Ever since Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson created a wish list of things they wanted to do before they kicked the bucket, people have talked, dreamed, blogged, posted, and written about their Bucket List. But I wonder...how many people actually make a list and then go about fulfilling their dreams and living their fantasies?
Most people are too busy living every day on a get-by basis to pursue their bucket list goals. Does that mean most people have lived unsuccessful, underachieving lives? I don’t think so.
What if success is defined by not what you’ve done but what you haven’t done, or rather what you’ve avoided doing that could make your life a disastrous mess? What if a successful life is a life not filled with regret or life-changing consequences? What if the best thing you could do for yourself was to consider a NOT bucket list? Unlike an Unbucket list where you list things you’ve done that you would never do again, a NOT bucket list is a list of things you would never, ever do in a million years.
So I thought about what I’d put on a NOT bucket list. And here it is:
1. Go to a foreign country where I don’t speak the language. Why would I risk a serious miscommunication? I would end up in a foreign jail for the rest of my life. I watched Brokedown Palace. I know what kind of trouble a tourist can get into, especially if you don’t know the language and don’t know where you’re going.
2. Go into the woods alone at night. Why would I do this willingly? Aren’t there enough horror movies that everyone should know better than to do this? Haven’t we all been warned? Anybody remember Friday the 13th? Art imitates life, doesn’t it? I would end up dead because I would trip over a large something or other and fall, probably breaking my neck. Or I would meet an ax murderer.
3. Go skydiving. Why would I jump out of a perfectly good airplane? My parachute wouldn’t open. I know this. Deep in my heart of hearts. I don’t understand D.B. Cooper, the guy that hijacked a plane, demanded a ransom, and then jumped out of the plane with the money. There isn’t enough money in the world that would entice me to hatch that kind of plan. His body was never found. Mine wouldn’t be found either.
4. Go back in time. Why would I want to relive this life? Redoing the good times wouldn’t be the same, and redoing the bad times wouldn’t make them any better. The good times and the bad times have made me who I am, and I’m okay with that. Besides, if I had a do-over I’d probably disrupt a time-space continuum and erase the universe...or something like that. Didn’t Marty McFly almost erase himself in Back to the Future? I don’t want to erase myself.
5. Go swimming in shark-infested waters. Why would I want to tempt a shark to take a bite out of me? Why would I want to play tag with one? I would bump into it or it would bump into me, and I would either freak out or freeze. But whatever I would do, it wouldn’t be the one thing that I should do if I were ever to encounter a shark...whatever that one thing would be. Is there any good way to deal with a shark encounter? Probably not. That situation would not go well for me. The shark and I would not become friends. The Great White would smell my fear. It would stalk me and play with its food before doing its worst. Have you seen The Reef?
This may seem like a negative list, but really it isn’t. This list represents my deepest fears, so if I avoid things that make me fearful, I should be able to live a happier, less stressful life. The absence of negativity is positivity, right? That’s my theory anyway.
I could have made a long list of things I would like to do before I go, but I’m not going to waste my time writing lists. (Oh, okay. I know I just made a list, but it was a short list.) I’m going to spend my time reaching for my dreams and pushing toward my goals. Living my life to the fullest in every moment is the only item on my bucket list.