Bucket list: a list of things to do before you die. If you spend any time reading through travel blogs, you will find that many writers have a “bucket list” post or even category. A list of dream destinations they want to visit, or an adventurous activity they would like to do. Something amazing they would like to see before they, you know, kick the bucket. My friends, I don’t have a bucket list.
Fun fact: One of the theories on the origin of the saying “kick the bucket” refers to someone in a noose, standing on a bucket, which they kick out from under their feet to commit suicide. Sorry, morbid fact.
Whenever I would read someone’s bucket list, something about it would make me feel weird inside. Uncomfortable. Like in a cringy way. Like it is just any empty list of dreams that we both know you won’t get to cross everything off. Or even make the effort for most of the items. Who are you even trying to fool?
Here are a few reasons why I don’t have a bucket list
1.A bucket list is simply a wish list
I don’t think a bucket list is any kind of concrete plan. It’s a list of dreams. It’s not the same as making goals and steps to reach those goals, such as saving and logistics.
Maybe deep down you know it’s not possible to see all 100 things on your list. Then, I can’t see the purpose of setting unrealistic dreams for yourself that will only make you feel bad for not “getting around to them.” You will always see travel bloggers saying “my bucket list keeps getting longer and longer, hahaha, lolz.”
2. It’s an excuse to not make plans
If your bucket list is just a list of dreams, then you probably won’t make much effort to actually do anything. Most things on someone’s bucket list are usually big/expensive/time consuming/scary/challenging things, like visiting Macchu Picchu or swimming with hammer head sharks. It’s much easier to keep these things on an unattainable list and continue to dream about them. But what’s the point? Maybe it’s better if you don’t have a bucket list.
3. You might be disappointed with your experience
Let’s say you made it to the Colosseum, but you were disappointed there is a McDonald’s right beside it. You went to Iceland to see the Northern Lights, but they just didn’t happen. You saw the Pyramids, but they’ve been so overhyped they didn’t impress you. (I don’t think this is possible, by the way.) You tried to climb a mountain, but the weather was bad and you had to turn around.
I think having things on your bucket list sets them to too high expectations. You will be disappointed that this huge thing you had been looking forward to for so long turned out to be a failure to some degree. Because travel doesn’t always go the way we want it to.
4. I don’t have a bucket list because I don’t want to regret it if I can’t finish everything on the list
What if you make it to the end of your long life, and you haven’t done most of the things on your bucket list? You didn’t “get around to everything,” or you didn’t “check everything off.”cBecause life is one big check list, right? (BTW, in other contexts, I’m a huge fan of lists.)cAnd if you didn’t get anything… you’re a failure?
You will regret that you weren’t able to do everything. I won’t say accomplish, because as I’ve said, they aren’t real goals. But you will probably find yourself saying, “I wish I saw the Taj Mahal,” or “I wish I went zip lining through the Amazon.” See? Wish list.
5. What happens if you do cross everything off?
If, by some chance, you do everything on your wish list, I mean bucket list, then what? Forget about it? It’s over, so does that mean you can die now? Or do you make a new list and start again? But that would put you back in the position of potential disappointment and future regret. Are you starting to see why I don’t have a bucket list?
Ok, Jennifer. Thanks for the soul-crushing post. But then do you have a better idea? Don’t you want to see all the things and do all the stuff?
You’re welcome. I don’t know if I have a better idea, but a bucket list is not for me. And yes, I want to see things and do stuff. Duh.
If I read anyone’s bucket list, I probably want to do most of those things too. I want to see the Australian Outback. Go on an African safari. Learn how to SCUBA dive. I want to to stuff my face with chocolate in Switzerland. And on and on. A want list. But I still don’t have a bucket list.
If you really want to go somewhere or see something, then actually make a plan to do it. Don’t sit in front of your laptop dreaming about it. Figure out the cost, time, etc, and start saving and planning. Make it happen. This will force you to chose something from you wish list. You will have to make one item a priority and go for it.
Life lesson by Jennifer: instead of dreaming about a million different impossibilities, make one REAL possibility. (I take credit for this quote.)
Also, I think the best experiences and fondest memories happen by accident.
Climbing Mt. Fuji five years was a spontaneous decision. The weather was good, and we decided two days before. It turned out to be an unforgettable experience. When I went to India, I didn’t know I would be hiking in the Himalayas for three days, almost eaten by snow leopards and nearly dying of hypothermia. I didn’t go to Chile planning to go sand boarding or horseback riding in the desert. But both of those things happened.
Of course a trip requires some planning as well as some dreaming. I just don’t think you should let the dream part take over while the planning and doing part gets forgotten. Plan something when the time is right, then let the adventures happen when they happen, and make the most of them when they do.
Now, back to the title of this post. I do kind of, sort, have a little, tiny bit of a bucket list. While I hesitate to call it a bucket list, there’s only one thing on it.
I don’t have a bucket list, but I want to have a summer birthday.
My birthday is in January, and in Canada it was always cold and often snowy. This means I can only do things indoors, or outdoors with lots of winter clothes on. It’s the same in Japan. I’ve never been in the southern hemisphere or a warm country in January.
I want to have a birthday where I can wear summer clothes. I want to feel the sun on my skin. Have a barbecue. I want to play outside. Go to the beach. Play in the water. Go to the park. Biking, hiking, whatever. Eat ice cream. Eat popsicles.
Now, this is something I could easily make happen now. It’s easy to fly from Japan to a country in southeast Asia. And my birthday is after the holiday season, so it might even be semi-cheap. Also, I don’t have any real obligations that are keeping me in Japan. So I’m well aware that I could it. I could have done it by now
What’s stopping me? Don’t know. I guess I’m not super worried about it. I keep making excuses to put if off. Afraid to be disappointed. I don’t want to spend my birthday away from my husband. What happens when it’s over? See? It’s already fallen into the bucket list trap.
Therefore, I don’t want to consider it a bucket list item. It’s just “a thing I want to do someday.” Like a lot of other things, but Anyway, I’m not sure how to wrap this all up. So I guess that’s enough rambling for now.
I hope you understand why I don’t have a bucket list, and maybe I’ve made you consider your “bucket list.” Or maybe not. That’s fine. You do you. Let me know your opinion on bucket lists in the comment section!
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