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Throw Away Your Bucket List Ideas Now!

Updated on August 29, 2017

Miami Beach On Many Bucket Lists

What's good about concentrating on what you've missed?
What's good about concentrating on what you've missed? | Source

So, What's With The Bucket List Thing?

Does it get tiresome hearing about this or that trinket, location or event someone's added to their bucket list ideas?

For me, it does. I love stories about my friends' great vacations and achievements. I get nothing from lists about lack that can never be completely checked off.

Bucket Lists Are Cringe-Worthy

  • First,"bucket list" is yanked out of a pretty grim euphemism - "kick the bucket," which is something a suicide does to hang himself or herself. That should be enough, all alone, but then, there's the rickety idea that your life has holes in it.
  • The ideas are all about things not done, places not seen. They can only make you feel like you've been missing out when you're already doing what you wanted to do instead, a self-defeating exercise.
  • Doesn't the advertising assaulting us everywhere offer enough reinforcement that our lives are lacking so much already, from fancy cars you need for freedom from everything except monthly payments to remedies for every symptom of anything the ad agencies figure out might worry us?
  • To those objections, I'll add my gut dislike for the pressure of memes, spread like wildfire across social media, especially the ones made viral by really bad movies with great stars like, say, Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson.

So, Where Does A Bucket List Come From?

Let's take this one objection at a time.

Having referred to dying as kicking the bucket (grimly) for as long as I can remember, it's hard to spin that baby positive.

Kicking the bucket meant hanging by kicking the bucket you were standing on out from under you or, if you were a bad guy, having the good guys kick it out to send you away to oblivion for your misdeeds.

Such victims do not generally have flowery lists of to-dos or walks on exotic beaches fueling their fantasies.

But Rob Reiner's dreadful movie with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson lamely tried to insert romantic fantasies into the minds of dying men, anyway. Even with three beautiful men of enormous talent, it could not be done.

I rest my case on this one.

Inspired By Madison Avenue Everywhere

Showing You Where The Holes Are That Need Buckets To Fill Them

And all the ideas in those buckets look an awful lot like the holes Madison Avenue is always telling us we have in our lives.

A simple one hour immersion in prime time television tells me that my truck isn’t tough enough, I don't have enough Testosterone, the smoking habit I do not have is killing me, my beer is not cold enough, and I need a better lawn mower for my apartment.

By the way, have you noticed that all those guys needing "T" to help with "taking action" have splashes of gray to go with trophy wives about twenty or so years younger? What is Madison Avenue saying here?

Long story short, subject to an endless barrage of advertising that tells us all those things we lack, we do not need to dream up more holes for ourselves.

No matter how long we live, there are beaches on which the sand will never squeeze itself between our toes. There are exotic cities we will never see and dream lovers we will never find.

I’ve walked beaches from the Amalfi coast to Coney Island, and I still don't understand why I might waste time hankering for the ones I haven’t gotten to yet.

We've ridden vaporettos through Venetian waterways and strained our legs climbing to the charms of Montmartre. If we never have fried rice in Shanghai, will it all have been in vain?

Any of us can get a thrill thinking about what we've added to our chest of treasured memories.

I have never once met anyone who did anything less than the her or his best in every situation. Do we need Madison Avenue or a bucket list to remind us we aren’t perfect?

Well, we really aren't, are we? How insufferable would we be, is we were?

Another Way - To Live Life at Its Fullest


You won't find a more uplifting movie anywhere. Sally Hawkins character is determined to be happy - now, not at some future date.

Live every day committed to happiness now, not wishes.


A Reverse Bucket List

Memes are habits, as likely good as bad, that run threads through the social fabric.

We find ourselves mistaking them for truths, just because.

The bucket list thing is a "just because."

Every time we add something to our personal bucket list (he wrote, struggling to get that awful image out of his head), we make note of a shortcoming in our lives. We haven't done enough or seen enough or met enough. A bullet point must be added.

My gut reaction is to make a reverse bucket emptying list.

Reverse Bucket List Ideas:

  • In my life I have been privileged to have three wonderful women agree to marry me. Two actually did. One stuck.
  • I earned over a million dollars in less than ten years and saved a lot of it. My wife and I have traveled all over the United States and much of Europe.
  • And to top that, we live in New York City, our favorite place in the world.
  • As a teenager, I wanted more than anything else to write novels. I now have three ready and waiting for you to enter your credit card information on Amazon.
  • I have beautiful cats that I get a kick out of sharing my life with every day.

