My Anti-Bucket List

Thank you to my friend Scott who inspired this anti-bucket list.

Like many people, I have a bucket list. There are several items I’ve crossed off, like riding a cable car in San Francisco, horseback riding in Texas and publishing a novel. There are still dozens more left to accomplish: Seeing Michelangelo’s The David in Florence, zip lining, and watching all of the American Film Institute’s top 100 movies, for example.

That said, as I prioritize my list, there are items that I’m willing to drop. These are the things that I still might want to do on some level, or things that I think would make me a better person, but I have neither the time nor inclination to prioritize them over the other life experiences I want to have.

Also, (insert shameless plug here…) adding and subtracting items on my life’s “Must-Do” list is a huge theme in my novel, Next Year I’ll be Perfect, and I hate to pass up an opportunity to make lists.

So, without further ado, here are the things that I am not planning to do, and feeling no shame in dropping them from my life’s plan:


1. I will never run a marathon. Actually, I’m going to expand on this item. I will also never run a half-marathon. I’m probably never going to run a 5K. Yeah, you can pretty much put me down for never running unless someone is chasing me with a chainsaw.

2. I will never go bungee-jumping or skydiving.* Stand me on the world’s highest tower and I’ll look over the edge. I will be first in line to jump on the fastest, scariest roller coaster you can find, but I won’t participate in these activities. The difference is that observation towers and roller coasters just have the appearance of danger (unless something goes catastrophically wrong, which is pretty rare) while bungee-jumping or skydiving could actually kill you. Or maim you. Or cause you to have a coronary on your way down. No thanks.

3. I am never going to learn a new language. I think being bi-lingual or tri-lingual, (or quad-lingual?) is fantastic. I applaud people who know more than one language and think in today’s global economy that learning more than one language should be a high school requirement. However, I have neither the interest nor the aptitude for anything beyond basic English. Some days I struggle with even that.

4. I will never own a fancy car. I admire fancy cars. I have had the good fortune to drive a friend’s fancy car, but I wouldn’t want to own one, myself. First of all, I’m kind of cheap and just not interested in cars enough to spend my money that way when there is so much pretty jewelry in the world. Secondly, I live in Maine. I need a car that can withstand salt, sand and the occasional fender bender that comes with black ice.

5. I will never eat worms or other gross stuff on purpose.* Let me clarify that weird food and gross food are different and that I am the sole and subjective arbiter of which food makes which list. For example, ostrich and haggis are weird but I’ve eaten both. Rocky Mountain Oysters and black pudding are gross and I can live a full and happy life if I never taste either. My bucket list used to include escargot, frog’s legs and caviar. I’ve now eaten all of them and found that I love, love, love snails and… I have eaten frog’s legs and caviar.

6. I will never celebrate New Year’s Eve in Times Square. Good God. I can’t imagine anything more unpleasant than being penned in with a bazillion strangers for 15 hours in the freezing cold waiting for Ryan Seacrest to ring in the new year.

7. I will never get a tattoo. Actually, this one makes me very sad because I’ve always wanted a tattoo. I was planning to get one to commemorate publishing my novel, but I was published just before I burned the crap out of my hand with lime juice. (Seriously – follow this link to the story) If my skin is that sensitive to a little citrus, I can’t imagine what injecting dye under my skin on purpose would do to me. (Probably nothing, but not a chance I’m willing to take.)

8. I will never travel to Antarctica or the Arctic Circle.* This one seems like a no-brainer for me because I complain about the cold all the time and am thrilled to see the first signs of Spring every year. The real reason I added this item to the list is that I was looking for places where I don’t want to travel, and there really weren’t any locations I could rule out completely aside from these two. I mean, I’m not wild about the idea of visiting the Middle East right now, but I live in hope that it will someday be a safer place to visit and it would be lovely to experience its historical and cultural significance.

9. I will never again finish reading a book I hate. This is a pretty new one for me. I usually soldier on through a book, feeling a strange sense of solidarity with the author and hoping for his/her sake that the book will get better. I just recently decided that there are too many wonderful books in the world for me to finish reading the clunkers. I will give them a fair shake and usually read at least to the halfway point, but when I dread picking up my kindle, it’s time to stop.

10. I will never stop trying new things. As I read people’s online bucket lists for inspiration around the things I don’t want to do, I found even more things that I now want to do, but hadn’t really thought of before. I would like to learn how to play chess and take a class on wine appreciation. I’ve never seen the northern lights or ridden in a hot air balloon.  I’ve never been to Ireland or Hawaii, for heaven’s sake. In the words of Dr. Seuss, “If you never did you should. These things are fun and fun is good.”

*If I ever get on an episode of The Amazing Race (which REMAINS on my bucket list), I reserve the right to take back my “never”.


3 thoughts on “My Anti-Bucket List

  1. Hi Laura – I would like to address # 1 on your list. On my list of things to NEVER do also was NEVER enter a marathon. BUT there was this 5K in Windham which said “Walk-slash-Run” so I practiced and walked and thought I CERTAINLY could walk 13 laps around the High school track for a good cause. Who the heck knew that the “Walk” was listed in fine print under “just kidding”. I got to the track, feeling good about what I was about to undertake…silly me!!! They handed me a kinda official looking race bib. I have watched the Olympics from the safety of my recliner so I know about these things. I stepped to the side to wait for everyone to move to the track and for the Walk-slash-Run to start. I then heard a word that struck terror in my heart…course. What, what, I don’t know about any stinking course. I looked at the woman on registration and she said, “you can do it.” Huh!
    Oh, Lord, what-have-I-done. Well, she was right. I did finish the stinking course. Did they tell me Mt. Everest was part of it….noooo! I finished it, though. Swept in 49th out of 49. Okay, not so much swept, as limped. When I finally came in the gates to the track, the sense of relief and accomplishment was overwhelming until they said, “you still have to do one lap around the track”…noooo! But I was game, ie stupid, and kept going, how could I not and because I was dead last, did a quick tidy as I rounded the track. After all, if you’re going to be last, you should pick up the cones and signs along the way. There is photographic proof that I completed this race…which I NEVER want to see. Walk, run, there’s no diff…it’s all in the fine print. Smart woman…stay far, far away from ANYTHING with the words, walk-slash-run or 5K. Enjoy them from your chair, at home, like smart people do. Them folks be crazy!

    1. I LOVE this story! I would have thought the same thing – that “walk” meant “walk”, but apparently not! But still, quite an accomplishment, so good for you!

  2. I loved this post. Such a great spin on a bucket list! I’m with you on 4, 5, 6, and 10. The others I can’t be sure.. I might have to steal this idea, but I’ll give you credit if I do!

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