Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Bucket list? What bucket list?

I stumbled upon an article recently entitled "It's Time to Kick the Bucket List."

Apparently there's been a "national epidemic of bucket-list neurosis" of which I've been entirely (and happily and thankfully) unaware.

"Bucket lists started out as something harmless and amusing before turning into a nightmare," notes the article. "Compiling a bucket list was once the perfect way to pass the dreamy days of summer vacation. Now it’s just another form of work." — to the point, apparently, of becoming a "clinical disorder." (To be fair, these days everything can be categorized as a "clinical disorder.")

Apparently suggested bucket lists can now be found online, growing increasingly frantic: "100 places to see before you die. No, make that 1,000 places. Fifty restaurants to eat in before you die — no, 200. The Top 111 Bucket List Ideas. 329 Great Bucket List Ideas. 15,378 Top-Quality Bucket List suggestions."

But — "A bucket list is supposed to be deeply personal, the product of much internal debate and intense self-searching. It’s not supposed to be just another dumb thing you found on the Internet."

I've never had a bucket list for life. While there are many things I'd love to be able to do, see, or experience, they don't burn a hole in my heart because I haven't had a chance to cross them off a list. But maybe that's because, in general, I'm content.

The writer of the article may agree. "They [the items on the bucket list] can seem like a consolation prize for not having a satisfactory life. If you are rapidly approaching the final curtain and you still have dozens of things pending on your bucket list, it raises the question of what you were doing all that time."

All that time. You mean, all of life? What have Don and I been doing "all that time"? Well, we've:

• Raised and educated two phenomenal kids.

• Created a homestead farm.

• Created a woodcraft business.

• Created a writing career.

• Watched a lot of beautiful sunsets.

• Created a home-centered life so we could enjoy the kids, the farm, the woodcraft business, the writing career, and the sunsets.

• Found (or re-found) our faith.

• Honed skills we already had and learned many new ones.

• Helped create a wonderful neighborhood community.

In total, our accomplishments might seem modest. We haven't gone bungee-jumping in Madagascar or swum with man-eating sharks in the Seychelles. But our accomplishments are satisfying, and give us — as we approach our senior years — a feeling of contentment. I find that hard to beat.

The whole bucket-list thing is an example of wallowing in envy — everyone's trying to demonstrate their life has meaning. You might say it's a bucket of envy: "If I don't finish these things before my life is over, then my life has been meaningless."

"Bucket lists often become obsessive, expensive, painful," concludes the article. "They create the impression that life is not so much something to be lived and enjoyed as a series of onerous obligations to be checked off."

Neither Don nor I have ever parasailed over a volcano, climbed the Pyramids, or even seen Yellowstone (that's criminal — it's practically in our backyard). (Actually, Don informs he visited Yellowstone when he was a young boy.) But we've raised kids, milked cows, built furniture, and enjoyed dinners with friends. Life is pretty durned sweet as a result.

In talking this over with Don, he said he only ever had one item on his bucket list, a prayer he’s had for years: "God, let me live long enough to see our children grow up to be strong, competent adults." That prayer has been answered.

As I recently told my Dad, Don's and my married life did not unfold in a conventional way (i.e. work an office jobs for 30 years while living in the suburbs, then retire) — but it's been a helluva ride and it's not over yet.

Nope, no bucket list, but that's okay.


  1. Good for you and Don and especially your two daughters. Life is given to us as a gift and every joy we have is a celebration and affirmation of God's love for us. That is the ultimate bucket list goal, to find God, love and be secure in the knowledge that we have done what our God set out for us to accomplish. I think you and Don made it! Good Job!!!!

  2. Too many people worry about too many of the wrong things. Without the Lord, all those things will ultimately be meaningless.

  3. I think the author has the right of it: a bucket list can become a compensatory thought of sorts for a life which is a series of compromises. I struggle with this to some extent as well: doing what I must at this point, the temptation is to allocate all of those items to the Neverland of someday. It is a struggle to keep what can be done today in view as a thing that can be just as valuable as those other items which (at least in the mind's eye) seem far more glorious.

  4. Well, I must confess, I do have a "bucket list." But, it is personal and meaningful to me. I have managed to cross a few things off of the list. So far, I have made it to a few special places in the state I now call home. I have learned how to ice dance. Since I work part-time at the ice rink, I have driven the Zamboni (that was a big one), and have had the privilege of watching beautiful sunrises and sunsets with the love of my life. I don't have many more things to "check off," what is left involves seeing my grandchildren graduate high school and other family things. It is pretty special list, one suited for me.

    If you have your own "bucket list" out there, be sure it is personal, meaningful, and doable. No bungee jumping here. No swimming with sharks either. However, a snowshoe hike in the mountains sounds good.

