Life and Inspiration

Kicking The Bucket List!

Bucket List: Item 3

Perhaps the term ‘bucket list’ was coined after the comedy-drama  of the same name, in which two terminally ill men go on a trip together to do all the things they wanted to do before they died (i.e. kicked the bucket).  I enjoyed the movie thoroughly.  If nothing else, Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman sharing the stage is enough to get me to watch it several times over, if I can. If you haven’t seen it, do. It’s funny and wise at the same time.  But this post is not about the movie.

It’s about the whole notion of having a bucket list. I remember the first time a friend of mine showed me hers, over 20 odd years ago. It had over a hundred things she wanted to do before she died. One I distinctly remember was learning to ride a horse. I was quite fascinated by her list, but never quite motivated to make one myself. Since then, I’ve read several people sharing their bucket-lists which include travel to remote corners of the earth, adventurous activities like sky-diving, and perhaps making a movie or two. There’s even a website to record all your wishes. All great dreams and I’m not finding fault with any of them.

However, what I found most interesting was watching a TEDx lecture by Kathleen Taylor, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor called “Rethinking the Bucket List”.  Kathleen works at a hospice and is involved with counseling the dying. She speaks of how people who are aware that death is imminent, are no longer distracted by the mundane stuff of life, but seem to focus on being honest with themselves.  They start to become more open, intimate and honest. They reach out to others to find and give forgiveness and to express love. According to her at the end of their lives people are incapable of bull shit.

I begin to wonder why can’t I live this way all the time – I don’t need to postpone being authentic or getting truly intimate until I’m dying. What if I lived my life as if death was imminent?

Do you have a bucket list?

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An inspirational writer, a creativity and writing trainer/coach, I write about life, gratitude, healing, wellness, relationships at Everyday Gyaan. I offer training/coaching to anyone looking to explore their creativity and heal through writing via The Frangipani Creative, located in Secunderabad, India. You can also find me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for my weekly newsletter, Bytes of Gyaan, on Substack.

46 Comments on “Kicking The Bucket List!

  1. Nice thoughts Corinne. I was reminded of this quote by Mahatma Gandhi: “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

  2. That’s a wise thought, indeed. My granddad who was one of the wisest people I have ever known always believed in this philosophy. He always said that one never knows when they are going to die, so you might as well do the best today-now. Even if you die the next day/next moment, you’d know that you did the best you could.

    I never had a bucket list, though I’ve a few of my friends keep it too. I’m just too lazy to keep thinking what i wanna do. I just wanna do things as and when they come to me. 🙂

  3. Surprisingly even I don’t have a bucket list. But somewhere deep down I always enjoy listening to others’ It gives me immense happiness to know that people take death as an eventuality not being scared of it. At the same time if I was to ask why I don’t have one for me, I would say because I have no idea what I would write in that. It would be endless…

  4. The Bucket List is in my bucket list of movies to watch ~ 😀 The truth is, I didn’t list them, I use a VB ~ project visions and dreams but along the way, there are a lot if surprises happening around 😉

    I’ve worked in a hospice in my early twenties and have been involved much with the dying in HD but it’s the insecurity of ever coming back home alive that makes me want to be a better person everyday. I’d still love to see my mom, my nieces and friends and enjoy their company… and most of all, I still need to be ‘in love’ BS ahahaha!

    Thanks for sharing this, but I’m still in the process of redesigning my VB after the Purpose Driven Life sessions 🙂 Lots of love ~ we’re journeying together towards authenticity 😀

    1. Melissa – I think a vision board is completely something else. It’s more about your being and the doing that follows, if that makes sense! Somehow, to me at least, a bucket list is just a list.
      Thank you for sharing about your hospice experience. I can see how that would be life-changing. Isn’t it strange that seeing death so much, you actually want to live a richer life? I think that’s wonderful.
      Journeying with you is always exciting, my dearest sis.

