You can call it a Life List or a To Do List or a Must List or a Things to Do Before You Die List, but pretty much everyone knows what you mean if you just call it a Bucket List. So, it's a convenient shorthand even if you think, as I do, that the term is rather an eye-roller (I for one never think of death as "kicking the bucket").
Some people think making a list of things you want to do is a waste of time. Some people think it's self-indulgent fantasy (and for those lists that include things like "win the lottery" I'd agree). But David at Raptitude has a take on it that I can get behind.
I think that a Life List should be both categorized and malleable. There are hundreds of books I would like to read in my life but at this moment there are only a few I want to put on my "must" list. And ten years from now I might think "why did I ever want to read that?". So, I'll change the list. In fact, knowing me, I'd change the list pretty much every year. I'll start more simply.
Top Five Things I Want to Read (Literature) That Are Already On My Kindle:
- Shakespeare's Sonnets
- Don Quixote
- Idylls of the King
- Letters from the Earth
- The Federalist Papers
Then there's the category of "places to go." A lot of people seem to put faraway places on their must lists, and yet many of these people don't travel. Like, at all. Mr. P and I love to travel, but over the years going to faraway places has gotten less important. We have a lot of demands on our time and money, just like anybody, and the cost-benefit ratio has to be applied. Properly seeing Australia would cost as much in time and money as three separate Canadian vacations, for example. So again, my travel list is pretty simple. (This doesn't include in-state travel.)
Top Five Places I Want to Go Within the Next Ten Years:
- Vancouver (city), B.C. and the San Juan Islands
- Jackson National Park (Glacier Skywalk!) with Banff and Calgary, Alberta
- Road Trip from Montreal to Niagara Falls
- Florida Keys
- Coastal Oregon
Another common element of bucket lists is physical achievement. People might say, for example, "hike Kilimanjaro" or "climb Everest." Neither of those holds the least appeal for me. (If I were going to climb any mountain, it would be Fuji. But the odds are decidedly against.)
Since we're already involved in a sport, to me it would seem like cheating to put anything related to that sport on my list. I mean, we will either achieve our goal there or we won't, but we are (or will be again soon) actively working on it.
Top Five Physical Things I'd Like to Try:
- Horseback riding
- Tai chi
- Sailing, surfing, or ocean kayaking (I'll take any of these)
Top Five Physical Things I'd Like to Do Again & More Often:
- river rafting
- beach walking
- weight lifting
Another common category is the arts. Now, thanks to various life choices I have already had a lot of great artistic experiences. I've had work in an art show; I've appeared on stage in a featured role and as a backup dancer; I've worked as a dance extra in a feature and a short; I've had a piece of music performed; I've published three novels; I've sold my own created jewelry and artwork.
But since this is a highly rewarding category, it would be self-defeating to say "well I've already done all this, so whatever." I'm not going to list the stuff I'm already doing, or planning to do in the near future - again, that's kind of like cheating.
Top Five Artistic Endeavors I'd Like to Try, Do Again, or Do More Often:
- wood carving
- stone carving
One thing I'd like to point out about this very personal set of lists, which the alert reader will have already noticed: None of these things-to-do depends on anyone else.
These are all things that lie within my present powers; they are not reliant on a windfall, a statistically-improbable stroke of luck, or anyone else's input. To me, it just seems much more likely that I will follow through and achieve things that I know I can achieve.
I'm practical; I'm not a fantasist. That said, I would also get a kick out of one day seeing my play performed on stage. It's not a one-woman show, so, we'll see.