Off the Clock: Kicking the bucket list

Even those of us who live fully have things that we really want to do before we die. Today, I reveal my list and confess to the things that will never, ever, make it on there.

Thanks to the 2007 Jack Nicholson/Morgan Freeman film debacle, I absolutely hate the term “Bucket List.” However, in early 2010, I sat down and wrote such a thing.

I’ve always been a “live for today” kind of girl who wasn’t a big proponent of things like “making plans” or “setting goals” or, you know, “trying.” Instead, I’d just stumbled through life, letting cool things happen to me, and they always did. Not that I wasn’t thankful for those things, because I always took time to stop and smell the beautiful roses I was being handed, it’s just that I just wasn’t proactive in getting those roses myself.

Then, a friend of mine created an online class that focused on identifying your dreams and moving toward them. Excited to support her, I took the class, which included making a list of things I truly wished for. The process was heavy on forgetting about the practicality of achieving the wished for things, instead emphasizing that you not shoot them down before even fully uncovering them.

So, one day, in a stream of consciousness, I scribbled a quick list on a piece of notebook paper:

Being that it was written in a way that didn’t allow for examining the list while making it, examining my dreams afterward was a little surprising.

Lose 50 lbs? Adopt a baby? But my work focuses on convincing people to accept their bodies, regardless of the number on the scale! And I’m almost finished raising children! Get it together, brain! But maybe even more surprising to me than the things that appeared on my list were the things that didn’t.

It was so, well, normal. Where were the daredevil-y things that other people frequently mentioned were on their lists? Anyone who knows me knows I’m not usually one to shy away from a foolhardy endeavour.

No skydiving? No piloting a plane? No knife swallowing? No fire batons? Was this my list or my grandmother’s? And why, pray tell, did my grandmother want to attend the AVNs?

— ∮∮∮ —

Richard Henriksen likely has a bucket list that reads much differently.

Richard, a Norwegian surgeon, recently attempted an acrobatic BASE jump from 4,000 feet up. Combining his love of both gymnastics and BASE jumping, Richard took on the challenge for Normal Madness, a Norwegian television show.

The television show constructed a high bar at the edge of a cliff, with the idea being Richard would swing, full force, around the high bar, releasing his grip at just the right time to fly off and launch him for his base jump. But that never happened.

Instead, Richard swung around, once, and, on the second swing, a bolt in the high bar broke and the bar came down, sending him flying off the cliff, unexpectedly. Because the stunt was being performed for television, the whole thing was caught on video. From several angles.

Yes, the guy was going down anyway, but he’s thrown off like a rag doll. His head comes frighteningly close to hitting the side of the cliff as he begins to tumble. Oh, and did I mention that the broken high bar, also subject to gravity, is flying down, on top of him? The video will make your heart drop.

Richard landed safely, getting it together and pulling the cord on his chute, just in time. In a move that I don’t particularly agree with, there’s also video of Richard showing his young children the footage of him nearly falling to his death. Norwegians are different, maybe.

My point is, I recently reviewed my bucket list, and decided to update it. I’ve achieved seven of the 16 items, and there are a few new things I’d like to add that weren’t even a blip on the radar nearly three years ago.

What I won’t be doing, though, is feeling pressure to Evel Knievel it up with heart-stopping stunts. It may be too late for me to die young and leave a pretty corpse, but I’ll be danged if I’m going to leave a banged-up, bloody, or flattened one. Voluntarily, at least.

So, while my list might be easily confused with my grandmother’s, it’s filled with things that come right from my heart, without threatening the safety of my ass. As for Richard Henrikson, I suggest he might take another look at his own. Or, at the very least, limit his children to Baby Einstein videos.


Photo by: Peter ‘lastfuture’ Marquardt

  • error

    Report an error

The Checkout Girl

The Checkout Girl is Jennifer Lemons. She’s a storyteller, comedian, and musician. If you don’t see her sitting behind her laptop, check the streets of Richmond for a dark-haired girl with a big smile running very, very slowly.

There is 1 reader comment. Read it.