Filling Up My Reverse Bucket List: Naples

A rich life has it's spots all full with life.
A rich life has it's spots all full with life. | Source

New York Times Reverse Bucket List

One more reason to hate bucket lists.

True to the spirit of newspapering that demands that, if you can't find enough negative news, you should make something up, the New York Times just sponsored a "reverse bucket list."

They asked readers to send in the one thing they never want to experience in New York.


Let's just say that along with the richest, most creative and best educated people, we also have our quota of the stupidest and dullest. Who has the time to think up horrors to add to such a list?

Oh, and just to reinforce their snarky creds, the Times included a link to a study written up in the always sturdy New York Post that shows that New York is America's unhappiest city.

Geniuses from Harvard, a university almost wholly responsible for the crisis in American business ethics, and the University of British Columbia, had nothing better to do with research dollars than to rig a study that gave them the headline they wanted for media recognition.

Never mind that the survey they culled (and tweaked) to get the result they wanted never asked about unhappiness, nor did they define the term. They and the New York Times got the negativity they were hoping for.

It keeps the presses rolling.

My Own Bucket List Ideas

What have you got to say?

Well, yes, I do need to say more.

It really is the age of taking action, according to the Viagra people, after all. And, really, everyone else has a bucket list. Why shouldn't I?

My bucket list may be challenging, but heck, I’ve got a couple of good decades still in me. I can do it.

So, here goes:

  • I want to know God better. Might as well start big. God's too big to know in the factual sense, but not too big too spiritually share.
  • I want to find new, creative ways to help others, including the animals I adore. Reducing the horror of homeless families would be a thrill as would increasing the awareness of people who vote and really run our countries.
  • I want to have more friends, one thing of which we can never have enough.
  • Staying happily married and helping my partner fulfill her dreams is a core mission. If you are not doing all you can for the primary person in your life, you need more than any bucket list can offer.
  • I want to see more live events, Broadway shows, concerts and even buskers. Appreciating the creativity of others fulfills a part of us we cannot be happy without.
  • Speaking of that, I want to see more art, lots of it, in galleries, museums and from freelancers out in the parks in summer.
  • I want to convince every one of you that the world is full of wonders that the avalanche of so-called news obscures every day.
  • Oh, and I want to write more poetry. Yes, I know almost nobody reads it and, for sure, nobody pays for it. I don't care. There are some things you cannot express any other way.
  • Finally, I want to watch the Buffalo Bills win a Super Bowl. As a rabid fan, I sat through those four straight losses and, in spite of my disappointment, still felt happy to have my team play so many extra games each year at a high level. But just one win, for me and my old friends in Buffalo, that would be nice.

So, there it is, my bucket list.

What have you got to say for yourself?

I did mention that I write books, didn't I?

Everything I've ever put between covers is on my my Amazon Author Page.

If you already have your credit card handy, here are shortcuts to my novels.

My Latest, Published This Year

The Messes I Made While You Were Waiting For Godot: The Autobiography of X, Book Three
The Messes I Made While You Were Waiting For Godot: The Autobiography of X, Book Three

Better off living with the messes than sitting around waiting for lightning to strike.


Let's Talk. Have You Committed A Bucket List?

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    • David Stone1 profile imageAUTHOR

      David Stone 

      15 months ago from New York City

      You've got that bucket in your hand, not a list but a collection of treasures. Sweet.

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 

      15 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      Love your suggestion of a reverse bucket list. I guess we could call it the grateful list. You've done well, and most importantly, you seem happy. I haven't committed to a bucket list; mostly I'm grateful to be around the people I love.

    • David Stone1 profile imageAUTHOR

      David Stone 

      4 years ago from New York City

      Thank you, Lori. That's something I hadn't thought of, the generational thing. We always talked about being in the flowing. We never thought we so far out of it we needed to keep a list telling us all we missed. (PS: you're your mother's daughter for sure.)

    • gottaloveit2 profile image


      4 years ago

      I too hate the 'bucket list' thing. It seems like society is more and more becoming a bunch of sheep that jump on the newest 'cool' thing. My Mom had never even heard of a 'bucket list' and she lived a pretty full, wonderful life.

      Well done, David, as always.