  5. Micah 6:8
    He has told you, O man, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
    but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God?

    It seems to me that bucket lists are collections of regrets.
    Live according to the verse above and the regrets will take care of themselves.

  6. The question is not 'Why?', but 'Why now?

    America abandoned God and His Word. We now have generations of greedy, self-centered narcissists. Life is all about them. Their bucket lists of orgasmic experiences are their exit strategy. I say, 'Go for it!' Today is the best its going to get.

    Dock Guy

  7. Why Miss Patrice, I am sure you have a lot of "bucket lists." I will grab that bucket to pick strawberries, that there bucket to hold the grain for one of the cows... 'grab me that little bucket over there for my stein stain would you honey?" See, a lot of bucket lists.

  8. hi rural revolutions,from the seychelles
    only the rich arabs and such come here to feed and distrub the natural habits of the sharks (to the great disbain of us locals)
    but more importantly

    But godliness with contentment is great gain.
    1 Timothy:6:6


    1. Holy cow, a reader in the Seychelles! Welcome!

      - Patrice

  9. We don't have a bucket list but we do have a list of goals. We are very happy in our lives. We have a strong marriage, 3 wonderful kids and an amazing God. I don't need to do what other people think I should do. Hubby and I would also like to get to Yellowstone.

  10. No bucket list is ever as exciting as holding a new grandbaby. I've done that 13 times. Having a bucket list has no meaning for me.

  11. Now I want to write down a bucket list. xD

  12. My wife and I are retired and travel by motorhome to interesting places. We like to hike, see wildlife and beautiful views. So we research new places. We often find them in bucket lists that people have posted. I now know of such interesting places to go to camp, hike, enjoy and be amazed at. So I enjoy other people's bucket lists. Perhaps most of it isn't what I want but some of it often is worth the effort of researching it. I have found so many places to hike and enjoy that I am tempted to share the "list" with others; which I assume is the purpose of bucket lists.

  13. Post Alley CrackpotAugust 8, 2018 at 3:00 PM

    Bucket lists are a symptom ...

    The root cause: not filling your life with things that have meaning.

    The symptom: when you've finally sorted out that you haven't done much that's meaningful, you think you can squeeze in a bunch of experiences BEFORE YOU DIE in some utterly predictable way.

    I prefer to steal fictional people's bucket lists and then invent wildly inaccurate stories about them for a living, but then again, isn't that what writers do?

    Nota bene for the readers: if you're at risk of becoming a character foil in any novelist's story, you're doing it wrong. :-)

  14. '...Everyone's trying to demonstrate their life has meaning. You might say it's a bucket of envy: "If I don't finish these things before my life is over, then my life has been meaningless."'

    I think that quote is the reason. People live meaningless lives. Wake, work, bed, repeat. They think their job/career is their whole life. Or they think their fun is their whole life. Or whatever.... But Christ gives OUR lives meaning, purpose, life, joy, peace, love....etc and so forth. So following hard after Him leaves us SATISFIED, content, joyful. We don't spend our lives wishing we had done x or y or z.....cause we spent our life knowing we were where HE wanted us, doing what HE CREATED US TO DO!

    There are crazy things we got to do....cause we followed where God led us. We've had fun. We've gotten to travel alot, but that's our bent....to travel....but while our early marriage was spent wandering the streets in Europe (dh was military), now we're happy as clams in tents in some state park....kids playing in a lake or pond or ocean....us chilling in our camping chairs with a book and a cup of coffee! There are places I'd still love to get to in Europe....but if not.....my life was still amazing, full of love, full of people, and mostly, full of God!

  15. I do think that's part of America's problem. Everyone is trying to BE someone. Listen... Most people are average. It's highly unlikely I will do something so amazing that it will be publicized on local TV much less national TV. Life has meaning because it's a gift. I was put here to do something only i can do. That might not be going to the Moon... But it might be being a stay at home mom. It might be to raise kids properly to know God. It might be that I'm supposed to say yes to God's plan for my life. I'm called to be a saint. We all are. But we each have a unique way God plans to get us there. A bucket list... Well who doesn't have dreams to go or do something? But to let it control your life and give your life meaning... Nah. I don't buy it. Did mother Theresa have a bucket list? I doubt it.

  16. As preppers, our bucket list is an inventory of what is under all of those gamma lids... (if I have to explain this...)

  17. yes
    patrice your readership is far and wide probably more than you imagine.


  18. I hear ya Patrice, the only thing on my bucket list is chicken, extra crispy...

  19. As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years,
    Or if due to strength, eighty years,
    Yet their pride is but labor and sorrow;
    For soon it is gone and we fly away ...
    So teach us to number our days,
    That we may present to You a heart of wisdom (Ps. 90:10,12)