Sunday, August 02, 2015

Developing Belshaw's bucket list 2 - what is a bucket list?

The idea of a bucket list, a list of things to do before we die, was popularised by the 2007 film, The Bucket List.

I was curious as to the derivation of the term. According to Wictionary, the term was actually coined by screenwriter Justin Zackham in his screenplay for the 2007 film, its derivation coming from the older phrase to kick the bucket. However, checking around on English Language and Usage suggests that the term may in fact be older, although confusion reigns. What can be said with certainty is that the use of the term has exploded since the film.

Part of this links to the modern concern with goal setting and self discovery. The Bucketlist web site (subtitled Your dreams made possible) claims 267,636 members tracking 3,560,512 goals. Here you can set your goals and get tips as you go along; get inspired with people sharing the same goals; and see how others are achieving their goals.

I have absolutely no problem with this type of approach. It provides focus and motivation. Certainly I have some major things that I would still  like to achieve. However, I don't think of my bucket approach in these terms. I see it rather more as the buckets in the illustration.

To begin with, there is more than one of them, reflecting the range of things that I would have, or have liked to, do over time.  They are somewhat battered and ancient, having been around for a long time. They are also presently empty, waiting to be filled.

I indicated in my introductory post, Developing Belshaw's bucket list 1 - introduction, I said that various events had crystallized a sense of dissatisfaction based on my own inability to take advantage of the many opportunities open to me. Very specifically, I worry about and sometimes cannot do anything about the big things when smaller things offer so many possibilities.

I don't know about you, but I find that the routines of, or sometimes the absence of routine in, daily life have a swamping effect.There are many things that we like to do or might enjoy that just get crowded out. That was the point of my smoked trout example in the first post.

I am not going to attempt to refill the buckets at this point. Rather, in my next post I will reflect on some of the smaller things that I like doing or might do that could possibly be placed in the empty buckets.    


Anonymous said...

The use of legal merisms seldom if ever adds legal effect to the document that contains them, and frequently increases their reading difficulty. However, the weight of tradition and the fear that a deviation from the established formula might have unintended legal consequences makes lawyers reluctant to revise the traditional formulae, and their clients, seeing them, at least draw the satisfaction of knowing that their documents appear to be written by a lawyer.

Funniest truth I've read all week.

Fill 'em up with soil Jim, and plant some small greens.


Jim Belshaw said...

I had to look merisms up, kvd, and in so doing sourced you quote!

Now your last is an example of what I'm talking about. Gardening dropped of the radar. Its only in the last two weeks that I have started mulching the beds to lay the basis for new planting. I HAVE NO GREENS! And your chair is very neglected.

Anonymous said...

Yes, sorry Jim - should have given the reference.

I actually got there from this page - - which led me to the "legal doublets" article, which I think then mentioned the merisms. Think AC might like a browse also, if she is into the weirdities of 'English as a Stupid Language' as Neil taught.

Which reminds me that I met a fellow recently with his dog - called "ghoti" - and he went thru a laborious explanation regarding its pronunciation - "fish". I was able to tell him that in fact attribution to one GBS is incorrect. He expressed surprise that somebody else "in over 10 yesrs I've been explaining it, had actually heard of it.

I walked away thinking there are more productive things to do with one's last 10 years. Which actually gets me right back on your topic :)


Jim Belshaw said...

You remain an education, kvd! Perhaps he needs a bucket list?

2 tanners said...

Thanks, kvd. Interesting and expanded my English vocab. Explains a lot too. Think about the traditional wedding vows as a total series of merisms, instead of dropping out tons of it and simply leaving in "for as long as we both shall live".

And therein lies the rhetorical aspect. A merism has poetry.