Living life to the fullest


Photo by Noelle Espino

Creating a bucket list can add excitement to a person’s life.

By: Gabby Cano, Noelle Espino and Jack Coyle, Editors

  On a building in Edgewater, Chicago, there was a wall titled “Before I die”  with responses inscribed in brightly colored chalk  covering the wall. These responses illustrate the personal goals of the everyday person, leaving one wondering “What will I accomplish before I’m gone?”

    According to Urban Dictionary, a bucket list is defined as “a list of things to do before you die. It comes from the term ‘kicked the bucket’.”

     This term is suspected to have originated around 1785, according to The Phrase Finder.  People of the era would often apply a noose around their heads by standing on a bucket and then they would “kick” the bucket away as a method of hanging themselves.

     An equally gruesome theory from World Wide Words suggested that the term bucket comes from “buque” which is the french word for a  wooden board.  Pigs would be hung from this board before being slaughtered, and as they struggled they would kick the “buque.”

     Although the idea of a bucket list has been around for quite some time, recently the publicity of the topic has been raised through media. For instance, movies have promoted this concept.

     In 2007 the American comedy-drama film, “The Bucket List,” was released. Directed by Rob Reiner, written by Justin Zackham and starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, the film raised the public’s interest of a bucket list. Nicholson and Freeman star as two terminally ill men who escape from a cancer ward to go on a road trip to complete their bucket lists.

    Along with “The Bucket List,” Pixar produced the movie “Up” that was released in 2009 by Walt Disney Pictures. This award-winning animated film is based off of a couple, Carl and Ellie, who make it their life goal to travel to the exotic Paradise Falls.

     When Ellie dies before they can complete this item on their bucket list, Carl is determined to visit Paradise Falls.

    The internet is another source that raises awareness of creating a bucket list.

    If a person ever desires to create their own bucket list in an organized manner, there are many websites available for that sole purpose. For example, is a site where people can create their own bucket lists and are inspired by the other users on the site.

    Currently there are 2,175,734 goals tracked and 124,063 members. The signup is free and people on the site can view their lists and even invite friends to join. If a person spots a good idea from another user, he or she can add it to their own list.

    Several of the most popular ideas include: going ghost hunting, making a wish at the Fontana di Trevi and swimming or standing  under a waterfall. Categories on the site range from

most popular, to travel, adventure, experience, new skills and family.

    Studies done by the Ketchum Global Research Network and Hilton Garden Inn showed 69 percent of people have a list of things they want to do in life.  Of those people, 83 percent have travel as their highest priority on their lists followed by accomplishing a professional goal and volunteering for a cause.

     “I want to to go to Australia and swim in the Great Barrier Reef before it dies,” junior Ally Carney said.

      Carney’s bucket list was created as a result of being bored one day. Now she hopes to complete her list during her summers. It includes skydiving, concerts she wants to go to and places she wants to visit.

      Everyone’s bucket list is unique and can be modified at any given time. Usually the activities on a person’s list prove to be unusual and adventurous. The study also showed that 48 percent of men and 28 percent of women include “risky” activities.

       The Huffington Post reported that on Feb 2, 2012, John Hughes of Butte, Montana, got in a car chase with police because he claimed that it was always something he wanted to do. Hughes led police on a chase of more than 100 mph before police caught him. He faced a misdemeanor count of reckless driving while eluding the police, and received a $1,000 dollar fine.

      Hughes dealt with legal consequences because he wished to cross off an item on his bucket list.

      Getting into a car chase with the police is a risky item to put on a person’s list. Even though this item is dangerous, the psychology aspect behind creating a bucket list can be positive.

      According to Psychology Today in an article published by Christopher Peterson, Ph.D., bucket lists embody what psychologists have come to learn about goal-setting.

     It’s considered a type of goal-setting, promoting physical and mental health.

      Kaneland High School Psychology and Sociology teacher Mark Meyer looks at the concept with a positive mind.

     “Most bucket lists involve goals that are outside family and career goals, but essentially the follow the same positive outlook as other achievement goals,” Meyer said.

      Meyer explained there has not been much research done on the subject,  and to see if the goals on people’s bucket lists were actually accomplished would take some time because they tend to be long term goals.  As bucket lists become more popular, he says he would expect for more research to be conducted on them.

      Bucket lists are also shown in a more negative light. In the same article written by Peterson, he talks about bucket lists leading people to overlook other activities that prove to be important because humans are focused on the big activites on their lists.

      With psychologists just beginning to grasp this concept, people are just beginning to understand the positive and negatives of making a bucket list.

      Items on a person’s list inspire them to do something exciting and out of the ordinary.

      “It’s important at any age to have goals to fulfill,” senior Ty Carlson said.

Carlson began writing his bucket list sophomore year; it’s comprised of things he wants to do and trips he wants to go on, such as fishing in Canada.

      Carlson has completed roadtripping with his friends to Omaha, and he scratched “seeing a bear” off his bucket list when he saw a black bear in Montana.

      With summer just around the corner, people have the opportunity to check items off their bucket lists, or  consider the possibility of making one.