Bucket List? What Bucket List?

Even though I’m a big fan of both Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson, I don’t have a bucket list.

This phrase pops up frequently in our modern society, and when I heard it the other day, it made me think.  For those of you who don’t know, a bucket list is a list of all of the things you hope to do before you die, and usually it’s a pretty grandiose list.  You know, stuff like skydiving and climbing Everest and getting an actual live person on your first try when you call customer service.

Anyway, like I said, this got me thinking.  I don’t have a bucket list.  Now, I have goals and dreams like anyone.  I want to build a house, and I have more dreams for my kids than I care to put down here in writing.  But those aren’t really “bucket list” things.  In fact, about the only thing that qualifies is my long-time desire to have Anthony Hopkins read a Robert Frost poem to me. (Don’t ask.)

We can spend so much of our time wishing for things that may or may not ever happen to us.  What if, instead of thinking of the things we haven’t done, we check off a list of the wonderful things we have done?  Here’s what I have so far:

  • I stood in the spot where Abraham Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address, and walked the path of Pickett’s Charge.
  • I watched twilight settle over New York City from the top of the Empire State Building.
  • I have seen and been inside the Statue of Liberty.
  • I have watched the sun rise over the rim of a dormant volcano……
  • …….and also watched it fall back into the Pacific.
  • I have stood on the deck of a boat in awe as whale song echoed over the audio system from underwater microphones.
  • I watched a humpback whale rise out of the water just a few yards from where I stood.
  • I watched as a country was torn apart by a terrible act of terrorism, and then watched as it pulled itself back together and united, stronger even than before.
  • I stood with the man of my dreams at the front of the church and started a wonderful journey that I hope never ends.
  • I lay on a ratty old second-hand couch in my living room and felt a baby–a baby!–move inside my body, where only a few short months ago there had been nothing.
  • Then,  I was there when two whole new people breathed the very first breaths of their lives.  (This was, of course, followed by the first spit up of their lives and the first poops of their lives.  But that’s okay.)
  • I have watched as these two new lives grew and learned and changed, and I will see them grow–too quickly–into adults.

It occurs to me that I could make this list go on forever.  There have been hard times in my life, but I can honestly say I can look back over an abundance of joyful experiences, and most of them have happened since I got married and had kids.  I don’t need a bucket list.  My life is busy, and hectic, and sometimes quite stressful, but it’s also a full life, and I am so glad to have it.  All of the items I can dream of for a bucket list are already crossed off.

Well, except for that Anthony Hopkins thing.

What about you?  Have you already lived your bucket list?


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25 Comments on "Bucket List? What Bucket List?"

  1. Rachel
    28/04/2012 at 12:32 am Permalink

    This is lovely. I like uplifting things. I’m a sentimental pessimist…if that’s possible. 🙂

  2. Janice
    28/04/2012 at 10:46 pm Permalink

    Of course it’s possible, because I’m one, too. I just consider my pessimism in the most positive light possible. I mean, if you’re a pessimist, and you’re wrong, you’re glad to be wrong! So it’s a good thing, right? Anyway, just because I tend to expect the worst doesn’t mean that I can’t appreciate the best.

  3. I like your idea much better than a bucket list. Much better to focus on all the wonderful experiences we are thankful to have had than a list of experiences we fear our lives are incomplete without.

  4. kristin @mondayswithmac
    01/05/2012 at 11:58 am Permalink

    That’s a really great list. I haven’t given a lot of thought to a bucket list. For a long time my singular, and obsessive, list read only “have baby.” I’ve done that now. And I’m content. Although I’d kinda like another. 😉

  5. Emily
    01/05/2012 at 4:42 pm Permalink

    I’m like you. I don’t really have a bucket list, but I do keep a list of the things I’ve done. I like to look back and see the adventures, big and small, that are threaded through my life.

    Great post!

  6. What an awesome post, to make yourself think of what you HAVE done rather than haven’t, should or must before you die.

    Great post.

  7. My Whac-A-Mole Life
    01/05/2012 at 7:45 pm Permalink

    What a fantastic concept. Well done!

