Monday, February 15, 2010

Three Types of Bucket Lists

You know what a bucket list is, right? One of those lists you make of things you want to do before you die.

The thing is when you read about creating one or hear people talking about it. They often will put these 3 suggestions together as tips for creating one:
  1. Think of things you want to do before you die
  2. Think of things that you'd feel disappointed about if you died before you got to do them,  and
  3. Think of what you'd do if you were going to die tomorrow or soon
Well, I'm sorry. But to me these would lead to 3 entirely different types of lists. The first one feels plush with time. You can put all kinds of things there--see New Zealand, snorkle off the Great Barrier Reef. . . get to a healthy weight and stay there, wear a strapless dress someplace fancy, grow really tasty tomatoes.

And the 2nd leads me to think of dreams you have--potentials yet unclaimed--like publishing fiction or helping fat kids feel OK about themselves. It also makes me think of people I love and who I can't get enough of--helping my hubby meet his dreams. Spending more time with a favorite Aunt and Uncle. Learning to play the guitar so I could play with him. Regret that I didn't have more friends to spend time with and enjoy--laugh with, help out when they are busy or down, play games with, share in their kids' lives.

Lucky for me, I don't harbor resentments nor am I estranged from anyone so I don't need resolve issues like that. I am close to both my parents and my sister and my in-laws.

The 2nd list--feeling disappointed--also makes me think of more immediate plans I'd want to fllow through on--like my goal of going to Acadia & biking & canoeing. Seeing if I can get promoted at work. . .:)

But the third one's sense of urgency leads to a whole different kind of list. If I KNEW I was dying in a few days, I'd think to hell with the goal weight thing. I'd make myself the most decadently delicious hot fudge sundae loaded with all kinds of roasted nuts and homemade whipped cream and extra cherries. And then I'd think about the things that would give me comfort and intensify my feelings about life and living before I left it. I certainly wouldn't spend that time on a crowded airplane to go to New Zealand.

When  I think about that, I think of things like this to fit into a the limited time left: hold more babies, especially as they fall asleep and are sleeping, they feel so warm and soft against your chest and the rhythm of their breath is so soothing; play with more puppies, letting them romp around and climb on me and feeling their puppy bloated bellies; swim in more ponds or lakes--feeling the naturally heated and cool areas, looking up at trees, hearing birds sing; make love more with my husband, losing myself in the moment, focusing on our breathing, transcending to new level of connection; spending more time outside, feeling the breeze, hearing birds, smelling dirt and flowers, and waving at people as they come by to add a little smile to their day.

What about you?


  1. Agree with you about #3, if I were to die tomorrow, the last hing I would do is eat sensibly and work out :) If I only had a few days left it would be about spending time with loved ones and writing letters/making videos for the ones that I didn't get a chance to see.

    My one big bucket list item is to own a theatre and work with people I love and who inspire me.

  2. I love this post - great food for thought. I would definitely abandon weight loss measures. I could probably do a whole bucket list on what I'd eat under those circumstances! Oi vay...

    I know that I would absolutely submit a stack of writing I've been holding onto to a local newspaper. I've wanted to submit some articles with the hope of doing a column for them(it's a small town newspaper that needs SOMETHING other than ads and local gossip). I'd also get together with every person in my life I possibly could and tell them specifically how much and why I love them.

    I'll be thinking about this for awhile. Thanks for the thoughtful post.

  3. Your last paragraph is perfect. I agree with you on so many of those last items. Live and enjoy. I would immerse myself in great music, beautiful art, warmth of nature and the love of my family and friends. That's what life is about. Did I say lots of chocolate too?? :)


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