Bucket lists can make retirement interesting

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The term bucket list, which is a list of things you want to do in your lifetime, was probably first used in Justin Zackham’s screenplay for the 2007 movie of the same name.

According to Wiktionary, before he had even thought of writing this screenplay, Zackham had created his own bucket list and the first item on it was to have a screenplay produced at a major Hollywood studio.

As he pondered this it occurred to him that the idea of a bucket list could itself be the subject of a movie. So, he wrote a screenplay about two terminally ill men who escape from a hospital and embark on an around-the-world vacation with the goal of completing their bucket lists in the time they have left. Sky diving, race car driving, climbing the Pyramids and going on a lion safari are some of the things they check off their lists as they go. (One of them was, conveniently, very wealthy.)

A recent anonymous and unscientific survey revealed that bucket lists are on the minds of farmers and non-farmers, both men and women, and travel is at the top of many of their lists. One participant who wants to visit Spain and Italy with her husband said that though they may not call it a bucket list, the act of having a list “helps us focus on what we think is important.”

Travelling to Eastern Canada, the Maritime provinces and Newfoundland and Labrador was on several lists, while a farmer/retired teacher commented, “don’t know if it’s exactly a bucket list … I hate to tempt fate … but I would love to see Machu Picchu and just tonight, I told my husband that I wanted to travel to Chile.… I guess anywhere in South America. Still, discovering all the beauty of Canada is calling”.

A retired nurse has specific destinations in mind.

“My dream is to visit my roots before too much longer. This would entail a trip to Waterford County in Ireland and Coatbridge, Scotland, as well as Fife.”

An Alberta woman said she would like to “travel across Canada, own a quarter section with a log home and a set-up for horses, live to be 100 years or more in good health, lose 10 pounds before Aug. 3 and find the right yarn colour to finish a Lego afghan.”

A participant from Winnipeg said he had a list only in the sense of feeling grateful for every day. And as for what’s on his list, it’s too large a world to limit your possibilities,” he said.

A Saskatchewan farmer said she had never had a bucket list, “probably because living on a farm is my bucket list. It gave me the opportunity to raise my children in the lifestyle I treasure and has allowed me to fulfill my passion as a horse lover. I would never have been able to afford the life of a city horse owner.”

A Saskatchewan woman pointed out the difference between bucket list goals that you can attain on your own and those that are at least somewhat dependent on the choices of others. For example, writing a novel is a theoretically possible goal that a person could accomplish but having that novel published by a commercial publisher depends on many factors out of the writer’s control.

Those who study these issues seem to agree that it’s a good idea to divide your list into categories, such as adventure, career and finance, charity, creativity, education and family.

A once-in-a-lifetime vacation with family could be on a list under “family,” learning a foreign language would fall under “education” and completing an estate plan could tick off both the “finance” and “family” boxes.

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