  8. Mayor Gia
    01/05/2012 at 8:50 pm Permalink

    You’ve done some pretty impressive things! The bucket list thing is sadly appropriate today – with that baby with a bucket list passing. 🙁

  9. jamieywrites
    01/05/2012 at 10:38 pm Permalink

    That’s a great idea for bucket list. Great job 😉

  10. Kerstin
    01/05/2012 at 11:51 pm Permalink

    Wow, that’s a great way to look at it. And makes me way happier to think of all the places I have been and things I have done and seen, rather than pondering a fictional list!
    Great post!

  11. kgwaite
    02/05/2012 at 7:23 am Permalink

    Neat perspective – Let’s enjoy what we have and have done.

  12. christina
    02/05/2012 at 10:45 am Permalink

    i LOVE this and love your attitude.

  13. David Wiley
    02/05/2012 at 11:01 am Permalink

    This is an awesome idea. I think I might have to steal this and do something similar on my blog this weekend (crediting you, of course).

  14. Janice
    04/05/2012 at 10:59 am Permalink

    Hey, feel free. I hope it inspires everyone to do their own anti-bucket list!

  15. Something about the “term bucket list” has always made me cringe. They are so grandiose most of the time, that you know the authors think they are impossible. Hopin’ and a-wishin’ without action is, well, depressing. You list is the very opposite of depressing. Loving it and feeling inspired to count some blessings of my own! Ellen

  16. Louise Ducote
    02/05/2012 at 1:11 pm Permalink

    Great idea! It’s hard to think of making a bucket list when I’m wondering what I should make for dinner and struggling to get the laundry folded, but if I look back over all the things I’ve done in the past I feel much more peaceful and inspired; thank you.

  17. MamaMzungu
    02/05/2012 at 2:41 pm Permalink

    What a great way to look at things! Bucket lists totally stress me out because they are designed as much to set you up for failure as to drive you. And the whole thing focuses on what you’ve failed to achieve so far. I’m going to mentally make my accomplishment list right now! Thank you.

  18. Delilah
    02/05/2012 at 4:30 pm Permalink

    That’s a great list! I don’t have a bucket list either. I tried to make one years ago but could never figure out what to put on it.

  19. Julie
    02/05/2012 at 5:12 pm Permalink

    You’ve been busy! I’ve never, ever made a list of things I want to do before I die. I guess maybe because I’m just doing them!

  20. stephanie
    02/05/2012 at 7:36 pm Permalink

    Great idea. Absolutely we should celebrate what we’ve done and do every day. As John Lennon so famously said, Life is what happens when you’re busy making plans. I love your list. I think I’ll make one of my own.

  21. Katie @ Chicken Noodle Gravy
    02/05/2012 at 10:54 pm Permalink

    This post brought tears to my eyes. We sometimes lose sight of all the wonderful blessings in our lives as we pursue other, supposedly “greater” things. We miss all of the great things that are right in front of us. Thank you for that reminder.

  22. Michelle Longo
    03/05/2012 at 7:48 am Permalink

    This is a great list and a great idea!

  23. Megan Lawing
    03/05/2012 at 9:46 am Permalink

    You know, I have never had a bucket list either… although I do have, the same as you, certain dreams that our SOMEWHAT out of reach. Haha! It is nice to look at everything we have already accomplished and see what we have been blessed with already. 🙂

  24. deborah l quinn
    03/05/2012 at 2:27 pm Permalink

    I think the fact that you don’t have a “bucket list” (other that Anthony Hopkins thing, but hey, I’ve got a viggo mortensen thing that…no, i won’t go into that here – and I adore Frost’s poetry, so I totally get that) – but the fact that you don’t have a bucket list seems to me a sign of someone who is happily inhabiting her life, and is doing the “be here now” thing, which is key. Key and yet also HARD. So kudoes to you. Frost would approve, I think. Not sure about Tony. Viggo, absolutely. But you can’t have him.

  25. Kristin
    03/05/2012 at 4:26 pm Permalink

    Great idea to focus on what you’ve had – not what you wish for. I think a combination of the two is the best option. Great list!

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