Privilege Blog

How To Avoid A “Bucket List,” Or, Saturday Morning at 10:10am

Do you have a bucket list?

I don’t. In fact, the very idea makes me queasy. Why?

  1. I live with a to-do list. I rewrite it every morning. Why on earth would I lasso my personal dreams into that crowded and dusty corral?
  2. Isn’t it tempting fate, a tad? I bow my head to fate’s sisters, and really, really, really hope not to make them mad.

Of course, I have nothing but admiration for those who feel otherwise. Read Kidchamp’s list, for example. Quirky, reasonable, multi-faceted. Just cannot muster to make one myself.

That said, at any given moment I am grazing some horses out in the wild meadow. Places to go, things to purchase, foods to make. We might call it:

The If At All Possible And What A Surprise If So List

Crab Cakes

I have loved crab cakes since the first day I bit into a sweet one, 35 years ago, somewhere in the Mid-Atlantic states.

We get Dungeness crabs out here in San Francisco, and I’d love to try this recipe from Sam’s Carolina Kitchen. Recreate my youth and eat local in one mouthful.

Turkey, The Country

My stepfather took my mom and the Swedish family on a chartered sail up the coast of Turkey recently. That, and photos like this from Turquoise Diaries, have me dreaming of waters at the corner of Europe and Asia.

Fresh Water Weekends Of All Sorts

On the other hand, I see the ocean fairly frequently. Lately I’ve wanted to spend some time by a body of fresh water, either running or still. Lake Tahoe, for example. Or a cabin by a small granite lake in the Sierras.

Or a cold, blue river in Turkey. Also from Turquoise Diaries. Two for one, that.

Repurposing Old Jewelery

Duchesse keeps suggesting I repurpose old jewelry. She’s right. So I dream of the Calderesque chandelier earrings I’d make with these – and other bits and bobs.

Maybe I will, in fact. And maybe I won’t. No harm done either way. No score kept. That’s the good part.

Support Online Friends’ Small Businesses

And finally, I keep thinking I will support the small businesses of online friends. Find holidays cards from Liz at Betsy Ann Paper , try hazelnuts from Zella Foods, and order all things bee-produced from Glacier County honey.

These last are highly likely. When we dream of presents to give others, we’re far more likely to follow through.

Have a wonderful weekend, crossing things off lists, or wandering open to serendipity. Either way.

54 Responses

  1. I like your bucket list, and not just because you featured our dream, Glacier County Honey. Thanks making my Saturday mornings better! It is a privilege to read your blog, so to speak. xo

  2. I feel like too many people talk of bucket lists as if they need to be checked off, yes/no, I have met all my life goals. It’s nice to have dreams, and I have many, but I try not to pin my soul to anything too small. I’d like to be a good mother and wife and friend, to advance human knowledge in my own tiny way, and mostly not make the world any worse than it is. I feel like those are my dues as a human being, my measure of success or failure in life. But when I’ve held up that yard stick, and find that I am not too badly wanting, then there’s always a little left over for dreams.

    I’d like to dance tango, with skill, in a crowded cafe in Argentina… See the paintings at Lascaux and shiver at the idea of so much history in one place. I’d like to lie on a beach someplace very warm, wearing lots of sunscreen and a ridiculously large hat with at least a little panache. And I’d like a puppy for my daughter to tumble on a lawn with, once my life slows down to a walking pace again, instead of this mad sprint to finish graduate school, rent my house out, start a post-doc in another country… But then, living in another country has been on my dream list for a long time, and it’s finally within reach, so I can’t complain too much.

  3. Bucket lists bug me. First of all, they’re a weird kind of consumerism. It’s just that instead of a grocery list featuring eggs, bread, and milk, they’re an experience list of bungee jumping, swimming with dolphins, and seeing Machu Picchu.

    They smack of—you should excuse the expression–privilege. Not that I don’t enjoy my many privileges, but creating a list of goals and dreams? This presupposes that plebeian stuff like food, clothing and shelter are taken care of, so now, it’s all about one’s DREAMS?

    The quintessential first world problem: oh noze! I’ll go to my grave without ever seeing a Japanese Tea Ceremony!

