Creating a “reverse bucket list”

courtesy of Microsoft clip art

What are you leaving off your bucket list? Or better said, what do you absolutely never want to do before you die, also called a reverse bucket list?  Writer Katherine Bindley raised this question in a huffingtonpost.com article on December 21. Readers who commented on her column identified jumping or falling from high places, going to jail, or making long-term commitments as things they planned not to do.  She said she felt inspired by a piece she read in theatlantic.com by Jeffrey Goldberg.  Mr. Goldberg led off with “Climb Mt. Everest,” on his list of twenty-five things he planned not to carry out.  He also made it clear that, among other things, he would never send Anthony Weiner-style photos to Facebook friends, join LinkedIn, play golf, or have his colon cleansed.

For my list, I’ll start with ten items, since any more would require too much imagination.  I know you’re asking why bother.  First, if someone invites you to join them for an activity that happens to be on your list, you don’t have to think twice before saying no.  It’s also a way to avoid distractions that take you away from the few things you’d like to accomplish in life.  If it’s on your list, you save yourself from wasting time worrying about doing risky things like bungee jumping, when six of your friends have already tried it and are saying it’s your turn. From an internet search, I discovered that an extraordinary number of young people want us to know what’s on their 100-item bucket lists and how many activities they’ve already checked off.  Perhaps because so many people are attempting to try one of everything, Ms. Bindly suggests that reverse lists make a good antidote to serious ones, which may “make you feel that you’ve accomplished virtually nothing your entire life.”

Here are some of the things I’ve chosen not to do 
…ever:  watch a television reality series, invest in supplies to start a project in a new craft medium when I have hardly mastered any of the old craft media I’ve bought supplies for; eat insects; work on another college degree; feel compelled to read all “the classics;” run with the bulls in Pamplona; come out of retirement and go back to work; get a divorce; drink coffee; make my own bucket list.

As I think about what I don’t want to do, more and more ideas pop into my head — clean the house, shop for groceries, cook meals, do errands and laundry, mend clothing, and weed the garden come to mind right away. I envision weeks and months of free time on the horizon as my reverse bucket list expands.  Soon I’ll be lying on the sofa for days on end, eating chocolate truffles and dreaming of more activities not to do.

About stillalife

I retired June 30, 2010 after working for 40 years in the field of education and most recently doing school public relations/community outreach in a mid-size urban school district. I wrote for superintendents and school board members. Now I'm writing for me and I hope for you. In this blog, I offer my own views coupled with the latest research on how to preserve our physical and mental health as we age, delve into issues most of us over 50 can relate to like noticing wrinkles and forgetting where we left our keys, discuss the pros and cons of different ways to engage our minds and bodies after we leave the workplace, and throw in an occasional book review, all peppered with a touch of humor, irony, and just plain silliness.
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