Queenan thought his friend should aim higher. I agree. He also thought the bucket list has become a middle age craze when it should in fact be the result of mature reflection.
He says a 35 year old lacks “the moral authority to compile a bona fide bucket list, you need to be as decrepit as Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, the ornery old coots who bust out of the cancer ward in “The Bucket List.”
He may be onto something. Just head over to the bucket list website where mostly young people make really long lists of things they want to do and then check them off when they accomplish them. Lots of these people aren’t even 25.
Things to do on one of the featured lists yesterday include no longer biting ones finger nails, learning to drive and wearing a bikini. This same person has already gone to the prom, however. Clearly a life well lived.
The ten things she has accomplished (out of 46) include bleaching her hair and dressing up as Jo Calderone for Halloween. That’s Lady Gaga’s fictional male alter-ego, if you aren’t keeping up.
Another girl (why are they all girls?) has already “seen a sunset.” I have a son who hasn’t seen a sunset in a while, but I hope his aspirations are higher.
Queenan is right. A bucket list should be amazing or challenging things, like playing cards with the Pope or roller skating blindfolded on the Great Wall of China. A few things which require courage or imagination is better than a bland and inconsequential list.
I found that many of the things young people wanted to do were things I had already done, just by living almost 60 years. I’ve already kissed the Blarney Stone, for example, and it wasn’t that cool. I’ve seen several sunsets, and all of them were.
The truth is, you probably have to be old or sick to comprise a proper bucket list, and I’m neither. (Age is relative, I know. But Katie and I have taken care of old people and we are not old.)
Even though I’m hardly qualified, however, I’ll take a stab at this. Note there are a score of things I’d like to do with Katie and for Katie. And many things I’d like to do with my kids and grandkids.
I won’t include them here. This is my own meager, emerging list. I wish I could write it in Spanish.
- Write a decent English sonnet, using only words that are derived from Anglo-Saxon. I realize I won’t have to leave my study, but the mind can be an exciting destination.
- Vote for a presidential candidate I both believe and respect. I realize this is unlikely, and certainly won’t happen this year. But a man can dream.
- Be able to have breakfast with both my sisters, somewhere past the rancor that divides us. Every list should include a miracle or two.
- Drive a bus in China. Few people experience as much raw, unrefined power or require as much courage as driving a bus in a place where they seems to be no rules. (I only want to do it for five minutes. Such things can go to your head.)
- Help repair the broken shell of higher education today. I’m no Humpty-Dumpty, but there has to be better (and cheaper) ways to challenge and stretch the minds of young people who want to dress up as Jo Calderone.
It’s a short list, I know.
But I’m still young.
So what’s on your list, regardless of your age?