    • David Stone1 profile imageAUTHOR

      David Stone 

      4 years ago from New York City

      I'd have to believe in heaven and deadly sins to answer that one. So, I can't.

      Thank you for a lyrical, interesting comment.

    • David Stone1 profile imageAUTHOR

      David Stone 

      4 years ago from New York City

      You got it right, Paula. Live your life every day with passion and enthusiasm and, paraphrasing you father, don't go around looking for something to take the wind out of your sails.

    • fpherj48 profile image


      4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      David.....I never had the urge to create a Bucket List and don't believe I ever will. My life is as it's been and will continue to unfold without any desperate attempts on my part to live according to a check list.

      No strange desires for me....whatever that says about me. Don't need to sky dive, swim the English Channel, climb a mountain nor have dinner with George Clooney.....Oh OK.....if he asked I'd not refuse!

      I enjoyed this hub very much.....every word. Now you see, reading an interesting article by you was not noted on any list....and I did it anyway.

      Seriously, I have time and energy enough to do what comes the wise words of my late Dad,...."Don't go around lookin for trouble!!"....LOL...UP+++tweeted & pinned.

    • Adventuretravels profile image


      4 years ago from UK

      Buckets, spades, and sand castles in the air! I think bucket lists can breed dissatisfaction, but not as much as working all year with nothing to look forward to at the end of it though! And some people actually do the things that they put in their buckets. Making me fill mine with envy! Maybe heaven's not the place I'm heading for - isn't envy one of those pesky deadly sins? :/

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      No bucket list for me. We never know how long we're going to live, so I just coast along, enjoying the nice little things that happen each day.

    • David Stone1 profile imageAUTHOR

      David Stone 

      5 years ago from New York City

      @BowWowBear: Thank you very much for your thoughtful comment. (We all need editors sometimes!)

    • BowWowBear profile image


      5 years ago

      I pretty much run your way on this one. You might want to check your subtitle on the "Inspired by Madison Avenue..." module. I think "were" should be "where". (You don't have to print this comment. nice lens. Our honeymoon was our great adventure and we have fab memories and no regrets.

    • David Stone1 profile imageAUTHOR

      David Stone 

      5 years ago from New York City

      @Heather Grayson: Good idea, Heather.

    • David Stone1 profile imageAUTHOR

      David Stone 

      5 years ago from New York City

      @Sundaycoffee: Thanks. I like yours, too.

    • Heather Grayson profile image

      Heather Corbett 

      5 years ago

      Interesting lens! Maybe I'll start calling mine a life list instead.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Nope, and I don't intend to, either. To me, making a "bucket list" sounds like you're expecting to die soon. I have dreams and work towards making them come true - but no rush, one step at a time.I like your stance.

    • David Stone1 profile imageAUTHOR

      David Stone 

      5 years ago from New York City

      @Elyn MacInnis: Thank you. Stay fluid.

    • Elyn MacInnis profile image

      Elyn MacInnis 

      5 years ago from Shanghai, China

      No. No bucket list. I just have things I feel inspired to do, and they change frequently. I like what you have written here, and I agree!

    • David Stone1 profile imageAUTHOR

      David Stone 

      5 years ago from New York City

      @gottaloveit2: Thank you, Lori. You seem to be too busy living to have time for a bucket list. Cheers.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image


      5 years ago

      I'm also one who cringes at the word 'bucket list.' I don't care for anything that suddenly become 'in' like 'bucket list,' 'Bennifer,' etc. A wonderful article!

    • brittabucketlist profile image


      5 years ago

      Great lens! Thank you! I already have a bucket list :)

    • David Stone1 profile imageAUTHOR

      David Stone 

      5 years ago from New York City

      @HSP Connections: It's always now, right? Why defer to some point of lack, off in the future when you can always chose something interesting, right now?

    • Seasons Greetings profile image

      Laura Brown 

      5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I've never made a bucket list. I don't want that pressure to have a bigger to-do list. Besides, I'm not so eager to see the end of my life that I want to begin evaluating it now.

    • HSP Connections profile image

      Peter Messerschmidt 

      5 years ago from Port Townsend, WA, USA

      Nope. Never made a Bucket List. Are there things I would "like to do?" Sure... I'd like to spend six weeks traveling in Australia and New Zealand. But I've never thought of putting such things on a "formal list." For me, most experiences are best enjoyed "as the come along," rather than as "goals."

