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Bucket Lists: It’s a Wonderful Life

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Sky diving, travelling the world and hiking naked. What do these three things have in common? They are bucket-list item. Although most people have heard of a bucket list, it does not weigh heavily on the minds of most.

The term bucket list basically means a list of things you want to do before you kick the bucket. It was popularized in 2007 by the movie The Bucket List starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. The film directed by Rob Reiner follows two terminally ill men who take off from the hospital on a road trip, to check off as many items on their bucket lists as possible.

The concept of a bucket list is a relatively new concept that we are, honestly very lucky to have. Previous generations did not have the time to think about a list of things that they wanted to do before they died. Life was focused on working to build a better life for themselves and their families. But in this day and age, life is so filled with opportunity to strive for more than survival.

According to a survey, 68.75% of people have a bucket list. The participants in my survey reported having between 7 and a never-ending list of items on their bucket list. Most people have not completed all of the items on their bucket list. Some people started building their bucket list at the young age of 7 while others have yet to begin. The majority of people think they will complete all of the items on their bucket list.

Although the term bucket list is new to us, the concept has been around for a while.

John Goddard is could be seen as one of the original “life-listers”. He lived from 1924 to 2013, dedicating his days to his life list. At the young age of fifteen Goddard sat down and wrote down a list of 127 things that he wanted to experience or achieve in his life time, including circumnavigating the globe, milk a poisonous snake and visit the great wall of China. He successfully accomplished 109 of these tasks. He did not let fear hold him back, stating once “to dare is to do …to fear is to fail”

If a life like Goddard’s isn’t for you, there are still plenty of reasons to create a bucket list. It will give you a way of remembering your goals, as a survey participant said “It helps you document your dreams”. A list of cool things that you want to do “gives you things to hope for and makes the future seem brighter”, a future without anything to look forward too may seem bleak, but filling it with goals and ambitions can really brighten it up. Thinking about goals for your life is a good way to get creative. A bucket list “Helps us live life to the fullest” according to a survey. Aside from helping you live a more enjoyable life, it helps keep track of peak experiences, It is a collective of ones highest ambitions”. A bucket list can help make life more meaningful. “It’s important to set goals for yourself and to give yourself a purpose”. And finally setting goals is a great way to motivate yourself.

Starting a bucket list may seem like a very daunting task, but there are definitely patterns in terms of what sort of items top bucket lists. For the most part, items tend to divide into three main categories; adventure, creativity, and lifestyle.

Adventure would have to be the most popular item category, with items such as “Go to every continent”, “skydiving”, and “volunteer on a sea Sheppard” appearing on lists. The second most common category is creativity, including items such as “write a novel”, “be in a movie” and “write/draw something I’m proud of”. The final category, lifestyle, is composed of more day to day items such as “fall in love”, “achieve happiness” and “be a good father”

There are a surprising number of ways to track your bucket list. Back in Goddard’s day, it was as simple as writing a list on a piece of paper, keeping it somewhere safe and then checking off items as you finished them. But thanks to the technology of the twenty-first century, there are now socials media sights dedicated to tracking your bucket list, and comparing it to that of others. I am talking about one sight in particular; bucketlist.org. This sight allows you to create an account or log in using Facebook, and set goals, get tips, get inspiration and see how many others have achieved their goals. As of December 15th bucketlist.org has 305’707 members, tracking 3’919’474 goals, such as “go ghost hunting” and “visit Petra, Jordan”

Another neat sight related to the creation of bucket lists is bucketlist.net, not to be confused with bucketlist.org. This website is dedicated more to the execution of , and helping with bucket lists. The sites motto being “Together we can fulfill each other’s dreams”. The site asks you “what’s your dream” and then prompts you to follow four steps. Step 1: make a list. step 2: get help. Step 3: fulfill your dreams. Step 4: pay-it-forward. Until beginning this article I was unaware of the existence of this website, but it seems like a great idea.

And so, although having a bucket list can be very beneficial, one must be careful not to let a bucket list consume a life. Life should be about living, not checking items off of a list. The list should serve as a prompt to live, not a mission.

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