THE ANTI-BUCKET LIST

Outdoor Lifestyle Magazine - - Living District - BY DO­MINIC BROWN – VAN­COU­VER, BC

Bucket lists are fun - I have one my­self. But let me play the devil’s ad­vo­cate, and sug­gest that happiness is not to be found in grand oc­ca­sions and brag-wor­thy achieve­ments. Bucket lists are of­ten packed, not with ac­tual am­bi­tions, but with things we think we’re sup­posed to want.

THINGS NOT TO BOTHER DO­ING BE­FORE YOU KICK THE BUCKET

Bungee jump­ing | Sky­div­ing Hang glid­ing | White­wa­ter raft­ing | Wrestling an an­gry griz­zly bear

Adren­a­line junkies have a way of telling ev­ery­one to be like them: shout ‘you only live once’ and jump out of a plane. But you can get that heart-rac­ing, ter­ri­fy­ing-but-sat­is­fy­ing ex­pe­ri­ence with your feet on the ground - de­liv­er­ing a first lec­ture at col­lege, ask­ing your crush for a date. Those pro­found ex­pe­ri­ences count, too - what mat­ters is how you feel, not how loudly you scream.

THINGS YOU DON’T NEED TO SEE BE­FORE YOU KICK THE BUCKET The Mona Lisa | The Parthenon | Mac­chu Pic­chu | Angkor Wat

Stand­ing in line for hours, to see a small dark por­trait from ten me­tres away, for sixty sec­onds, is not wor­thy of your am­bi­tion. The world is full of won­der­ful art in lo­cal mu­se­ums and in gal­leries sell­ing the fine work of your neigh­bours. Yes, Michelan­gelo’s Pi­età is tran­scen­dent, but will it feed your soul as much as own­ing a dozen pieces that speak to you, per­son­ally, to­day, the way Re­nais­sance works spoke to its pa­trons? Be­cause you can do now what they did then - give artists the sup­port they need to cre­ate.

CLICHÉS NOT TO EM­BRACE BE­FORE YOU KICK THE BUCKET

Beach hol­i­days in Bali, or any other trop­i­cal par­adise | $1000 Broad­way shows | 13-star restau­rants that serve food in test tubes

Which makes the bet­ter story: ‘One time, we had a fancy din­ner in Man­hat­tan, and went to see Hamilton,’ or ‘One time, I at­tended a live per­for­mance ev­ery Satur­day night for a whole year - I know ev­ery theatre in this city! Now, the craziest thing I ever saw on stage was…’? Would you rather tell your friends: ‘I once dined at Le Bistro Pré­ten­tieux, and the $200 ap­pe­tizer was fresh Jo­vian cloud - jel­ly­fish, flown in by as­tral courier,’ or ‘I spent a sum­mer at the Ital­ian Cul­tural Centre, learn­ing Ital­ian, cook­ing Vene­tian seafood dishes - ac­tu­ally, that’s where I met your god­mother’?

You want great sto­ries to tell your grand­kids, sure, but a hun­dred small achieve­ments or ex­pe­ri­ences pro­duce bet­ter sto­ries - and way more friends to tell them to.

THE PINNACLE OF ALL THINGS NOT TO DO BE­FORE YOU KICK THE BUCKET Climb Mount Ever­est

If you’re a great climber, Ever­est isn’t even a tro­phy any­more, be­cause hun­dreds of duf­fers have been car­ried guided to the top, de­bas­ing the achieve­ment. The main route has scores of climbers stand­ing in line. Plus, you have to climb past the frozen corpses of your lit­eral pre­de­ces­sors. Se­ri­ously, it’s a hor­ror movie up there.

Life is full of scary chal­lenges, achieve­ments that call for great courage and grit - rais­ing a dis­abled kid, over­com­ing child­hood trauma, work­ing in an on­col­ogy ward. Your Ever­est mo­ment may come when grate­ful peers rec­og­nize your un­sung, life­long generosity. Not as good for your ego, much bet­ter for your soul.

Happiness, we know, de­pends not on the in­ten­sity of life events, but on their fre­quency. A year af­ter the lot­tery, win­ners are about as happy or un­happy as they were be­fore the big event - and so are para­plegics a year af­ter their ac­ci­dent. So, ditch the bucket list full of clichés, and do some­thing sat­is­fy­ing and mem­o­rable, right where you are, right now. I prom­ise you, it’ll make you hap­pier.

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