    And of course, this kind of thing is all over the blogosphere because the concept lends itself perfectly to blogging: picture-heavy, not-overly-long posts with some kind of loose unifying structure.

    In short: bah, humbug.

    1. Don’t think I didn’t say to myself, “Wow this post is easy to write, what with the purty pictures and all.” :)

  4. I so enjoy your Saturday posts, and don’t tell you often enough that I am out here, happy to see the post in my email, and happy to read.

    Bucket Lists don’t call to me either, but my head is always full of dreams, which I expand as I learn new things about people, places, events. I will realize some of my dreams, but I will enjoy the luxury of thinking about them all. The anticipation of wonderful things can be, in certain ways, as lovely as the event.

    Happy Saturday.

  5. Absolutely, I completely agree with you about the whole bucket list concept. As with all your topics it is consistently edifying to read your well reasoned commentary expressed in your pithy, droll and graceful style. Thank you.

    1. I’ve been walking around chanting, “Pithy, droll, graceful,” for almost 24 hours now:). What a great set of adjectives, and a wonderful compliment.

  6. I prefer a wish list over the bucket list, a bucket sounds like I am mopping the floor…a wish may or may not come true.
    My wish list would be things that “might be nice” if someday I had the time and the money but they are not goals per say, just romantic thoughts of places to see and things to do.
    Your mood sounds dreamy and perhaps it’s time for an adventure.
    Enjoy your Saturday leisure time.

  7. I, like you, don’t feel comfortable with the bucket list. You just never know when the bucket might just fall squarely on top of your head. It does seem a bit like tempting fate.

    That said, Turkey is VERY accessible form here in the UK…why not make it a twofer?

  8. I did make a list of places I’d like to travel – partly for planning purposes – adding a couple of days to an otherwise necessary trip can make some possibilities obvious. I added Angkor Wat to a conference in Singapore.

    Turkey was another such happy event. When I found out my flight to Tajikistan would have to connect in Istanbul, I made the time to take a few extra days and start to explore Turkey. My advice is to find a way to do that trip. Soon.

  9. I agree about bucket lists. They generally are filled with outward bound-ish adventures or incredibly hedonistic pursuits. I love yours though, especially the ones involving turquoise waters, cabins, and funnily enough, repurposing old jewelery.

  10. I’m not a bucket list person, exactly, but I do have some very methodical “goals.” When I was in school, I worked at a coffee shop, and over the course of a semester I decided to try all 40+ different kinds of teas we sold. It was great, both as an experience (I love trying new things and finding new favorites), and because I could answer customer questions about the teas and share my personal experience with them.

    This week, my husband and I decided to drink our way through the cocktail menu of this really cute local restaurant. I love doing things like that both for the pleasure I get from checking boxes off a list (I’m that kind of a person) and for the pleasure I get from trying new things with people I love.

    1. Yes! I love that – attainable goals that come with the satisfaction of a job well done (+ cocktails!)

      That is completely my idea of a list.

  11. I’m so glad that I’m not the only one who feels that a bucket list is tempting fate. I will gladly say, or think to myself, “one day, I want to …” But the whole bucket thing – well, it sort of gives me the creeps. I love the small goals you’ve set. Realistic, thoughtful, and generous. Those are goals we can all strive for. Have a great weekend,

  12. for the longest time i felt something was lacking in me…i could not think of one item to put on my ‘bucket list’. am i that dull? in truth, my life has had so much stress that , now, i just want peace. and i have it. my goal is to live in the moment ~ which is hard if one is trying to finish a list. with each day comes a wonderful surpise and i want to be ready for it…the moment.
    as always i LOVE your thoughts…

    1. “my goal is to live in the moment ~ which is hard if one is trying to finish a list.”

      Standing ovation!

      You, Barbara Vasko, have just written pocket literature for the ages. All times, all ages. Question is, who’s paying attention.

  13. No bucket list for me, either. Why limit yourself to things that you think you want to do? Better to experience life as it comes at you, and do whatever works in the moment. Trust yourself, not a list. IMHO, of course.

