DeWayne's World - A bucket list is too much work

DeWayne Bartels

Grand or bland — life is what we make it.

I thought about that last Friday morning, New Year’s just days behind me. I stood in a chapel in Pekin.

My uncle had passed away and the family was gathered.

Given the timing and the reason for the gathering I couldn’t help but think of the term “bucket list.”

The idea of what I needed to make a list of what I want to accomplish before I meet my maker sped through my mind.

So, I checked out the artofmanliness.com which offered a guide to making a bucket list. I needed to figure out if a bucket list was for me.

“No matter how grand or trivial our goals, it always feels good to achieve them, and there is a very simple tool that can help you do just that — the bucket list,” the website said.

“It has been scientifically proven that if you write down your goals, you are far more likely to actually accomplish them. When you physically record your goals, your mind creates a sort of contract with itself, and nobody likes to let themselves down. Plus, having a physical list lying around that you see on a regular basis serves as a constant reminder of your aspirations, and keeps you goal oriented.”

That’s fine, but that also means a bucket list is work.

You have to write the list down on something you will keep in your pocket so it is always nearby. For me that would be a cigarette pack, but I’m going to have to get it laminated to keep it from falling apart.

However, before I go looking for someone to laminate my list I have to figure out what is going to go on the list. The website says this is the easiest part of the process.

Once the list is written and preserved you have to start maintaining the list — studying it day in and day out.

“While it is always rewarding to accomplish goals, bucket list or not, there is something truly special about drawing a line through the goal you have been reading every day for months or years on end,” the website says.

How structured and 21st Century it all sounds. For that reason alone a bucket list is unappealing for this 70s guy. The list becomes just one more thing to get caught up in your day-to-day duties.

There were, however, some inspiring words on the website I liked.

“As kids we dreamed about doing something amazing, about having grand adventures. We dreamed about one day becoming men of action, who seized every day as our own and made the most of it. So what has changed? Age is just a number. Sure, you have more responsibility now than when you were a kid, but you also have far more capability. The things you once could only dream of are now within your reach; why not take hold of them?” the website said.

I can agree with that, but I wonder how a list accomplishes that.

A list is not needed if you are the type who just kind of lets life wash over you like a wave on a rock. That is not the way most people live their lives. But, it works for some of us.

It seems even without a bucket list most of the things I have really wanted to do, places I wanted to visit and people I wanted to meet have fallen into my life with no concerted effort. It just happened. I was not looking for them, just ready to enjoy them as they presented themselves.

Goals are fine, but they are like a map. It’s off the beaten track that adventures and satisfaction lie. Off the grid is where dreams come true.

I don’t have a goal. But, I do have a dream, a big one, one for the ages. I want to create a quote that lasts for ages.

Like I said, “Grand or bland — life is what we make it.” You may quote me on that. Please.