The other day I was looking at a box that once contained beer. Printed on the outside was an invocation to enjoy your ‘Corona Bucket List’ which probably involved drinking the Mexican brew somewhere exotic. I’m unlikely to do that but it did get me thinking about the phenomenon of bucket lists.
The jury is out on when the term was coined but the general consensus is that it was, indeed, first used and popularised by the 2007 film of the same name. A list of things you want to do before you ‘kick the bucket’ is the premise. But what does the presence, or not, of a bucket list mean?
So, what are bucket lists for? Do they keep us moving forward? Perhaps they give structure to our planning. Do they guide decisions or provide topics for conversation? Are they a list of things to look forward to, something to hope for, or chronicles of exciting dreams? Are they a focus for financial saving or a great source of birthday present ideas? Are they inspiration for joyfully using up the inheritance money, a final, delightful fling? Do they serve to keep us young? And can a strongly-held and un-completed bucket list lead to disappointment in the world, oneself, resources available?
Are goals and bucket list items the same thing? I’m not convinced they are. Goals, perhaps, grow out of existing pursuits. Bucket list items, perhaps, are more discrete – certainly the image of a catalogue of one-off experience is the classic version.
I don’t think I have a bucket list. I used to have things I wanted to do – run a marathon (definitely missed my moment of enthusiasm there), walk the Camino de Santiago (not quite so keen now), go back to New Zealand or the UK (not, much to my very good fortune, new experiences). I haven’t got a hankering to jump out of a plane or try rock-climbing – although I don’t want to suggest that a bucket list needs to be a litany of adventure activities. Far from it. Maybe my bucket list consists of reaching a ripe, old age before I die!
A bucket list. What’s on yours? What are the steps you need to take to cross some of those off? Or maybe your direction and progress comes from other drivers. Interesting thinking.
One thought on “Bucket lists”
my answer is: IDK
and also, I’m still even beginning to discuss how to summarize the immensity of list and lists in my life: to myself ~ I’m not even one bit lucid to bring such thoughts into focus, let alone figure out how to express,
but back to the question, and my i don’t know anser …
that’s the classic reply on high school papers, IDK, from students in existential crisis at the very thought of future, of finite, but I dont think I’m in that state ~ I’m just confused about the whole “before I die bucket list” idea. Seems everything from my first breathe to now, would be the crossed off already things? And, then what’s happening right now must be on the list whether I put it there consciously or not, and then, well, it get’s muddled by the endless possibilities and I find myself disconnected, aloof, not really even understanding properly
what I do know is this: at one low point in my little life, one of my grown kids asked me how old do I PLAN to live to be, at least, at minimum? Now that seems a more intriguing questions to begin to answer, in literal and metaphorical metrics, and it’s one I’m far more content to chip away at:
I quickly ascertained that most people, if asked, after their initial bluster, seem to pick a numerical figure based on their parents or grandparents, or closest next of kin, who most recently deceased & simply go with their age then, plus or minus a few years. The pattern, in answers, emerges quite rapidly and simply: if those a fore mentioned people died “a good quick death” then add a few years for good measure, if not, if they lingered in some state of unfortunate-ness, in a purgatory-on-earth like fashion, then simply deduct some years and call that good. Interesting but that usual method to figure it out is just not me, so,
well, just for the record, I’m choosing neither method, I’m currently going with somewhere in the range of 137 – 154 years ~ and don’t even pretend you’re not curious about my rationale
so, I wonder onward and think about thinking about why my thinking is so darn averse to buckets and lists, even thought I’ve plenty of both, with and without holes, and it may well burn down to the binary choice simplification of it all: on the list, off the list, done, not done, doable, not doable, which is a common cultural premise of answering most anything, which seems not just lazy and inept at best, but such a gross over simplification of things that it’s delusional: then, then I think, eeek, maybe these are thoughts a little uneasy to share because, well, bucket lists so seem to be a thing
but then again, not fitting with the thing that’s the thing, seems to be a considerable portion of this thing I am
and that’s ok, and it has been kinda fun to waffle out an answer to the questions with not a care about the clock, or what’s for dinner, or if the car registration will be paid online, covid-style, in time not to expire, or if the sunflower’s petals outside are drying up enough to drop off, as the seeds develop and swell so much that the head was drooping the whole stem down, just now before I came inside, reminding me of the precarious balance and gravity of absolutely everything, including to pause, to remember to ask you, did you know Kirsten, that your questions are such an essence of your writing, and they are really rather fantastic, an art unto itself?
so maybe there is one thing in common on our theoretical bucket list, and that’s figuring out how good questions come into being, without getting hung up on the word “good”, and with loving the process