Whether you write it in fine calligraphy and laminate it, scribble it on the back of a bill you’ve never paid, tack it on as an amendment to a never-ending New Year’s resolution list, or just keep it all “upstairs,” we all have some version of a bucket list. We started making these lists as kids, when the end of the world could come as soon as some boy circled “no” on the do-you-like-me note you passed him, the future was only as far off as the end of the school year, and our “must do” list consisted of Babysitter’s Club books we wanted to read and backpacks we wanted to save up for.
I recently found a few notebooks from grade school that contained some unfortunate handwriting along with a hilarious version of my 1990 list dramatically entitled, “Stuff I Gotta Do Before I Die.” My bucket list has evolved considerably since the days of “memorize the lyrics to ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’” and “visit Disneyland Paris,” but my flair for the drama never ceased – the moment I cross off one item I immediately must add another, because the second I have an empty bucket list I’m afraid I just might kick it.
Flash forward to 2011. Aside from a few crossed-out accomplishments (live in Paris, run a marathon, ski the Alps, watch Citizen Kane without falling asleep), my bucket list has remained relatively un-tweaked for the better part of a decade. As my list slowly dwindles without decent replacement “to dos,” I become fearful that my lack of diligent list upkeep will be my undoing.
I first started to get a little nervous when I finally attended a U2 concert in 2009 and felt I should immediately update my list but was too busy updating my Facebook page with “Mysterious Ways” lyrics. Then a few weekends ago I accidentally went bungee jumping and was convinced that after surviving four jumps head first into a creek dense with jagged boulders that I’d end up choking on a banana. Then just yesterday the ultimate blow came – I got invited to visit Club 33 at Disneyland (clearly I adore Walt). I’m now officially one Mickey Mouse shaped top sirloin away from having an empty bucket list. I’m just asking for it.
So now I have about a month to create a brand spankin’ new list of “Stuff I Gotta Do Before I Die.” This time I need to think a little bigger, a little farther ahead, and maybe even a little more outlandish, so I can happily go about my life without panic.
Here’s what I’ve come up with as a start:
1) Become trilingual (two-thirds there)
2) Spend Easter on Easter Island (would make for a fab egg hunt)
3) Spend Christmas on Christmas Island (this is going to get crossed off first, I feel it)
4) Change the national Thanksgiving food from turkey to lobster (long shot?)
5) Watch Citizen Kane and like it (never gonna happen)
Think #4 and #5 will buy me a few good years. I feel better already.