Pemberton: Is your bucket list really so outrageous?

Joyce Pemberton

If someone had asked you in 2006 if you had a “bucket list,” you would have probably referred him or her to our Town Hardware and General Store on Main Street. After all, didn’t they have a fine line of buckets for every cleaning occasion?

Joyce Pemberton

But, fast-forward just one year later, to 2007, and your answer to the same question would be drastically different. This time, when asked if you have a bucket list, your eyes would have glazed over and you would have wistfully referenced something having to do with sky diving over the Grand Canyon, hiking the entire Appalachian Trail or hand-feeding baby lions in Zimbabwe.

Your bucket list no longer infers carting cleaning fluids. It now consists of grand schemes and dreams you hope to accomplish before . . . well . . . before you kick the bucket.

In 2007, the movie, "The Bucket List," starring Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson, forever changed the landscape and language of references to buckets. No longer were they vessels for carting liquids – now they were vessels used for storing dreams and destinations.

In the movie, Freeman and Nicholson find themselves hospital roomies who have both been diagnosed with terminal cancer. As opposite as two characters can be, cancer is about the only thing they have in common.

One day Freeman shares that he had developed a “bucket list” of things he wants to do before he dies. However, since he believes he doesn’t have long to live, he tosses the list in the garbage. Nicholson goes Dumpster diving and finds the list. A very wealthy man, he offers to finance the journey to accomplish everything on the bucket list. So off they go, sans wives, on an around-the-world vacation that includes skydiving, visiting the North Pole, riding motorcycles on the Great Wall of China, and other outrageous adventures.

Today, you are hard pressed to find someone who either doesn’t have an actual bucket list, or hasn’t at least considered one or two outrageous and extravagant things they want to do before they make their final exit.

So I know you won’t be surprised to learn that, I too, have a bucket list.  I keep it on my cell phone for easy reference when I need inspiration or a good laugh.  I’ve already checked a few off the list; I climbed a mountain in Ireland, I got a tattoo, and I photographed the wild ponies on the Outer Banks.

Some of the things left on my bucket list are, I think, inspiring and imaginative; I want to see a whale in its natural habitat, hold a balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, escort a veteran on an Honor Flight, and play an extra in a movie.

I asked some of my friends and family to share what’s on their bucket list:

“Take a cruise around the world and visit all seven continents.”

“Attend mass at the Vatican.”

“Take a hot air balloon ride in France or Italy, dropping in on the wineries.”

“Take my family on a classic New York City vacation.”

“Hike the Appalachian Trail with friends.”

“Retire and play with my grandkids and dogs.”

“Visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington.”

I don’t know about you, but I don’t see anything unattainable in this list.

So what keeps us from really doing what we dream of doing? Are the things on our bucket lists really just pipe dreams? If we really want to do them, what are we waiting for?

Maybe we think we have plenty of time. Like we will never kick the bucket.

The thing is, if we really want to do something, whether we put it on a bucket list or just keep it in our mind, we will find a way to do it.

What about you? Do you have a bucket list?  And if you do, what are you doing about it?