/yourself
  • Write in your journal
  • Realize that right in this very moment you have all you need
  • Take ten deep breaths
  • Watch a movie – How about “The Bucket List”?
  • Put the radio on in the kitchen and dance to one song
  • Make a meal for someone you love
  • Take your shoes off
  • Have a drink of clear, icy water
  • Take part in the poll and leave me a comment
  • Find something funny to read - oh wait, you just did
  • Read another Hub
  • Write your bucket list.

Alternatives to Bucket Lists

Bucket lists are not all bad. We all have dreams, goals and visions. There are places we want to go and things we want to do. But, think about it – those things are always in your mind. You never need to write them down because they are so personal to you.

The premise behind the movie was that the characters had almost wasted their lives. This is utter rubbish. Doing the stuff we do, for ourselves and our families should never be seen as a sacrifice or a waste. Those are the things that matter, not some airy-fairy ideas on a list. If you have held a newborn baby, or held someone's hand as they died, you'll know that climbing a distant mountain is way down the list of important things in life. So way down, in fact, that it hardly figures. Sure if you get the chance to do these things, of course you must grab them, but really, in and of themselves, they are not in the least bit significant.

The best alternative to a bucket list, or what should be the one and only item on your list is 'live each moment to the full'. Think about this: the past is gone and only exists as a memory; the future never comes and only exists as a possibility in your mind. Therefore, the only time you can control is now. Are you making the best of your now?

© 2012 Bev G

Are you a bucket-lister?

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    • theraggededge profile image

      Bev G 20 months ago from Wales, UK

      Indeed, Robert, let's just do the things we can do and the rest will happen... or not. xxx

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 20 months ago

      I enjoyed reading this Hub. What you wrote is so true. For most people life has many disappointments. It doesn't seem to make sense making a large list of things you can be disappointed about.

    • theraggededge profile image

      Bev G 3 years ago from Wales, UK

      Hope you go somewhere wonderful, Wendy!

    • profile image

      Wendy 3 years ago

      Only one thing on my bucket list and always has been. Fly first class internationally. Plan to do it too!

    • theraggededge profile image

      Bev G 3 years ago from Wales, UK

      I think you are right, GEblondie - it's great to have a dream or a way-out goal, but it is very easy to overburden yourself with such a list and eventually make yourself feel inadequate. Best to work toward one genuine goal, step-by-step. Then go on to the next one.

    • profile image

      greeneyedblondie 3 years ago

      I feel some people do try to do overly expensive and amazing things on their bucket lists and have no plan to complete these so their list is more of a burden. Having things that you know you'll actually get to and will definitely have the money to do on the other hand isn't a bad idea at all.

    • theraggededge profile image

      Bev G 5 years ago from Wales, UK

      Of course, you can have a list on anything you want. This is simply a satirical take and my own opinion. I notice on your site that you say that Diabetes isn't curable... and it's true that Type l isn't. Type 2 is generally avoidable and can be cured/reversed/mitigated with a low carb diet. My hubby is living proof. Good luck in your quest.

    • profile image

      bucketlistfund 5 years ago

      Is it possible to have a list that is not to be self fulfilling???Can you attempt to make things better in the world by trying to help out other people? I had to put aside my bucket list (created because of Diabetes) and attempt to help out JDRF and No Child Left Hungry at I may be nuts, but I think there are people out there that can help others instead of themselves.

    • theraggededge profile image

      Bev G 5 years ago from Wales, UK

      Wow! Thanks Alicia. Yes, I like your 'one way or another' - sometimes we forget to allow ourselves to go 'off track and experience serendipity.

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      I've always had goals since I was a kid, but a bucket list doesn't appeal to me. Some things I know I can accomplish-it's just a matter of having a plan together. But you make a great point about people wanting to appear that they have a life by making one of these. I feel like if you live your life to the best of your ability, then most of your dreams, goals, or wishes will be fulfilled in one way or another. This an awesome and insightful hub- voted up and more!

    • theraggededge profile image

      Bev G 5 years ago from Wales, UK

      If you ask me, having clean underwear is a normal part of every day living. However, ask my 13 year old son the same question and it would definitely be a bucket list item :-) You know, something to dream about... one day, maybe.

      Your list sounds more like a 'Death: to-do list'... LOL!

      Thanks for your visit and welcome comment, WritingPrompts. x

    • WritingPrompts profile image

      Karen 5 years ago from The Garden of Eugene (Oregon)

      Does "always wear clean underwear" count as a bucket list item? That's the kind of thing that is on my unofficial bucket list... and cleaning out the closets... and backing up my hard drive. It's more about cleaning up the stuff I don't want those left behind to have to dig through for various reasons than living a fulfilling life myself. (I do like your shortlist though as a great suggestion for having a GOOD day.)

