I don’t recall when I first heard the term Bucket List. I know it was many years ago. Every now and then I think about it; the idea of creating a list of things to do before I kick the bucket. (By the way, I hate that term for death.) I’ve made lists of goals; things to achieve, things to do, stuff to get, but those seem different than a bucket list.
The thoughts of a bucket list reentered my mind after seeing the movie “The Bucket List.” It arrived from Netflix the other day, and we watched it over the weekend. It evoked many thoughts within me, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to blog about it. I’ve tossed the idea around for a few days, and had pretty much decided to try to write about something else, and then I got the galactic go-ahead from a bit of synchronicity. This morning when I was looking through my RSS feeds, on a blog I just subscribed to last week, I found a post on 40 Fun Ideas for Your Autumn Bucket List. Well, if that’s my sign then I’ll take the hint.
A Serious List
I have always taken the idea of a bucket list seriously. It seems to me that if I am to create a list of things to do before I die, then I should darn well try to get them all done. That makes this little list of goals really high on the scale of importance. I suppose the seriousness of a list like this is part of reason I have avoided making a list.
A Bucket List Made Easy
In the movie “The Bucket List,” they had one very important thing going for them. Money was no object. Let me summarize briefly in case you haven’t seen the movie. Two old guys realize their time among the living is limited. They meet in a hospital and after sharing a room together for some time, they get to know each other. One starts writing a bucket list, and then dismisses the idea of ever being able to accomplish the things on his list. The other guy is super wealthy, and he jumps at the thought of doing things on the bucket list. They proceed to go on an adventure, traveling the world to cross off items on their shared bucket list, and of course they learn some life lessons along the way.
Here is the bucket list from the movie
- Witness something truly majestic
- Help a complete stranger for the good
- Laugh till I cry
- Drive a Shelby Mustang
- Kiss the most beautiful girl in the world
- Get a tattoo
- Visit Stonehenge
- Spend a week at the Louvre
- See Rome
- Dinner at La Chevre d’Or
- See the Pyramids
- Get back in touch (previously “Hunt the big cat,” added after being earlier added and crossed off)
- Visit the Taj Mahal
- Hong Kong
- Victoria Falls
- Go on a safari
- Drive a motorcycle on the Great Wall of China
- Sit on the Great Egyptian Pyramids
- Find the Joy in your life
My first thought very early in the movie was this, “Of course if money is no object, it’s easy to do things on a bucket list.” Many items on a bucket list are pretty epic, and might require a lot of money to accomplish. Things like traveling to the far reaches of the Earth, driving expensive cars, eating fine food, and experiencing unique adventures are often very expensive, and difficult for the average middle (or even high) income earner to afford. Even if the money were there, we also have to deal with time away from work and getting enough vacation time banked for some of these adventures.
Do It Anyway
As I was considering all this, I had a thought that if these items on the bucket list were so important, than we would find ways to do them regardless of our financial situation. It seems to me that if I’m to make a list of things to do before I die, I should really make an effort to do all these things.
If I’m going to make that list, and make the effort to do them, then money shouldn’t stand in the way. Think about it. Say you want to travel to some far off place. Is there a way to make that happen? Of course there is. There is always a way, especially in this world of global connectivity.
I’m still toying with the idea of creating my own bucket list, but if I were to make one, one thing that would be on it is to visit the Taj Mahal. There is something of beauty in the vastness of white that has always appealed to me, and I’d like to see it in person. To get to India I’d be looking at $4500 in airfare alone for our family of three. If it’s truly a bucket list item, then finding a way to get there is a no brainer; whether that means paying the fees or finding another way to get there.
If a bucket list item is a must do, then surely I could find a way to get there. Of course it’s possible for almost anyone to save up that money, the real question is, “Is this how you would spend the money if you had it?” There are opportunity costs involved with flying to India to see the Taj Mahal. Maybe I’d rather have a new TV or some cool stuff for my Jeep. Maybe I’d rather do some upgrades around the house. Maybe I’d rather travel to another destination. Depending where you live, this one trip is likely equivalent to several house payments.
But this is a bucket list item. It’s a MUST-DO before you die. If that’s really the case, then I’d save the money and I’d spend it on this trip. What if someone couldn’t save the money, what then? Get a second or third job? Sure, this is a bucket list item, and the cost of time lost to a job might be worth it.
I also thought of some other alternatives. Things like getting a job for the airlines, so you can get discounted travel. Maybe getting a job on a ship that travels to the places you want to go. You might be able to find someone to pay your way. Perhaps working for a travel magazine or volunteering with an international organization. These things would involve major life changes, but it seems like a bucket list item would be worth it.
It’s quite possible that I’m taking the whole bucket list idea too seriously. I like to achieve the goals I set. A bucket list, to me, seems like the ultimate list of goals; and as an ultimate list of goals it becomes pretty important.
Now or Never
Here’s an interesting tidbit. Kick the bucket doesn’t translate well into many other languages. The title of the movie was commonly translated to a phrase that means “Now or Never.” That seems to fit well for this very same list. A bucket list shouldn’t be filled with things you hope to do “someday.” It should be filled with things that will do, beginning now.
If you want to start your own bucket list, here are a few of my recommendations.
- Choose action items. Things to do are ultimately more rewarding than possessions to have.
- Pick things that you will be able to achieve. Going to the moon wouldn’t make a good bucket list item, but traveling to Antarctica might.
- Choose items that you are willing to sacrifice for. That trip to Antarctica might be expensive, are you willing to save, earn, or barter your way there?
- Consider including some items that you can do in your own home town. Things like learning to dance, learn to play an instrument, or take a martial arts class.
If you need help getting ideas for a bucket list, you might check out this post on 525+ Bucket List Ideas. If you really like the idea of creating a bucket list and want to expand it into a Life List, then I recommend this eBook: How To Live Your Best Life (affiliate link.) It’s only $14.95 and is full of great activities and tips for creating a Life List.
I am starting my own bucket list. I’m keeping it very small for now, and adding things that I really, really want to do. I won’t be sharing my list as I feel that a bucket list, in addition to being an ultimate list of goals, is also very personal and private.
One more interesting tidbit. Of the list of items from the movie “The Bucket List,” I have completed two of the items. I have laughed until I cried. I’ve done this on several occasions with my wife, laughing so hard that tears were flying and stomach muscles were aching. A good laugh like that is definitely something to be experienced in life. I’ve also kissed the most beautiful girl in the world. In fact I’ve kissed the two most beautiful girls in the world; my wife and my daughter.
Do you have a bucket list? Are you willing to share any of the items from your list? Have you completed any of the bucket list items from the movie “The Bucket List?”
Reminder to my blogging friends: This months Personal Development Campfire topic is Change, and posts should go live on your blogs on September 15. Click here for more info on participating in the Personal Development Campfire.