Holy Crap I’m Going To Die! Why I Have A Bucket List

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Sooner than I like, I’m going to be dead. It sucks, but there it is. It wouldn’t be imprudent to call my faith in higher powers non-existent and so, as far as I know, (and I’m the first to admit I know very little) this is it.

If I want to do any fun or important (or, hopefully, fun AND important) stuffs, then I had really better get on with it.

Unfortunately, I find it all too easy to wile away my remaining 18,263 18,262 or so days on things that really don’t matter, like compulsively checking my Analytics accounts every 30 minutes or so (by the way, you guys are AWESOME)!

See, like most people, I suffer from what I like to call an Invincibility Complex. I find I’m unable to fully comprehend my no longer being on this earth, and the idea that I might one day be no more than a pile of ashes (burn me up baby, then loose me in the wind) is so foreign to me as to be ridiculous.

I mean, a world without Simon?

Ugh, what a horrible place.

Anyway, as a result of this complex, I’m more than happy to spend an hour of my day hunting down 500mls of black sugary beverage because, hey, what the hell else am I going to do with my time, right?

How about all of this:

My Bucket List

UPDATE: I have stopped updating the bucketlister plugin as I have a new crazy system with which to quantify every aspect of my life.

And this isn’t even the half of it. This is the abridged version of a spreadsheet that lists all 101 things that I want to do before I die. And if that’s not morbid enough for you, it gets much, much better.

Fucked up? You bet I am!

Being the über geek that I am (so über that I use umlauts), I didn’t just stop at listing out all of the fun things that I want to get done. Nope, I had to give each of these a target date and work out exactly how many days I have left to do them all.

That’s right. I’m counting down my life, one day at a time.

The Benefits of my Somewhat Mentally Unstable Approach

Before you all stop reading our blog on the basis that I’m some sort of morbid psycho, let me try and explain (if you still think I’m crazy after my explanation, well, then we have something in common).

The Importance of Goals

I like making stuff happen. Admittedly, I’m not very good at it – I have a veritable graveyard of unfinished projects – but when something does get done, it’s a very satisfying feeling. I feel like a God (which proves to be a bit of an existential conundrum) and it makes me want to make more things happen. Enter: planning.

I have found that having a plan makes me more likely to finish projects and so writing down all of the parts of the Ultimate Project (a.k.a. My Life) in the form of a Do Before Death list gives some focus to my otherwise directionless meanderings.

If I’m ever stuck for what to do, I just consult The List.

Measuring Goals

There’s, like, science and stuff that says putting a deadline on things means they are more likely to get done, so by setting a target date for the things I want to do, I’m putting pressure on my subconscious to start looking for opportunities to get some more ticks on the list.

If that sounds indefinite and new age-y, it is – but bear with me.

I first started my Bucket List about 2 years ago. After my initial obsession with it, I lost interest and moved on to other things. This is me all over, by the way. Initial enthusiasm to the point of clinical insanity for the first few days, then a drop off in interest so steep it gives mountains vertigo.

About 6 months ago I came back to it and was more than a little surprised to find that I could check off 15 items (including ‘Swim with sharks’ – nice), all way before the deadlines I’d set for them. So, win for me.

What really baked my noodle, though, was this: would I have pursued these activities so readily had I not consciously placed them on my list? Who can say – perhaps I should consult an Oracle – but I’m not entirely willing to write off all this Power of the Subconscious malarkey just yet.

At the very least, having thought about these activities and written them on the list made me more likely to say Yes when the opportunities came about.

Measuring the Unmeasurable

Having a deadline also has another benefit – suddenly, your goals have to be measurable or else, when the deadline comes around, how do you know if you’ve completed the challenge?

Things like ‘Swim with sharks’ are pretty easy – they’re binary in nature (you either have got wet with some Chondrichthyes or you haven’t), but things like ‘Learn to play the trumpet’ are incredibly ambiguous. What constitutes ‘learn’? How do you define ‘playing’? What’s a ‘trumpet’?

I mean, there are players who blow me away who still think they need to learn how to play.

The trick is to Make It Measurable – take a vague concept like ‘learn to play’ and come up with your own, measurable, definition.

So, ‘Learn to play the trumpet’ becomes ‘Know at least 5 complete tunes on the trumpet’. Now, when the time comes, I’ll know if it’s a Yay or a Nay (and, in case you’re wondering, yeah that’s on my list).

And there you have my reasons. Am I still crazy? You decide! But, if you want to join in with the crazy, then I have a special treat for you:

The Bucketlister

While I was writing this post, I thought it would be awesome if I could bequeath a small part of my obsessive personality to you in the form of a WordPress plugin (it’s what the table above is using). If you’ve always wanted a way to write out your Bucket List on your blog, sprinkled with some JavaScript awesomeness, then today’s your lucky day!

Now you too can write out all the things you want to spend your time doing and share it on your blog for all the world to see! Watch the days disappear while you remain no closer to the dreams that you list! Join me in the anxiety of not knowing if you’ll ever be able to complete all of the cool things that you wish to do with your life!

I have anointed my plugin The Bucketlister and you can download it from my Web Design website – I hope to have it on the official WordPress site very soon.

Hurrah for free stuff!

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  1. Oh Simon, my bestie is just like you. Forever making paper lists (not virtual), but because of your industrious nature I’m going to pass this plugin onto her!

    I just started a bucket list, which is weird considering I’m old enough to have done one by now. Part of me puts it off because don’t goals mean I have to do something about them?


    • Sometimes I have lists about the lists I have to make.

      Yeah, having goals means that you should do something about them, but the nice thing about a Bucket List is that it’s about the rest of your life, so you can easily put stuff of for years at a time.


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