The List

On a recent trip to Barnes & Noble, I found a “bargain book” I couldn’t resist. That happens whenever I step foot in the store which you can read about here.
The book is titled My Ultimate Bucket List. No author, just a list curated by an anonymous person or team at Piccadilly Inc. The book itemizes over 300 potential activities. It also gives space to record the date, location, a brief description of the experience, and whether or not you’d engage in that activity again.
I love lists. They help me feel organized, in control, ambitious, productive, and accomplished. And even though I didn’t have one, who hasn’t heard of a bucket list? (Actually nobody until the 2007 movie with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, but since then, it’s become part of our vocabulary.) So this little bargain seemed like a win-win and I bought it.
I’ve often thought about making a bucket list but always hesitated. It felt premature and like I was somehow courting my demise. And I was always uncomfortable with the thought of completing the list – what would that mean? That I should start considering my final arrangements? Better to look the other way and let the movie stars check off their lists with hilarity while I imagined decades stretching out in front of me before I’d even begin to think about making my own.
But a couple of things happened to change my mind.
First, my mother, a dear college friend, and three pets all passed within seven months. I’ve never felt the need to celebrate the beauty of life more than this particular time in my own.
Then I looked more carefully at my concept of a list. And I realized that a bucket list is really no different than a to-do list or a grocery list, and as I’ve already said, I’m a self-proclaimed list-lover. And in reality, there is no end to these lists. Even when I check everything off my grocery list, I come home and realize there’s something I forgot to write down, OR I run out of an item an hour later, and before you know it, there’s a “new” list that’s really just an extension of the old.
My to-do lists are simply chores I need to accomplish that day, or that week. As I cross things off, I often add to the bottom.
So really, these lists are flexible and never really completed. They only seem that way when we get to the bottom of the paper they’re written on.
So, yes. Maybe it was time to make my own list. Or at least look at the suggested activities as a way to stretch myself beyond the routines that often numb us to the beauty and opportunities in life. I know we’re supposed to find the beauty IN the routine, but sometimes it’s in the novel and unexpected that we feel most alive.
So I took a serious look at the suggestions in my little bargain book, and I contemplated others.
I realized while reviewing the suggestions, that I’ve already done many of the suggested activities that may appear on the bucket lists of other people. I’ve been to Hawaii, seen a Broadway play, gone on a cruise, learned to juggle, and took a life drawing class. I realized my life hasn’t been as uneventful as it sometimes seems.
Yet, there’s more I want to do. To see. To experience. I’m ready to share what is now my work-in-progress Bucket List.
But first, here are the things that are definitely NOT on the list. More than that, I fervently hope and pray I’m never in a situation in which I’m forced to engage in ANY of these activities, and can’t imagine why they’d be on anyone’s list in the first place.
My NEVER Bucket List:
1. Jump out of an airplane
2. Swim with sharks
3. Get on stage at a concert
4. Participate in the Polar Bear Plunge
5. Eat an insect, even if it’s covered in chocolate
6. Explore a shipwreck (under water)
7. Hang glide
8. Bungee jump
9. Hold a tarantula
10. Run with the bulls
There were more. This is just a sampling of not-in-my-lifetime.
Here’s the beginning of my official Bucket List:
1. Visit the Grand Canyon
2. Visit Cape Cod
3. Drive down the Pacific Coast Highway, stopping at sights and vineyards along the way
4. Design a family tree that traces my lineage
5. Go white water rafting
6. Ride on an elephant
7. Write and publish a book
8. Shower under a waterfall
9. Skinny dip in a lake
10. Read 52 books in a year
11. Write a blog post that gets 10,000 views
12. Spend a week in Florence and visit The David everyday
13. Walk the red carpet at an event
14. Dye my hair a different color, even for a day
15. Attend an Olympic event
16. Hold a small monkey
So that’s it. Now I have a Bucket List. Already I feel excitement at the prospect of having these experiences. And maybe that’s the point of having a Bucket List; it gives us something to look forward to, work toward, hope for.
We recently came back from spending three days in Lake George earlier this month. I thought I might return with one item checked off my list, however there were too many children around. Maybe next year.

Do you have a bucket list? Why or why not? Do you think having one helps us live life more fully?

  • Mo
    September 5, 2016

    Skinny dip in the Atlantic Ocean. Check.

    • Jo-Ann
      September 5, 2016

      Oooohhh I’m so jealous!!! Good for you! Hope to join the skinny dip club one day!

  • Tom
    September 26, 2016

    I can’t believe I missed this originally! On ‘The List’ is white water rafting. I’m sure you forgot but around Easter time my wife’s cousin and friend shared some wonderful pictures of their WW rafting trip. I was going to investigate and discuss with you folks. He can suggest all different types of trips from beginner to expert. Sorry I dropped the ball on this…. Interested? Perhaps next summer?

    • Jo-Ann
      September 26, 2016

      Absolutely interested! I’m excited to actually go AND to be able to cross something off my list! Thanks for reading Tom!

  • Tom
    September 27, 2016

    Excellent – I will work on this!

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