    • theraggededge profile image

      Bev G 5 years ago from Wales, UK

      Ah... you've hit the nail on the head... you can write it down, share it around but ultimately, unless you do those things, it doesn't mean a single thing. It's just words on paper - symbols of symbols. x

    • profile image

      di 5 years ago

      Hi, I love this hub. And I agree with you totally. WE need to "be" not "do". You have done a fantastic job writing this one, LOve it when someone thinks outside what everyone else thinks. We really can be like a bunch of sheep.....following the next person.................I believe fashion is the same thing. We try to wear what is "In". It certainly helps the fashion industry along, but does it really "mean" anything??

    • theraggededge profile image

      Bev G 5 years ago from Wales, UK

      Many thanks, Chrissie :-)

    • chrissieklinger profile image

      chrissieklinger 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Set goals in life and make a plan to achieve them. You don't need a "bucket list"-great and enjoyable hub!

    • theraggededge profile image

      Bev G 5 years ago from Wales, UK

      Thanks, Austinstar & Just Ask Susan, shopping, housework and Christmas lists are my limit!

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I make lists for everything but the one list I've never made is a bucket list.

    • Austinstar profile image

      Lela 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      Wow. I really loved the 20 Easy things to do right now!

    • theraggededge profile image

      Bev G 5 years ago from Wales, UK

      Ha ha :) Much more practical use of 'the list'.

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 5 years ago from USA

      I think the bucket list is for writing down interesting things - the things you want people to say at your funeral - "Did you know she rode in a hot air balloon over Europe with George Clooney for six months?" I think the premise of doing the things you want to do is a good one, but you're right, most people have a list just for the sake of having a list.

    • theraggededge profile image

      Bev G 5 years ago from Wales, UK

      That's it, B Lucy, why do we do these things to ourselves?!

    • B Lucy profile image

      B Lucy 5 years ago from Podunk, Virginia

      I most identified with the pressure and guilt involved with a bucket list. As if I don't feel bad enough about the bazzillion chores I haven't finished around the house, now I have to worry about checking off huge life goals. Whew!

    • theraggededge profile image

      Bev G 5 years ago from Wales, UK

      Thanks, wilderness. Yes, absolutely - it's the day-to-day, contact with loved ones and finding the good in each day/hour/moment that builds good memories and produces a happy life.

      Of course, there's nothing wrong with having goals and destinations - it's just the bucket list concept I have trouble with - the 'my list is better than yours... neh neh...' thing :-)

    • wilderness profile image

      Dan Harmon 5 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      As B Lucy says, this made me laugh, but there seems a serious undercurrent as well, and I agree with you.

      Were I to make a bucket list there would be only a few items on it. There are some places or things I would love to see (including the grand canyon :-) ), but mostly the list would be to share my life and love with my family.

    • theraggededge profile image

      Bev G 5 years ago from Wales, UK

      Thanks, B Lucy, I was lol-ling a bit as I wrote it :-)

    • B Lucy profile image

      B Lucy 5 years ago from Podunk, Virginia

      Love this! You made me literally LOL!! = )

    • theraggededge profile image

      Bev G 5 years ago from Wales, UK

      Hmm, well the idea of a bucket list is to start doing all those things while you are young enough to do them. As far as living life to the full regardless of the cost, did you read the story, above, of the couple from New Zealand who did exactly that? The point of the article is to live fully *right now*, not consign it to a list that you made just because everyone else has one, and may or may not get round to completing. I think we are in agreement :-)

    • thranax profile image

      Andrew 5 years ago from Rep Boston MA

      Well on the count im only 21, No. I don't have a bucket list because I don't plan on dying anytime soon. I will disagree with you though, I loved that movie and thought it conveyed good messages about living your life to the fullest regardless of your health, capabilities, and cost. Money is worth nothing to you when your dead and if you don't do what you want to to while you're here then what's the point of being alive at all?


    • theraggededge profile image

      Bev G 5 years ago from Wales, UK

      Thank you, pstraubie48. I agree, right now is precious, the future is way too wobbly to place any reliance on it.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 5 years ago from sunny Florida

      We need to embrace the moment as you stated. Although I do have a bucket list that is not written anywhere. There are things I would like to do sometime but I try to live today and not wait for some remote time in the future when I might be able to accomplish dreamed about wishes...Thoughtfully written...voted interesting and shared.

    • theraggededge profile image

      Bev G 5 years ago from Wales, UK

      Thanks! It was fun to write. :-)

    • Koshaugh profile image

      Kara Monterey 5 years ago from Indianapolis

      Awesome hub! I agree with you completely:) Vote up and shared!


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