Couple of weeks ago I had a quite interesting conversation with a girl I met in a bus when I was on my way to Karlstejn Castle near Prague. She was from New York, just graduated from Medical studies and wanted to spend a year around the world before going back home to “real life”, she said that it was a part of her “Bucket list”, and that word kicked off a long conversation that kept me busy during the 2 hours bus ride without my music player and my book, both left at my hotel (How stupid am I right?)
Anyway, going back to the bucket list, I’m pretty sure all of you guys know about it. It’s the name of some movie with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman (that I’ve never been dying to see by the way), it’s also a term for a list of things you want to do before you die (or you know, kick the bucket!). Bucket Lists are actually very popular and the lists usually include a bunch of awesome but unrelated things to do like swim with the dolphins, become a bestselling novelist or that lady I read about who even robbed a bank because it was “on her bucket list.” True story.
I actually tried to make one few years back. I opened an empty word file (okay “an empty word file” is not story material but saying “I took a pen and a piece of paper” wouldn’t sound that realistic either so just keep reading) and started making a list of places I want to go to and the first place was Ireland, because It was the year “PS.I love you” came out and it seemed to be a gorgeous place (and because I secretly wished I would meet an Irish Jeffrey Dean Morgan look alike..If you’re judging me while reading this you obviously don’t know who that is and you need to google him!). I added few more places, and then I couldn’t move forward with my travel “Bucket list”.
Today when I think about it, I know that I don’t need a bucket list for “places to visit before I die” because there’s something about the term “bucket list” that I don’t like. It’s the fact that the word seems to imply that in order to do the things you actually want to do with your life, you have to be scared of your eventual death. Too creepy for me. Also, we have enough To-Do lists in our lives don’t you think? (And let’s face it, after all a bucket list is still a fancy To-Do list). Don’t get me wrong, to do lists are helpful but too stressful and I definitely don’t need one more. Especially one that covers the fun part of my life!
Another reason why I don’t believe in bucket lists is that we human are professional procrastinators, starting with myself. I can totally see myself waking up one day at 80 years old and going: “Damn! I still have to go swim with dolphins in Hawaii because it was on my bucket list!” Putting something in the middle of a long list of things relegates it into the deadly “someday” pile, if I REALLY want to do something, I’ll just do it, list or no.
In my case, a bucket list would be totally useless as I am a kind of fickle. In primary school I wanted to be a journalist, in middle and high school I wanted to be a doctor (mainly because of Doug Ross), now I do market research and I want to find a way to make a living by travelling (I’m still looking for a way don’t tell my boss). My point is if I were to make a list now, it would look nothing like the list I would make 5 years from now. So why bother?
There are actually a lot of things that I think would be fun to do. I would love to take the orient express, visit Alcatraz or take a road trip in Scotland, but if I don’t do those things will my life somehow feel incomplete? I don’t think so, at least not if I’m doing something else that I enjoy instead. My aspiration is more general: I want to have the most memorable experiences possible, the specifics are just details.
I’m not saying lists are a waste of time; you should do what works for you. I know that life is short and people should make the most of it but for me the key is not to make a list; the key is to find the motivation to actually go out and DO.
PS: I still haven’t been to Ireland, and it’s not going to be a priority anytime soon 🙂
Cheers to the places we will go to!