my bucket list

Joe Queenan mercilessly mocked the idea of a bucket list this week, noting  a friend had recently confided that seeing a Gretchen Wilson concert was at the top of his bucket list.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Be able to have breakfast with both my sisters, somewhere past the rancor that divides us.  Every list should include a miracle or two.
  4. 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.)
  5. 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?

8 thoughts on “my bucket list”

      1. I thought so, too. I have yet to fulfill a lot of things on my Bucket List, and it seems to grow every couple of years or so, but that is something I really want to experience.

  1. As a bit of back story, I was born with severe defects in my knees, and the repairs done when I was a teenager left me with severe arthritis since my 20s. My list is short, but I have accomplished one so far.

    1) Complete a century bike ride – check! My surgeon told me to go for it, and kept me injected with cortisone and an injectable lubricant so I could train and complete the ride. I was slow and unpolished but I did it!

    2) Complete a “14er” with my daughter. 14ers are mountains above 14 thousand feet, in Colorado, where my daughter lives.

    3) Visit the Hagia Sophia. Hopefully the political climate will improve, rather than deteriorate, and I’ll be able to go fairly safely.

    4) Realize my second career calling – documenting photographically people whose lives I find interesting, such as the plains people in Colorado and communities in rural Michigan.

  2. I also have a bucket list! I started making it when I turned 18 and finalized it with 20 items when I turned 20. My goal it to do one of the things every year, but I haven’t gotten one done yet this year. I love reading your blog.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s