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. I can not have a bucket list because I change my mind every week about the things I want to do before I die. Still want to be part of your club though and like the idea of a word press plug in.

    I suppose I could still have a list, who cares if it changes, right?


    • Mine changes, basically, weekly. I think it’s a good way of filtering out the stuff you REALLY want to do from the stuff you merely want to do today. The things that are still on there 2 years later are the things you are obviously most passionate about and should be pursuing with vigor!


  2. Writing my bucket list is the only thing on my current bucket list!

    I’ve tried to put one together but I never make it very far. But I will certainly give it another shot after reading this post…


    • Ha ha – congratulations! I know what you mean – my instructor had me hanging out of the plane three times before we finally jumped. The bastard.


  3. I have a bucket list too that I started 2 years ago. I’m about 20% of the way through it right now and I’ve had a blast with it. I agree with you about writing it down- if I didn’t, I don’t think I would have done as much as I have. It’s also helped me focus on what I want to get out of life.

    And thanks for the bucket list app recommendation- I might switch to that since it looks much more usable then what I have.


    • 20% is some good going. I agree about the focus – if I didn’t think about what I want, I’d just watch The Simpsons reruns all day.


  4. A number of months ago I wrote and posted my first bucket list on my site. It started small and is still growing. It gave me some sense of a real goal and something to work towards. I am happy to report that I’ve crossed my first thing off the list and it felt so awesome! I’m working on crossing off my second in the next 3ish weeks.


    • Woot! Congratulations!

      You have got me thinking, though. What happens when I cross off the last item? Am I going to be, like, “OK, done everything! I can die now! Come get me Boney Boy!”?

      Maybe I should put one really impossible thing on there, like “Become President of the Moon”, as a kind of insurance so that I never finish everything .


  5. Interesting to have the time limits there. A bucket list by definition just means do it before you die, but the film the term comes from they know when they are going to die which is a handy advantage.

    It seems more a life long to-do list, I guess most people will lose interest in it eventually if they don’t have these time limits.

    I have massive to-do lists (although admittedly haven’t written my ultimate bucket list yet) all over the place and tend to just prioritise things rather than give myself time limits as it helps point out of those 100+ things what I should be doing first, although when you’re mixing ‘learn XXX instrument’ in with ‘see monkeys in wild’ it’s not so easy to prioritise as one takes a weekend and one may take years.

    How did you come to pick the deadlines? That’s got to be quite the task in itself.


    • That’s a good point, although I would go back to the whole “World’s Greatest Procrastinator” thing and suggest that, if I didn’t put in time limits, then I’d leave everything until I’m 80. I don’t know if they’d let an 80 year old fly to space.

      Time limits were easy – all the dates are around the 17th November (my birthday) so I just chose what I considered to be a realistic number of years to get the stuff done and then chose the day before.


  6. 12 years??? To see Gorillas? All it takes is $500 and a flight to Rwanda. I can hook you guys up! Although I still haven’t done it and I live a mear 3 hours away from said gorilli (the plural of gorillas… maybe). End of October! See you in the mist with the gorilli?


    • Ha ha, at the rate we’re traveling it will take us 12 years to get to Rwanda. Although, I have to say, we’re more than a little tempted to drop everything, get a flight to Africa and go see Gorilli (plural works for me) with you…


  7. Isn’t it scary to list things like that? I mean we’re all the sum of our experiences but to say that these are the thing you want to do before you die and to write them down seems bewildering. There are so, so many things I want to do! I think number one would be jump out of a plane, for sure.


    • Ha ha, yeah it’s scary but that’s kind of the point. I am one of the world’s great procrastinators, but there’s nothing like thinking about how little time I have left before The Reaper comes a-reapin’ to get me motivated to do stuff.

      I also think there’s a power in writing stuff down. Plus, it’s fun to come back to it a couple of years later and see all the stuff you’ve done and laugh about all the stuff that you no longer want to do.


  8. Wow great post. I have been avoiding a bucket list as it would force me to think about what I actually want. But as I approach the second half of my RTW I really need to start thinking about it.


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