Merriam-Webster defines a bucket list as “a list of things that one has not done before but wants to do before dying”. The term bucket list comes from the phrase kick the bucket (meaning to die). Most of us think of a bucket list as something a person does when he or she is terminally ill. This is typically the case. When a physician tells his patient that his time is short, the patient’s eyes are opened to the reality of his impending death. The patient realizes he has but two options, “live while you are living, or die while you are living”. The patient has the choice of living life to his very last breath or spending the last moments of life in worry and regret. For those who chose to accept their death, a world of possibilities opens up. This realization gives rise to the bucket list. |
When the terminally ill write their bucket lists, it usually includes things that the person always thought he or she would have time for. Bucket lists usually include such things as touring the Grand Canyon, visiting Italy, or something similar to this. Some bucket lists can be quite extravagant or even outrageous. There are people who go sky diving, race car driving, and scuba diving. A bucket list has to take into account a person’s health and finances. For some people, a bucket list may simply consist of spending time with their family (some people have never done this). A bucket list is a personal matter. It can contain any items the writer sees worthy of his or her attention. Only the person writing the bucket list knows how his last days should be spent. No one can tell you what activities your bucket list should contain. This list comes from the heart.
The bucket list need not be something one writes upon learning of his or her imminent death. This list may be made at any point in one’s life time. It may even be compiled upon reaching one’s twentieth year. The bucket list is a kind of “to do” list. This could be seen as an enduring bucket list. There may be other names for this list, but enduring bucket list will do for this article.
Most people have a general idea of what they would like to do with their lives when they are young. This includes going to college, getting married, having children, buying a house, and so on. These are goals. Though these goals are somewhat different from a traditional bucket list, they constitute the things we would like to accomplish while we are in the world. We should not restrict the bucket list to a certain age or category. Anything we wish to accomplish in life should be part of the bucket list. If marriage is something you would like to experience before you die, then so be it. That is your choice.
I say that the bucket list is something we should write early in life for a couple of reasons. Writing gives our bucket list power. The written word is much more powerful than thoughts, and even the spoken word. When we write, we are giving intention to what we say. When we write down our thoughts, we are telling the world that we mean what we say. Universal laws give life to our words. By putting our thoughts in writing, we are ensuring that they will come to fruition; especially when we write with conviction. It can be no other way.
The other reason we should write our bucket list early in life is that we could die tomorrow, and some of our dreams may never be realized. We do not know when death will come for us. This is a fact. We act as if we will live into old age and with all the time in the world to do the things we want. When we stop to consider this unrealistic belief, we understand we are fooling ourselves. Therefore, it is vital that we decide what we want to do with our lives. Life will throw obstacles in our path, but there is no reason why we cannot remain firm in our resolve to accomplish the most important items in our bucket list. We also have the right to change or add to our bucket list.
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