Please, No Bucket List


I’m not a big fan of the “Bucket List.” I think there’s something inherently negative (or maybe it’s the fatalism) about wanting to do things before you die. I have more of a life to-do list. It’s probably not that fundamentally different from a bucket list, only it’s got a much more positive view and it’s more about how I live and not what I do.

Even so, some life experiences of late have led me to realize that whatever list I manage to, there are some things that I never thought I would do, and could well have gone through life without having to do. And these unpleasantries, because of how I try to live my life, can actually be valuable and affirming experiences.

Like this week, which saw me waiting in a long line to pay my respects to the family of a murder victim. It was the son of someone who I’ve met through some volunteer work I do. I thought of the life cut short, and the countless broken hearts of loved ones left behind. The experience I had at that wake illuminated several key points for me:

  • Sometimes the right thing is the most uncomfortable thing, and after you do it you find you’ve traded a little discomfort for an overwhelming sense of accomplishment and relief and good-ness.
  • Be present in every moment, because subsequent moments are a gift and not a promise.
  • Volunteering matters. You may not always know it when you’re doing it, but I now know in no uncertain terms that getting up at 4:30am once a week and giving an hour of myself has an exponential and meaningful impact.

Consider the lessons I learned, consider what matters to you, and go ahead. Start. Make positive change now.



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