Pom in Oz column: what exactly is a bucket list and what’s on yours?

What’s on your bucket list?
Camera IconWhat’s on your bucket list? Credit: unknown/Rottnest

Eat snails in Paris, snack on grubs in the outback, learn to cook French food, see the Sydney Harbour Bridge, parachute, or bungee jump?

Most of us have dreams and aspirations, things we have always imagined doing or hope we could experience in our lifetimes.

So it goes to say quite a few of us already have a mental bucket list, just without actually calling it that.

But, that being said, what is the meaning behind a bucket list?

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How do we define it?

There is a debate regarding where the expression “bucket list” originated from. Perhaps it was the movie with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, released in 2007.

I am not sure about you, but even as a child I had what could be referred to as a bucket list — and that was well before the film was released.

The most common explanation for the origin is from the phrase “kick the bucket”. Excuse the gruesome description but basically back when people were hanged, the executioner would “kick the bucket” from under them, Sending them to their death. So the idea is it’s a list of things to do before the bucket is “kicked”.

Jack Nicholson in the 2007 movie The Bucket List.
Camera IconJack Nicholson in the 2007 movie The Bucket List. Credit: Sidney Baldwin/Sidney Baldwin

So what’s on your bucket list and, more importantly, how many or even how regularly, are you crossing things off it?

For me, the big one was to compete in my first boxing match — which I accomplished in 2019.

I have quite a few others linked to fitness but I also want to travel and have quite a few places on my list: Greece, Norway, and Russia, to name a few.

Our social media pages can be overrun with adverts, stories and tales of people selling bucket-list adventures or experiences.

But I don’t believe it detracts from the basic need for us as humans to constantly challenge ourselves.

It could be mental (getting that certificate you always wanted) or perhaps physical (fancy competing in a triathalon?) or it could be something completely off the wall — maybe you have always fancied doing stand-up comedy?

I don’t think it matters, to be honest. We just need to keep looking forward, in whatever manner suits us best.

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