In Defense of the Bucket List

Just yesterday I read an article that pointed out what the author saw as a flaw in the bucket list process as it is often portrayed in contemporary culture:

As popularly conceived, however, the bucket list is far from being a reckoning with the weight of love in extremis, or an ethical or moral accounting. More often, it partakes of a commodification of cultural experience, in which every expedition made, and every artwork encountered, is reduced to an item on a checklist to be got through, rather than being worthy of repeated or extended engagement. 

– Kicking the Bucket List by Rebecca Mead

Personally, I think this is oversimplifying the process. We can’t know what goes on in the minds and hearts of men in the quiet moments of their lives. So they said out loud, “crossed that off the bucket list”? Does that mean that whatever that thing, that act, that item from their list was doesn’t dwell deep in their imagination or actively fuel their curiosity for the rest of their days? It could be a moment in time that sets fire to a personal passion that you, as an on-looker, know nothing about.

Or,… maybe it IS gamification of life experiences.

The best part of this conversation, I suppose, is that I don’t have to give a shit about what other people are doing.

On our recent trip through the Alps, I was able to visit several things that are on my bucket list. My list, which is very meaningful to me, helps me stay organized. It helps me to remember that there are things in the vicinity of where I am that are beautiful and wonderful though maybe less than obvious.

One stop in particular seems to have created more curiosity and questions about a man than it answered. I’m not quite ready to write about it yet, so I’ll leave you with this until then…

fuzzygalore giger bar gruyeres switzerland

We were in the belly of the beast.


Rachael is the whimsical writer behind the 20+ year old Girlie Motorcycle Blog. As a freelance blogger, she is on a mission to inspire laughter, self-examination, curiosity, and human connection. Girlie Motorcycle Blog can be found on several Best Motorcycle Blog lists.

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7 Responses

  1. John says:

    Having not read that article, my response to that quote would be, “that’s just silly.” It seems to imply an item once crossed of has no further value. Learning to ride a motorbike would have been on my bucket list and it is wonderful to have had it ticked off these 14 years. Nothing wrong with having a dream and looked like you were enjoying living the dream last couple of weeks.

    • John says:

      Right. Now I felt bad for commenting without reading it so, I read it. I get the impression the writer was excited to have an excuse to attack a certain individual though that’s by the by. Actually, I found a bit I agreed with. I don’t like the idea of someone making a list for me. EG publications titled “X Places to See Before You Die” which some how suggest you’ve wasted your life if you didn’t. I even saw a moto blogger post a list of things all motorcyclists should do at least once, suggesting I should want to do things I’ve no wish to do. To me, it’s personal. Please don’t try to write my list for me. But similarly, don’t tell me having a list makes achieving a goal any less satisfying. Thanks for getting me thinking Fuzzy.

  2. Rosie says:

    I like the idea of a “bucket list” or maybe it can be called my life’s to do list. It motivates me and makes me look forward to life. It also gives me a sense of accomplishment when I check one off my list. Sometimes I think it helps to send the universe messages so the wheels start turning…but sometimes it backfires on me and I spend too much time planning ahead and I take today for granted. I think that’s one of the reasons I like motorcycling, it makes me focus on what I’m doing and be present so I can enjoy right there and then.

  3. Canajun says:

    Well that got me thinking. Like most people, I expect, my bucket list is pretty informal. Most items on it do not have any deep meaning or personal significance, they are simply experiences I would like to have ‘one day’. I am certainly not consumed by any need to achieve everything on my list, and the list is far from static, but given choosing between A and B, I will usually select the bucket list item. And, like John (above) says, it’s my list, not something someone else thinks is appropriate for me.
    Curious about the photo though and looking forward to finding out where and what it is.

  4. Pimmie says:

    ‘Belly of the best’?


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