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James Francis
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Kicking the bucket list

28 January 2013, 10:02
We live in a very goal-driven society. At least, we’re surrounded by people that insist we list our goals, make plans and slowly inch towards them. I never really understood this. Yes, it makes perfect sense - if you are one of those people who instinctively commit to five year plans. You also already started working out your monthly budget when you were eleven.

Still budget with a sense of faith reserved for snake handlers and coal-walkers. Being goal-orientated is one good path to success, but only if you have the knack for it. I don’t. I consider it a major victory if I read my daily to-do list, let alone actually cross things from it.

But fear not, for there is an alternative: the bucket list. This is a marvelous creation where you still have goals, but they are of the delightfully hedonistic persuasion. If the Internet is to be believed, the name is derived from ‘kicking the bucket’ and was popularised by an apparently-awful movie of the same name.

Your bucket list contains all those silly things you wish to achieve before you die: swim with the dolphins, run a marathon, sleep with Miley Cyrus - whatever your fantasies can muster. Then you set about trying to accomplish these: save money, start jogging, buy Billy Ray a few beers. It’s like having real goals, except they don’t really accomplish anything.

Yet personally I still find the idea a turn-off. Maybe I’m phobic about commitment. Most likely I fear it will become a list of ideals that I’ll never get to and on my deathbed I’ll just have a stark reminder of all the stuff I didn’t do. If I never have a list, perhaps my aging memory will make me forget those goals and I can depart this world in blissful ignorance, instead remembering the theme tune of a favourite childhood TV show.

Maybe I just don’t like lists of goals, because they remind me of Sisyphus and the boulder he eternally tries to get to the top of the hill.

Or perhaps I’m just lazy and over-thinking this. Besides, I’m lying: I do have a bucket list. But it’s a one-for-one deal. Once I tick off an item, I add the next one. So it’s more like a bucket sentence... The last one? To be a zombie in something. I managed that by appearing in a music video. I don’t appear in the final cut, but hey, I was a zombie. Next? To see a meteor shower.

When will that happen? I don’t know. I don’t plan these things. That means making goals and I’m not a fan of goals. No, one day I might be out somewhere in a desert and witness those streaks of flame in the sky. Perhaps it will be the prelude from a large rock about to terminate life on Earth. Still, I’d be two-for-two on my list. If that isn’t fulfillment, then I don’t know...
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