14 June 2011

Do you have a bucket list?

NOT so long ago, bucket lists were all the rage with people of all ages. By "all the rage" I mean topic of conversation. Circa 2007 who wasn't discussing bucket lists with their nearest and dearest? 

I know of one girl who spent relentless hours researching must dos, must sees and bucket lists in order to compile her own. She researched at home, at work, and by speaking to family, friends and strangers. She even dusted off her primary school diaries to see if there were any ideas of substance hidden within. She complied 26 things and decided she would complete them all by the end of the year. By December, she had completed half, but was happy enough with the outcome. That was three years ago and as you may have guessed, that girl was me.

For those who are unawares, a bucket list is traditionally a list of things you wish to do or see before you kick the bucket (die). However people often tweak the concept to suit their needs eg. travel bucket list or my one year bucket list. 

Compiling a bucket list is very inspiring. Completing some of the activities on the list unfortunately are not. The problem with bucket lists is that sometimes the items on the list just aren't as feasible as hoped, or aren't anywhere near as empowering, special, awe inspiring, or fun as expected. For example, gambling in Vegas is sadly no better than gambling in Brisbane - it still hurts to lose it all on red. Learning another language is fruitless when foreign locals reply to your question in English, not the language you painstakingly studied. And I'm told visiting the Eiffel Tower is sadly unromantic for many, due to being harassed by beggars, waiting hours for entry (because you didn't prebook) and being surrounded by hoards of other tourists when you FINALLY get to the upper levels. 

The worst possible outcome of writing a bucket list is the possibility that you may become upset about all the things you have wanted to do since forever and sadly still have not. 

So what if you haven't traveled yet, or written that novel, or rode a horse, or volunteered? You are not dead yet. And therein lies one of the greatest joys of the bucket list - realizing it is not too late and giving your life some (or some more) direction.

The best thing about a bucket list though is that even if you complete just one item on the list, haven't you won? If you hadn't done the list in the first place there is the chance you may not have finally got your butt into gear and given it a go. Or, while compiling your list, you might uncover a deep seated dream or desire you didn't even realize you had, which may in turn push your life into a whole new direction.

Worst case scenario, in writing a bucket list you get to dream, and who doesn't love to dream? I think it's time I try to compile a new one so I'm off to start thinking. Dreaming. Wishing. Hoping. Praying, even. 

What are your thoughts on compiling a "bucket list"?

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