Dean's Bucket List

  • Buckets

    What is a Bucket List?

    According to the online Webster dictionary: a list of things that one has not done before but wants to do before dying.

    Accomplishing a bucket list goal doesn’t mean that you have to travel to the ultimate location, just go somewhere you have never been. It could be as simple as visiting a new park in your city or taking a day trip to a nearby town that you have been meaning to explore.

    I tend to organize my bucket list into three groups: local, national and abroad.

    This summer I have made a commitment to expand and experience my bucket list for Nebraska. I would even throw in western Iowa, northern Kansas or southern South Dakota.

    As a person who tends to love to be outside and enjoy nature, near the top of my list are floats down the Calamus, Dismal and upper Missouri Rivers.

    What’s the value of having a bucket list at all?

    The need for novelty is the fuel of creativity and innovation. We are impelled to create and change, even if we are otherwise comfortable. And nature has provided us with sev-eral drivers to ensure that we do not stand still.

    Doing the same action time after time can be dreadfully boring. One fall I worked for a seed corn company at a conveyor belt looking for bad corn; I lasted two days. I’m not afraid of work, but I was going stir crazy from boredom.

    In a worldwide study of happiness, Chicago professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi discovered the work-leisure paradox. When we are at work, we dream of being at leisure; but, when we are at leisure, we are not as happy as when we are embroiled in some stimulating work.

    What do kids do if they are bored? If you asked one who just got caught doing something wrong, often the answer is, “I was bored.” Apparently, any stimulation is better than none — even if the attention is the wrong kind.

    Next is curiosity. If boredom pushes us away from doing nothing, it is curiosity that pulls us into something.

    We are born curious and constantly explore and test the world around us when we are young. Often, over time, this gets suppressed under the disguise of being concerned about safety. Our curiosity suffers and so does our capacity to experience joy.

    Another is achievable challenge. Csikszentmihalyi, through his work on happiness, discovered one simple secret of success. The trick is to take on challenges that stretch you but where you have sufficient capability, time and other resources to complete the challenge.

    Example: If you don’t have an entire summer to canoe the Missouri River, canoe one section over a weekend.

    Having a bucket list is a determination to live a fulfilling life. You choose what goes on your bucket list because it has value for you. Bring it up in conversations with friends or family. Ask the question, “What’s on your bucket list?”

    It will be a great way to explore ideas and possibly inspire someone else to join you on one of your adventures. Or, even better, you might inspire someone to start his or her own bucket list.

    The Missouri River from above
    A ship traveling down the Missouri River.

    Fremont Tribune

Copyright © Dean Jacobs 2019. All Rights Reserved.