‘Kick the bucket’ is a very old English expression, which means to die. A ‘bucket list’ is a list of things that you want to do before you die. It’s now a common English expression, but it’s very new.
In 2007, the movie Bucket List, starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, popularized the idiom. It’s about two older men who are dying and go on a road trip to do all the things on their bucket list. Their list included sky diving, visiting the Taj Mahal, and riding motorcycles along the Great Wall of China. The movie got mixed reviews, but the expression struck a chord with people. Even people who have never seen the movie now know and use this idiom.
Bucketlist.org is a website where real people share and track their bucket lists. According to the site, some of the most popular bucket list items are swimming with dolphins, learning another language, and seeing the Aurora Borealis.
102-year-old Edie Simms’ unusual bucket list goal of getting arrested is probably not on this site. Edie enjoys sewing, playing bingo and doing community service, so it’s unclear how getting nabbed by the cops became one of her life long goals. Nevertheless, the local Missouri police department was happy to help. She was recently handcuffed and put in the back of a police car, but she didn’t do hard time. Instead, they released her at a local senior center where she was donating clothes and bags that she had made by hand.
Similar to the movie, ninety-one-year-old Norma Jean Bauerschmidt went on a real life bucket list adventure after being diagnosed with cancer last year. Her doctors told her surgery, chemotherapy and radiation were her options, and her chances didn’t look good. She said, “I’m 90-years-old, I’m hitting the road.” Over the next 12 months, Norma and her family drove over 13,000 miles around the country in an RV. In that time she crossed off as many bucket list items as she could. She rode a horse, flew in a hot air balloon and did little things like trying fried green tomatoes for the first time.
While Norma Jean’s bucket list allowed her to enjoy every moment of her final days, bucket lists aren’t just for the terminally ill. It’s never too early to start doing the things you’ve always wanted to do. What’s on your bucket list?