The Bucket List

Joon shared Wednesday this week that she’s currently reading ‘The Immortalist’ (copy bought the day before). The synopsis is ‘If you were told the date of your death, how would it shape your present?’  How co-incidental as I had been drafting this piece for several days. We usually tease each other that we have ESP, and can influence the other person. I think married partners like to think that through ‘nightly osmosis on the bed’, a  partner gets that sub-conscious power over the other. Sounds like a possible Black Mirror episode!  😊

From, a bucket list is defined as “a list of things a person wants to achieve or experience, as before reaching a certain age or dying”. It reached broad awareness when Hollywood released the 2007 movie, ‘The Bucket List’, starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, a story about two terminally ill men on a road trip with their list of to-dos before their time is up.

This notion of a bucket list seems to be an American cultural phenomenon. People in other parts of the world, don’t think or write down a definite list of things to do, experience or achieve before they are ready to depart planet Earth. That doesn’t mean these people do not have wish lists, just not a definite bucket list that once scratched off, they are ready to kick the bucket. Rather, their lists continue to be made periodically, updated, revised. Perhaps it’s also in their heads, not on paper or on smartphones to be whipped out to be shared.

I do see the benefits in making a bucket list. It channels and gives voice to one’s hopes, dreams, aspirations, ‘holes to-be-filled’. Boiling it all down to, how do I want to live and experience life in the (unknown) time span I have left. The most blunt and direct phrase that I came across about mortality is this – ‘Every day, we are walking nearer and nearer towards our own grave/tombstone’. A hopeful and positive take for Christians, is this – At the end of each day, you can tell yourself, ‘I am one step closer to heaven.’

So, how does one start a bucket list?

  1. A pencil + eraser + blank paper (or a PC/tablet + word/note pad software).
  2. A quiet setting, infused with whatever helps an individual (sunshine, background music, scents, birds singing, etc.)
  3. Brainstorming a list of Categories. Mine are Relationships, Legacies, Travel, Experiences, Celebrations, Charity, Spiritual.
  4. Finalizing list of Categories and fleshing out specifics under each Category.
  5. Dialog with one’s life partner.
  6. After some time, loop back to steps 2 – 6, and update/revise.

I feel good about the above approach.

But just as different people have different favorite meals, here are some other approaches that may work in place of steps #3 and #4.

  • Ask yourself, if you had truly un-corked a Genie who will grant you 3 wishes, what would that be? Push hard as if it’s only 3 wishes. Before the Genie smiles, and say, you have another 3 more final wishes.
  • Imagine the end of a perfect day, when you felt the happiest you ever have felt. Your happiness overflows from deep within. You can’t help yourself, you sing, you skip, you dance. Feel the emotions. How did that perfect day unfold? Rinse and repeat.
  • Imagine you have a giant blank scrapbook in front of you. You will be creating and describing your happiest moments, that you want to leave behind and share with future generations. You have all the tools and creative dexterity needed. How would these pages be filled?
  • Let your own creative genius guide you. You know yourself.

I will read The Immortalists in due course and aim to change/fine tune my list. My Bucket List is too personal to share in this blog. Not unless you offer to make some come true!   😊

And finally – Perhaps, perhaps this exercise of drawing up one’s Bucket List, may result in the following practice. After waking up each morning, we start the day with a deep thankfulness for another day of vibrant life. We spend a minute or two, visualizing the key moments and emotions that we desire to color the day’s blank canvas with. Perhaps a kiss, a hug, a laugh, a reach out, a heart-felt connection, letting the inner child out. Carpe Diem.



Author: Ben & Joon

Residents in the great Pacific North West. Living life as it happens, learning our purpose and trail blazing our own paths. Namaste.

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