  14. Don’t like “bucket lists” either – sort of morbid. We have a similar other list, particularly about some larger desires. I’m really anxious to go to Turkey. It was going to be my 60th birthday trip (and still may be) but in the midst of planning we decided to remodel a home, move, and my daughter set her wedding date for 3 weeks after my birthday – all happy things to have a trip delayed for, but now too consumed to plan it. Maybe it’ll happen this October, or next Spring – we’ll see.
    And like you, I’ve been in and lived on oceans (both coasts) and Europe, my whole life – and I’ve never been in a real lake – all man made in California, with the exception of Tahoe. I really want to rent a cabin by a lake, or on a river rafting trip, which I have done, but right now, a lake is what I’m longing for.
    Crab cakes also. I’ve made them a lot – but never gluten free for my husband, so it’s been in the back of my mind every summer for quite awhile now, just hasn’t happened.
    Also curious – “father-in-law” or stepfather?
    Wow – a lake. I love to “stand up paddle board” and would love to do it where I don’t have to watch for fins!!!

  15. Istanbul is the most beautiful city I’ve ever seen. And our trip to Turkey is one of my favorite traveling memories. So yes, I dream of going back. That lunch overlooking The Golden Horn was the stuff of dreams.

    I don’t have a bucket list either. I figure I’ve already had more pleasant experiences than most people and I feel so fortunate to have had them.

  16. No bucket nor ” to do ” lists for me.
    I gave those up such ideas ages ago. I know what my ” must do´s ” are, only do them, when I feel like it.
    I am trying to live one day at a time. No grand plans for the future.
    Unlike most of you, I´d never wish to visit Turkey, a country of tourism and extreme poverty.
    I´d hate to spend a vacation in a cabin by the lake. Being so isolated, I might turn nuts.
    I like my life as it is. Enjoying when there is joy, feeling a bit down, if there is some reason for it.
    For each – her/his own : ).

    1. Aah. You and Your significant other. I understand again.
      Were it me and my significant other, we would both go nuts ; ).

  17. Don’t have a bucket list. Always wanted a Baby. Have that now, so feel at peace.

    Miss the ability to travel overseas at the drop of a hat and always crave crab cakes.

    I think it’s tempting fate to want too much or hope for more.

    Be careful of what you wish for. It might come true.

    Hope you are well xxx

  18. I don’t have a bucket list either. In fact I’d never heard the term “bucket list” until a couple of years ago and didn’t know what it meant. During the time of the movie, we lived in the islands (no movie theater, just lots of sandy beaches & gin clear waters like you’ve featured above), so we must have missed it. My list is more of a “things I would like to do and places I would like to see” list and it’s not written in stone. But the South of France is always at the top to visit again and again.

    Glad you liked the crab cakes Lisa. I was hesitant to make them for fear they would be intimidating, but they were surprisingly easy and turned out great. Enjoy your weekend. You’ve certainly made mine better.

  19. My first crabcakes were eaten when we lived not far from Baltimore, Maryland… they were deliciously rich and wonderful!

    As for the gold jewelry pieces. I sold my mis-matched and broken 14kt gold pieces to a pawn shop last year, walked out with over $700 cash in my pocket and never looked back. I say sell them. :-))

  20. Have never heard the term ‘bucket list’ it sounds like a wish/to do list.

    Drove through Bulgaria,Turkey on the way to Greece in the early 1980’s took 6wks…those countries were not so tourist ridden back then,great fun.

    I have wanted to visit New England just too lazy to get organised.

    If any of you visit the UK try and fit the Lake District in especially in the off Season,magical. Ida

  21. Can’t STAND bucket lists! They’re like bucket seats…. you ever sit in a bucket? Sure you did. As kids, we ALL did. Once. That’s how comfy that was. As for all the things I wish I did, but never got around to? Well, there’s I reason for that I guess. Your post is an excellent reminder to get going on that checklist. :)

  22. I’m so sick that phrase, bucket list. I suppose like most things of that ilk it will be replaced by something else. Sorry, I’m in a bit of a bad mood. Wait a minute, I don’t have to apologise here do I ?

