A couple of weeks ago, during a writing warm-up in the beginning of class, my students and I got to talking about “Bucket Lists.” You know—the list you make of everything you’d like to accomplish before you die.
Now, as I have said before the Bucket List idea seems a little morbid to me, (I like the idea of a Leap List) but I understand the appeal. It’s a good way to think ahead, write down all your dreams—even the crazy ones, especially the crazy ones—and have something to strive for.
Anyway, my students went around the room sharing their ideas. Then, it was my turn. Or at least it seemed like my turn since they all turned to me expectantly. I wasn’t prepared. I had no list.
“Well, travel more. Definitely travel is on my list.”
They all stared at me waiting for the big reveal. The wow-my-professor-is-so-inspiring-reveal.
Except I didn’t have one. I mean I knew I must have one, but put on the spot like that, I couldn’t think of one. So I did what I do best. I awkwardly transitioned to our lesson of the day. The students seemed disappointed. I was disappointed.
But the moment stayed with me. And today as I thought about it more I ended up googling about bucket lists. What am I missing? What is that I still need to do? Seeing the headline, “100 Things to do before you die” sounded morbid and pressing.
I figured I was on the right track.
The site lists all one hundred things with a little check box next to each one. It asks you to check off the ones you’ve done already and it will calculate your results. Always up for a lighthearted challenge I went ahead.
Some on the list that I checked off? “Spend New Year’s Eve in an exotic location.” Miami and London count as exotic in my book. “Ride a camel into the desert.” Well, I rode one in a desert so that works. “Be a member of an audience in a TV show.” Family Feud, Mad TV and Conan O’Brien. “Make your own website.” Well, here I am. 🙂
I thought I was doing well, clicking away, living life to the fullest!
31. Pretty discouraging, I thought. The message I received was encouraging, though.
“You’re well on your way in your life. Keep going!”
When I went back and looked at the list, I realized that maybe I wasn’t doing so badly. After all, there are things on that list that I just don’t plan on ever doing like: “Take a ride on the highest roller coaster in the country.” I’m a scaredy cat. “Sing a great song in front of an audience.” Not unless I plan on making an audience run for their lives. “Let someone feed you peeled, seedless grapes.” Well, that one is negotiable. Someone might be able to twist my arm on that.
Anyway, I do think there’s something important about thinking ahead, making the most of each day, planning the things we’ve always dreamed about. Maybe your list looks somewhat like the one I just described or maybe your list only has five things on it.
It doesn’t matter. Just be sure to “keep going,” to keep reaching for a dream, the wilder, the better.
And when you’re done? Be sure to check it off.