  5. Hi, Corinne! ~

    Ever since that movie came out I’ve noticed a lot of people asking, “What’s on YOUR bucket list?” As if having a bucket list is the new ticket to a fulfilled life. I don’t believe in having a bucket list because I’m living my life to the fullest EVERY SINGLE DAY! I also agree with you that authenticity is a truer ticket to a fulfilled life than accumulating a list of accomplishments of any other kind. Keep up the great work, Love! XOXOX

  6. Yes, I have a bucket list, but they are no longer distant goals. My bucket lists are daily lists that I feel happy to check off at the end of the day, and I go to sleep with a smile on my face.

    My Grandmother always said “if we’re alive tomorrow” (loosely translated) whenever we talked about the next day’s program and of course we believed in the don’t-put-off-for-tomorrow-what-you-can-do-today – right now, in fact.

    I remember writing a post about this very “bucket list” back in 2011 with reference to the movie. 🙂 I like the idea of lists. When I was younger, I enjoyed yearly goals. But now, I prefer very short-term ones. I like to say my i-love-yous on a daily basis.

    I love how you ended the post, Corinne!

  7. The only thing on my bucket list in the past was to quit working as early as possible so that I need not postpone anything as some remote to-be-done thing – in other words, i wanted to be free to do things as and when the idea struck me rather than open a bucket list and note them down. Thankfully, I managed that one thing and now I live the life that I want to live and do the things that I want to do instead of postponing all of them to a never-never future time 🙂

  8. I’m afraid I haven’t been particularly goal-oriented in terms of setting up a formal bucket list – what I have is more like vague, wistful hopes! But the notion of living life as if death was imminent is intriguing.

    1. I’ve got another post coming about goals, Laurel and would love your views on it when it’s done. I hope the idea of living as if death was imminent didn’t come of as being a morbid one, because it’s not what I meant! 🙂

  9. Corinne, exactly!! When I came to the point where you write, “They start to become more open, intimate and honest…”, that’s the thought that came to my mind – that this is not something that should be in a bucket list – it is something that should be second nature to us.

    I made my own bucket list for 2013 (not the one on my blog), but another one I made in 2012… I stumbled on it today while packing and unpacking my stuff. I would really call this a sweet coincidence that you should mention it today, I was happy to see that out of the 10 or 12 things I wanted to do, I could strike off three to four of them.

  10. Hi Corinne – I think there are a few experiences I’d like to have in my life which probably should make up my bucket list – traveling to Israel for example is one. But I haven’t formalized it or written it down.

    I’m with you – how about living life daily like it is our last day? That’s probably more empowering than any bucket list and is also a gift we get to give to those people around us:) Instead of gifts just to ourselves, let’s live authentically and be a gift for all 🙂

  11. You know…I know longer have a list. it’s kind of ironic that I had created a list when I found out I had stage II breast cancer. I literally wrote down everything I was afraid of not being able to do before I died. Every time I revisit that list, I always have to write a note at the bottom that brings everyone up to date. While I have still not seen the Aurua Borealis or island hopped through Greece, I have done so much more. I capitalize on crimes of opportunity. I’ve been to Spain (not on my list) and I’ve seen a bear at Yosemite National Park, also not on my list. Life is AMAZING and meant to be lived fully. I don’t need a bucket list anymore. I have a LIVEIT List 🙂

    Peggy (from UBC)

  12. Hi Corinne

    I loved the movie and we can all use a good laugh. I don’t have a bucket list and wouldn’t have a clue of what to put on one. Besides is that not kind of final? When you are done with your list then you die?

    I did jokingly say the other day with the two broken bones (never happened before) that it was not on my bucket list, which got a good laugh.

    Bucket lists are what the owner of the list wants and I think life fulfillment is more about what we can do for others.

    Interesting subject.


  13. I’ve thought quite a bit about this subject, thinking I should have a bucket list, but I don’t really have one. There are things I want to do – like grow a huge garden – but nothing very exotic. Maybe that means I’m content as is…

  14. Several times over the years since the movie was released I have been prompted to created a bucket list for a writing prompt. While I have done so with tongue in cheek, I know that when it comes right down to it I would want to tie up loose ends like you described before I made my exit. My Dad did before he died…and in her own way my mom did too. My mom knew her death was near so she lived each day as if it were here last doing things like attending Notre Dame football games like she had always wanted too. Realistically I will never do all the things on my bucket list but I hope when I do leave my husband and kids will know how much I cherished them.


