Nora Johnson – What’s on your bucket list

A recent questionnaire asked several thousand Brits aged 18 to 65 what things needed to be done ‘before you die’. The 50 top answers ranged from “Visit at least 25 different countries”, “Find true love”, “Have a one-night stand” (both, presumably, not at the same time!) to “Try an adrenaline-packed activity such as sky-diving”.

One instruction, though (“Spend time with children, even if they aren’t yours”) could have completely unforeseen results. Think Operation Yewtree! Like leading you to doing time, and/or getting placed on a register – if the children aren’t yours (and maybe even if they are!). Facetious though it sounds, it’s nonetheless true that you mustn’t enjoy children’s company nowadays. What a sad reflection of our times …


Another response urges us to: “Treat each day like it’s your last”. Does this mean you spend the latter part of each day lying motionless on a bed? An alternative way of treating each day like your last would be, of course, never going to work. Or undertaking any of the above recommendations. And splashing all your cash on one final shopping trip.

But what a daft, contradictory list! If you did some things (those related to reckless spending, for example), you couldn’t do others (leave bequests to your family). Basically, all it amounts to is a recipe for selfish, anti-social, hedonistic/ narcissistic/ Me! Me! Me! behaviour.

Basically, I’d hate to know someone who’s done everything on the list. (“Stop worrying about money”. “Use money on experiences rather than saving for a rainy day”. “Have an all-night drinking session”. “Date someone exciting but completely wrong for you”. “Snog a stranger” and so on.) I don’t think that’s what a fulfilling life’s all about, do you?

In fact, we all know some well-off, pleasure-seeking types – and they’re invariably the self-centred pub bores. They often have difficulty controlling their weight, too. One of the drawbacks of the ‘Me! Me! Me!’ approach to life – and no doubt why the “Lose a stone” instruction was also included in the list. What happened to moderation, thoughtfulness and, umm, common sense?

Of course, I don’t deny a bucket list has its advantages. Having one can provide motivation and inspiration to pursue new experiences, try new things and achieve personal goals. It can help you sort out your priorities and focus on what you really want to do with your time, energy and resources. It can certainly help you grow and develop new skills, expand your horizons and feel more fulfilled and satisfied with life. And creating and pursuing a bucket list with your family or your friends can provide opportunities for shared experiences, everlasting memories and bonds.

In the final analysis, a bucket list can be a valuable tool for personal growth, motivation and fulfilment, but you still need to balance the pursuit of all those bucket list items with other aspects of life and to approach the whole thing with realistic expectations.

Well, if you’ve counted them all up and there’s nothing left to do on your own bucket list, you must have been having a whale of a time! So what now? Easy! Start another one …


Nora Johnson’s 12 critically acclaimed psychological suspense crime thrillers ( all available online including eBooks (€0.99;£0.99), Apple Books, audiobooks, paperbacks at Amazon etc. Profits to Cudeca cancer charity.                                   

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