Bucket lists that are boring

I got super excited when I first started seeing bucket lists published online. Recently, though, I realized that most of them look pretty similar. Visit this place, jump off this rock or out of this plane, eat this food or stay at this place, meet these people, play this game.

What happens when all the bucket lists start to look the same? What happens when the lists that supposedly represent our dreams, our most creative, outrageous goals in life, lose their sense of adventure?

I guess I’m starting to realize (again, finally) that I don’t just want my life to be different from the average person’s life. I want even my bucket list to look different.

Like yeah, sure, it’s cool to be an astronaut – there aren’t many of those out there. But wouldn’t it be even more amazing to be something no one else has ever been before?

When Homer Hickam, the rocket scientist portrayed in the film October Sky, signed my VHS tape, he wrote, “Aim High.” And there’s a popular quote from someone that continues the theme: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”

Not that sky diving isn’t amazing. Not that living abroad for a year isn’t amazing. Not that learning that other language, getting that other degree, landing that job, earning that salary, buying that house, meeting that president, marrying that person, visiting that tourist trap, writing that book, getting a part as an extra in that movie, winning that contest, drinking that beer at that festival in Germany at that certain time of year – not that any of these are a waste of effort.

But they’ve been done. And as a result, they’re on lots of lists.

Not that everything on a bucket list has to be or even should be original.¬†But maybe some of it should. Not that everything has to make for a great story afterward. My ideal situation sure doesn’t.

Maybe some of the items should stand out, though, even among other bucket list items.¬†Climbing Everest doesn’t stand out. Donating $1,000 to a random charity doesn’t stand out. Learning to tango doesn’t stand out.

So what stands out? What makes an item on a bucket list interesting? What am I missing in the lists I keep seeing?

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