  15. I have a bucket list phobia. I believe that if I make a bucket list, those dreams will never become reality. So no bucket lists for me. 🙂

  16. Great food for thought there; to live life as if death were imminent. I consider myself to be an open and honest person who abhors BS and yes, I DO have a bucket list! (Loved the movie :-D) The biggest item on it, (since childhood), will be accomplished next month – visiting Greece Can’t wait! On the same journey, will be ticking off another item: going back to my birthplace in Germany for the first time since 1972. Probably won’t get to everything on the list before actually “kicking the bucket”, but that’s okay. Greece was the number one item and trumps all the rest. 😉

  17. Lovely post. I don’t have a bucket list as such, I do have a list of 100 things I would like to do this year, because sometimes I forget to do the small little things like having a bubble bath, or having friends over for dinner. Although I was recently told by a doctor who was giving a motivational speech, that you don’t want to put your happiness of until tomorrow, because you may not be in a position to enjoy it. So as a family we are saving up for a big holiday next year.

  18. “What if I lived my life as if death was imminent”…a very poignant and stirring thought, Corinne!!
    I too loved the movie.

  19. The movie was fantastic. I do have a sort of bucket list that keeps changing often 🙂 The reason I believe thoughts become clearer when a person knows that he/she is about to die is because they let go of petty feelings and insecurities. They know they don’t have much time.

    We live in a dream world where we think life is endless, as death is still far away. This stops us from breaking down the walls that we build around us.

  20. Yup, I agree Corrine. Why make plans. We gotta live each moment of our life cause planning does not always work….

    Also, who knows for how long we will live thus, go with the flow!

  21. I Do actually have a bucket list, Corinne. It’s more to remind me of what I am working towards but I do try and actually accomplish something on it regularly. This year friends of mine are going to bike the entire Cape Cod Rail Trail with my husband and I. (something I should’ve done 20 years ago!).
    But I totally agree we need to remember to live authentically all the time.
    I find myself saying “no” to what doesn’t add to my life more regularly now and enjoying “the moment” whether it is just observing or as a participant.
    There’s a somewhat rearranged quote on my bathroom wall, “I’d rather live my life saying I’m glad I did that I wish I had” and seeing it everyday reminds me of what I need to do to make that so.
    Loved the post.

  22. What an awesome post Corinne! I have been meaning to make a bucket list forever but life got in way. Thanks for this kick in the bucket. 🙂 Off to make mine now!

  23. Hi Corinne,

    I don’t have a bucket list but my friend told me about the movie and I definitely want to see it at some point!

    The question you asked at the end your post was very interesting. Why is it that it takes something like the prospect of dying to really dispel the ego? I think one reason could be that while we are living and well, we know deep down we won’t be here for ever, yet we forget this, which then causes us to create fear and separation from all those around us.

    Thank you.

  24. Hey Corinne,

    I do have a bucket list, and I am expanding it daily (although I haven’t added anything new in a while). I just got one though, horse riding 😀

    I will take a look at the site you provided! Thanks 😀 I keep all my lists in Evernote.

    I think having a bucket list can help – to realize how short life is and to enjoy life even more.

    Anyways, thanks for the post! By the way, Corinne, how are you? Hope everything is fine 🙂 I haven’t been blogging for almost an year now, and it is certainly good to see that my friends are still active in blogosphere 😀

  25. No – can’t stand the whole concept of bucket lists!!!! The term annoys me and when I hear people use it I cringe. Last year, I overheard a woman in a waiting room saying that she had ‘delivering a baby’ on her ‘bucket list’. Ok, so that means you are hoping to be around someone who is in such a critical emergency situation that YOU, an ordinary person, are the only help around and YOU get to deliver this poor baby.

    For people with realistic things on their list I say just get on and do it! Stop talking about it and, very quietly, with no fuss Do. It. That’s all. 😉

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