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There’s a Hole in My Bucket List

I don’t have a bucket list.  There, I said it.

I hope this confession will not strip away my senior citizen discounts.  After all, it has taken me years to get here and I deserve to ride for half-fare.  But it had to be said.  Even if I risk losing my benefits.

Having reached a certain age, I know I’m supposed to have one.  In fact, just the other day a clever, but meddlesome person suggested an item I might add to my bucket list, then looked at me with shock and disbelief when I told him that no such list existed.  How could I possibly not have a catalog of unfulfilled wishes that must be achieved before I expire?

Oh sure, you can have a bucket list at any age.  However, when the days ahead of you are fewer than the days behind, the wisdom is that one must hasten to fulfill every last dream.  Who needs that pressure at this time of my life?

The truth is, I can’t imagine lying on my death bed, regretting that I had never gone zip-lining.     The truth is, I don’t want to think about my death bed at all.  Or about zip-lining.  The image of me hanging from a thin wire makes my shoulders hurt.

The very notion of a bucket list is depressing.  The term derives from the phrase “kick the bucket,” which derives from the act of ending one’s life by placing a noose around the neck, standing on a pail, tossing the rope around a rafter, and when the rope was securely fastened, kicking the bucket out from under.  Definitely more fatal than zip-lining.

Since that 2007 movie with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, the imperative to create a bucket list is so great that there are actually numerous web sites to help the unimaginative among us compile a collection of fool-hearty feats, places to visit, and dumb things to eat that may or may not actually bring your final day closer to reality.

Seeking inspiration, I perused some of these sites and found them very helpful.  My bucket is no longer empty.  It now contains at least 101 challenges I enthusiastically hope never to meet.

For example, I’m sure I can live happily for the rest of my life without the experience of sky diving.  Much as I can live happily for the rest of my life without knowing what it feels like to get hit by a bus.  I’m not afraid of heights, but slipping off the couch onto a rug is about as much free fall as I care to experience.  Ditto for hang-gliding, para-sailing, and bungee jumping.  I’ve already covered zip-lining.

When I was younger, rock climbing and\or planting a flag on a high peak might have held some attraction.  But at this point in life, the greatest physical challenge I care to accept is to once again be able to reach behind my back and fasten my bra.

I love sea life, but I’m not so crazy about water .  So scratch cliff-jumping, swimming with sharks, scuba diving, and surfing .   I have been white water rafting and managed to come away unscathed, save for a mild case of PTSD, so I think I’d rather not push it.

Despite the fact that it’s land-based, Zorbing holds minimal appeal.  Rolling down a hill inside a large plastic ball serves little purpose except to experience the adrenaline rush of a hamster.

I don’t want to get a tattoo, although it might be interesting to adorn my body with more color variety than just brown spots.  And nix the Brazilian wax.  Call me modest, but I think I’ve passed the expiration date for undraping on a nude beach.

And if I died tomorrow, I’m positive I’d have no regrets about never sampling chocolate covered grasshoppers, learning a new language, being chased by bulls, or taking tuba lessons.

Life has been good so far, and I’ve had the privilege of doing many things and visiting many places.  It’s not that I’ve been everywhere and seen everything.  It’s just that whatever I have left undone is far from mandatory.  And so I remain list-less.

But how’s this for an idea of what to do with that empty bucket.  How about filling it with fried chicken, and inviting some like-minded friends for a finger-lickin’ meal? And don’t forget the pie and ice cream for dessert.  If I could do this just once without food-guilt, I’m sure I would die a happy woman!

P.S.  Come closer and I will admit to having a single item on my bucket list.  That is, to be the oldest intern ever to join the writing team for Saturday Night Live.  So if you know someone who knows someone, would you be kind enough to put in a good word?

By | 2017-09-28T12:51:49+00:00 October 1st, 2017|Categories: Aging, Death|12 Comments

About the Author:

Born and raised in New York City, Susan currently splits her time between Florida and Connecticut. She lives with her husband, and the world’s cutest dog, Sam, a rough-coat Russell Terrier. Susan gives her audiences a sideways view of life on a range of relatable topics. Whether skewering marriage, growing older, fashion, the media, politics, or money matters, her light touch keeps people laughing – and thinking.


  1. Cindy October 1, 2017 at 2:11 pm - Reply

    Hey Susan

    Loved your latest blog. I too share the shame of no bucket list. Not that I don’t have dreams but let’s be realistic. Wishes for a happy and healthy new year.

    • Susan Goldfein October 31, 2017 at 4:51 pm - Reply

      Thanks Cindy. So good to hear from you.

  2. Bethanie Gorny October 1, 2017 at 3:18 pm - Reply

    Such a refreshing viewpoint. Thanks for that😀

  3. Sarah Bracey White October 1, 2017 at 3:41 pm - Reply

    I don’t have a bucket list either! And I have no intention of searching for a bucket to fill. My list is one of thankfulness for all the things I’ve already done and can still do.

    • Susan Goldfein October 31, 2017 at 4:51 pm - Reply


  4. Terry Levine October 1, 2017 at 7:05 pm - Reply

    Great one. Loved it

  5. Carol Makofsky October 1, 2017 at 7:13 pm - Reply

    I have no doubt that SNL would benefit from your writing! I’ve been a faithful fan for almost 40 years and some of their skits in the last few years leave me cold. They start with an interesting premise, but don’t know where to go with it. I must be getting too old for the millennial humor. Yours is much more clever.

  6. Bonita October 2, 2017 at 1:14 am - Reply

    I think you hit it on the head. How delightful to put it into words. Thank you for sharing what makes so much sense. With gratitude, Bonita

    • Susan Goldfein October 31, 2017 at 4:50 pm - Reply

      And you are most welcome!

  7. Brϋder October 2, 2017 at 7:32 pm - Reply

    There’s a hole in the bucket dear Suzie, dear Suzie…

    • Susan Goldfein October 31, 2017 at 4:50 pm - Reply

      Figures you would remember that song!

  8. Sharon King October 18, 2017 at 12:04 am - Reply

    Susan, I suspect you’ve been lurking about somewhere inside my brain. You have beautifully expressed many of this seventy-five year old’s thoughts.

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