First item on the bucket list: to live without a bucket list

(Listen to the music while reading blog post.)

‘Meli, what places do you have on your bucket list?’
‘I don’t have bucket list.’

Bucket list.
This expression has conquered the world since the Jack Nicholson – Morgan Freeman movie in 2007. It’s sad to see how its meaning has been transformed, how much we tend to overuse it. Or is it only me who feels this way?

This expression already exfoliated from the movie, has its own meaning, a bit simplified, sometimes lacking the positive thoughts behind and used only as a ‘list for ticking off’, as a list of places we want to get to. Although if we can remember how it was in the movie, we’ll find a deeper layer.
Two lovely old men decide not to give a shit to their illness and instead of staying in depressing hospital room for their last days, they spend their time together doing things they always wanted to do but somehow they haven’t done so far.
As Morgan Freeman’s character says ‘My freshmen’s philosopher assigned this exercise in forward thinking. He called it a bucket list. We were supposed to make a list of all the things we wanted to do in our lives before… before we kick the bucket.’

A few bucket list item from the movie:
– help a complete stranger for the good
– laugh until I cry
– doing something majestic

And a few more from Jack Nicholson who says ‘…not to be judgmental, but this is extremely weak.’
– sky diving
– kiss the most beautiful girl in the world (‘How do you propose doing that?’ ‘Volume.’)
– get a tattoo (‘Is that the sum of your ambition? Edward, I’ve taken baths deeper than you.’)

What do you think this is all about? For me it’s about experiences, crazy things, enjoying life, freedom and positive vibes. It’s about using the bucket list as a supportive base to do things we postpone for long or we would never dare to do without it.

Let’s see what bucket list is about today. Different travel blogs and ‘motivational’ quotes encourage us to write a list about the places we want to travel to. You can hear very often the phrases like ‘this place is on my bucket list’, ‘I still have to tick this off of my bucket list.’ etc.
When and why became bucket list an enumeration that is created only to tick off one tourist attraction after another? Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally fine with that kind of lists that collect goals in life to be achieved. Quite the contrary. I think this is the very first step of creating. For me it’s just weird how we use this expression now, eliminating the deeper thoughts behind.

I have a lovely friend, Beu who sometimes loves to swim against the current as much as I do. She has a reverse bucket list. Quite unorthodox so I certainly love it! When she experience something that means a lot to her, she write it down. Afterwards. At first she was completely surprised, when she said to herself ‘Wow, that’s amazing, I’d put it on my bucket list. Oh, wait. I don’t even have one.’
The truth is that if she had have a list, that item wouldn’t have been on it, because before that she didn’t know it was so good. Life surprised her. Since then she writes items on the list in retrospect as a memento of all the good things happened to her.
And no, she doesn’t have places on her list. Experiences instead.

I only rebel until the point that I don’t have a list. A traveler who doesn’t have bucket list. Oh, Madonna….! But in my case, from an experience always comes the next one. One journey is followed by another. On the sunny island of Madeira I eat the best pineapple of the Globe and it turns out that it’s from the Azores so next time I fly there. In Portugal I get scared that I have to spend two days alone working in a guesthouse so I decide to go North to be on my own and face my fears. In Norway I meet a Slovenian couple and promise them to go hiking to their amazing country so I do.
Life always helps with the next step, you only have to watch closely. And these things just don’t work out when you have a bucket list. Simply because the list doesn’t support spontaneity.

And may the last sentence be another quote from the movie, emphasizing how a good bucket should help us: ‘In the end I think it’s safe to say that we brought some joy to one another’s life.’

(The photos illustrating the post were taken in Norway, Lofoten islands.)


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