Don't Make a Bucket List
How Did This Bucket List Thing Start?
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?
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.
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.
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
- Express appreciation for someone or some thing
- Eat something delicious and really enjoy it
- 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