  23. I have searched my whole life for a crab cake recipe to my liking. So I closely examined Sam’s recipe and saw a slight discrepancy as she transcribed from Conroy’s master version, ie the flour is omitted, yet she cites addition of flour in the text of her instructions. So if you’re serious about making these as I am, click your way through to Conroy’s version to get the flour measurement. Glad I did for another reason, I’m going to use Conroy’s cayenne rather than Sam’s tabasco. I can’t wait to try these! Thank you, Lisa!!!!

  24. Bucket Lists seem a tad too TM, kind of like Honey Do Lists or even wedding registeries. (Always the contrarian, I know.) That said, I do keep Browning’s line in mind (paraphrased): “a woman’s reach must always exceed her grasp.”

  25. Lisa–If I had to guess, I would think you were a fan of a bucket list. Huh…whaddaya know? I would like to find a new phrase for what is my bucket list. I do not plan to kick the bucket, pass away, pass over, or just pass. I will die. I don’t want to have a dying list so I’m going to come up with a new name. Thoughts? What a list does for me is to remind me that there are a lot of things out there that I want to do and see. I have trouble remembering to take time for myself and do things for myself. And, that’s why I have a bucket *cringe* list. By the way, most of it can be found on Pinterest. hahaha!

  26. I do have a bit of a bucket list…and just as fate would have it I keep pushing it back a bit. That swing over the Turkish waters is very, very tempting. Yes, to supporting online entrepreneurs.

  27. You could always have the jewelry melted down and the stones reset. Get some nice custom pieces that way? Who needs bucket lists otherwise–life’s for living as it comes and maybe the chance to see something everyday!

  28. No bucket list, I’ve done all of the travelling I want to do, and there’s nothing in life that I need to achieve, I just want to be content, now.

  29. I am a list person, but a Bucket List person I am not. I feel like everyday goals are totally different but I guess everyone has a dream-someday list. …but I like to think it morphs all the time, and not worthy of a list I have to hold myself to!

  30. Yeh, I am meh on creating a bucket list. My goals and yens change. Why commit to something you sorta go off of.

    But I do love a “To Do” List. I make them and then lose them. A perfectly crafted metaphor for my life.

    I could spend the day on that swing… feet skimming that fake looking water. I like that the guard rail at the drop off beyond the swing is JUST above the waterline.

  31. Agree with you about bucket lists, I always have a few ideas floating round inside my head but they’re fine where they are. And yes, why tempt fate? Though I do like a To Do list at work – but that’s because my memory’s shot.

    Turkey is lovely, I’d like to go back again soon.

  32. my list (as you know, lisa) isn’t actually a bucket list; it expires every three years, and i myself don’t plan to expire for a very long time indeed. part of the beauty of the expiration date – the list’s, that is – is that i can jettison items which no longer interest me and ratchet up the difficulty level with items i’ve checked off of previous lists.

    in my non-101-list life i have almost no modern organizational tools; i’ve never made a spreadsheet, my calendar is a little red book with dogeared pages and tickets tucked into future months, and my contact list is an old rolodex. i don’t have a non-whimsical to-do list. i do have more interests and plans than i’ll ever know what to do with, however, and keeping my lists online where i can keep myself honest, benefit from the encouragement of friends and readers, and – to be frank – remember all of the things i’m excited about has been immeasurably valuable to me. left-brained it ain’t.

    the lists aren’t about gimme-gimmes, or about desiccating hopes and dreams. they are stilts, o scornful readers – and i wouldn’t brag about being too cool to teeter around on them, were i you. the view is spectacular, my strides are longer than they’ve ever been, and i’m having a hell of a lot of fun.

  33. I like this outlining of wishes on a slightly ephemeral, always-open-to-change list. The whole “bucket list” concept chills me, frankly. I hope that I die with numerous enthusiasms in full swing still, so that I never quite get to do all I want to. . .

  34. There are places I know I will never get to see, but I go to sleep at night secure in the knowledge that they exist…except when they are destroyed by acts of nature or war or religious spite or environmental disaster…and then I grieve–first for the people who have lost so much in the catastrophe and are suffering the most, but also for the rest of us, who will never fully understand what we’ve lost.

    RIP Timbuktu.

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