    • Susan Zutautas profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I've never had a bucket list but I've thought about starting one. The first item on the list is to go sky diving.

    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 

      5 years ago from La Verne, CA

      Huh, no. I do not have a passion, either. From modern culture, "Mikey likes it" and he is slurping cereal, or "just do it, suits me better, and so, the influences barrage us still. I can relate to your subject here.

    • David Stone1 profile imageAUTHOR

      David Stone 

      5 years ago from New York City

      @DebW07: Thanks, Deb. I'm glad you did.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Nope. Like you, the idea of a "bucket list" never sat well with me. That being said, are there things I'd like to do or achieve, sure. Those are goals, and I am content whether I do them or not. I really enjoyed this article.

    • JoanieMRuppel54 profile image

      Joanie Ruppel 

      5 years ago from Keller, Texas

      Sure do, have a lens that puts it out there, AND I have achieved many of my goals. I also think the name "bucket list" is playful and do not get very philosophical or hung up on tying it to where the words came from.

    • Glenda Motsavage profile image

      Glenda Motsavage 

      5 years ago from The Sunshine State

      Never had a bucket list, never watched the movies mentioned here, never bought the T-shirt...The only list in my house is the 'honey-do' list!

    • David Stone1 profile imageAUTHOR

      David Stone 

      5 years ago from New York City

      @EnthusiasmMadame: Get that lust for life fired up, Renda!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I do not refer to my list as a "bucket list". It's my "must live list". With that being said, some of the activities I have done more than once and some I will continue to do until my bucket tips over.

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 

      5 years ago from San Francisco

      Nope. Don't have one. Don't intend to. I'm with you on this, and the closest I came to watching that movie is being forced to hear parts of it while my sweetheart fell asleep to the TV and I played on Squidoo.I hope your wife gets used to you soon, seeing as how she's had 35 years to do it.

    • David Stone1 profile imageAUTHOR

      David Stone 

      5 years ago from New York City

      @BritFlorida: I'm with you, Pedantic.

    • BritFlorida profile image

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      Absolutely not. Call me pedantic ('hi there, pedantic') but bucket lists of 'things to do before you die' just infuriate me. It's true that no-one know what on earth (or elsewhere) happens when we die so I don't see how we can do things from our so called bucket list after we die. Besides, I was brought up by superstitious people. If I had 'skydiving' on a list of 'things to do before I die' then it might be the last thing I ever do. I like Barbara's comment below - I'd rather revel in the things I have done than make myself dissatisfied with life because of some daft wish-list.

    • David Stone1 profile imageAUTHOR

      David Stone 

      5 years ago from New York City

      @Brite-Ideas: I've started to believe that writing things down really counts, although it should have come to me earlier. As you point out, Barbara, making notes about the great things that have already been in your life burnishes your life experience in both directions.Thank you!

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 

      5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      A hope chest (remember those) I had one lol - A bucket list; an adult version of hope chest? except instead of stuffing a chest (so to speak) with mugs, plates and ornaments, we write down intangibles (mostly) - enjoyed your page David; I think you're right, no need for a list to remind us of all the things we may never do, when we've probably accomplished many more things in life anyway (we just need to write them down and call those our unwritten and fully completed bucket list items)

    • David Stone1 profile imageAUTHOR

      David Stone 

      5 years ago from New York City

      @jolou: Goals are different, I think, things we are going to do in time. Bucket lists, on the other hand, seem like dreams we're hoping for.

    • jolou profile image


      5 years ago

      No, I haven't. I'd rather call it my list of goals, instead of a bucket list.

    • David Stone1 profile imageAUTHOR

      David Stone 

      5 years ago from New York City

      @Margaret Schindel: Right. In the moment, Margaret. That's where all the punch is.Thank you.

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 

      5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Nope. I prefer choosing one adventure at a time, knowing that what sounds like a perfect adventure today might not be what "sings" to my husband and me in a few years.

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 

      5 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      No, not so far. I'll think of things now and then though.

    • David Stone1 profile imageAUTHOR

      David Stone 

      5 years ago from New York City

      @TJHousel: That probably made it easier, Tawnya.

    • TJHousel profile image


      5 years ago from NE Ohio

      I don't have a bucket list, but I did enjoy the movie with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson.


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