So, I was thinking about the Bucket List the other day.  It was a mediocre movie about two guys who are dying of cancer and make a list of the things they’d like to do before they die.  Then, thanks to the wealth of Jack Nicholson’s character, they set about actually doing those things.  There’s also a drawn out joke that revolves around not knowing what kopi luwak is.  Despite Nicholson’s character always having a fancy coffee making apparatus around (where does he get those wonderful toys?) he doesn’t drink too much coffee.

Anyway, the point that stuck in my head is that the whole situation is only made possible by the one character’s wealth.  They couldn’t do all the things on their bucket list without the private jet and gobs of cash.  And that, I feel, is the problem with the whole bucket list idea.

Wouldn’t it work better to have a list of things you want to be before you die, rather than do before you die?  Instead of boating down the Amazon, seeing the pyramids or going on safari, you try to be humble, mindful, a good parent or generous.  The great thing is that your entire list could be achieved with no money at all.  It would only be about changing things within yourself, which is obviously something you can control – perhaps the only thing.

I’m only writing about this because there was some interest in the bucket list concept after the movie.  There was an internet bucket list going around at some point, for instance.  Beyond the fact that it’s “cool,” why do people set themselves up for this  sort of meaningless competition.   What sort of fulfillment is really achieved by seeing the pyramids or climbing Everest or having the world’s largest collection of X?   Where do people get these ideas anyway?  People live their whole lives without even knowing about the pyramids or Disneyland.  I think the world would be a better place if people decided that the thing they were really committed to, their obsession, was to be a nicer, better human being instead of some arbitrary list of “must-sees.”

</rant>

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