Living Life to the Fullest

By Kassia Bernosky
March 21, 2012

What do you want to do before you die? If you had one month to live, how would you live it? What’s on your bucket list? In recent years these questions have become very popular with movies, Tumblr blogs, songs and television shows being made relating to living your life to the fullest or having a bucket list.

From the 2007 movie “The Bucket List” to the 2010 MTV reality show, “The Buried Life,” that taped four men traveling across the country accomplishing their bucket list and helping a stranger accomplish something they wanted to do before they died, many people have been prompted to write a bucket list and live life to the fullest.

“I had the idea for a bucket list in my head for a while but just recently wrote it down and began to accomplish some of the items on my list,” Samantha Shea, sophomore psychology and sociology major, said.

This past summer, Shea read a book where a character was writing a bucket list.  She thought it was an interesting idea and it inspired her to start one.

“I think part of the point of having a bucket list is to experience life. It helps you do things that have nothing to do with your career goals, things that are just for you,” Shea said.

Items on Shea’s bucket list include: learn American sign language, make 1,000 paper cranes, travel throughout Canada,  learn to surf, and visit all the castles and palaces in Bavaria, Germany.

Social media is also a building block for the bucket list phenomenon. Pinterest and Tumblr are  flooded with bloggers sharing and discussing their bucket lists.

“I think a bucket list is important because it gives a person little goals to work towards instead of just going through life with no kind of direction,” Shea said.  “Accomplishment is another big thing; being able to check something off of a list is one of the greatest feelings.”

Items on peoples’ bucket list range from small things like reading a certain number of books or traveling to every state and experiencing life in those places. Lauren Nickel, sophomore elementary and special education major, has also been working on writing and accomplishing a bucket list see the Northern Lights, touch all 50 states, celebrate New Year’s Eve in Time Square, make a difference in someone’s life, do something completely crazy and out of character, go to Germany to see if she still has family there and make sure her brother and sister are always a part of her life.

Nickel believes bucket lists are important and an interesting concept, however, until recently she did not have one.  She recently wrote down her goals, dreams, wishes, and aspirations one day when she did not have any homework.

“I figured I should write my ideas down so that I would never forget them. My ideas then turned into my bucket list,” Nickel said. “I am a person to make lists because when I accomplish something, the greatest feeling in the world, for me, is to cross what I have finished.”

So far, Nickel has touched at least 20 states in the Unites States.

“When I go about checking items off of my bucket list, I do so by letting some of them happen as well as I make them happen. I go on a lot of family vacations where my family and I see many wonders of the world,” Nickel said. “After my mom has planned what states we are going to be staying in, I go about looking up cool things to do in the area that we are staying. This helps me make things on my bucket list happen.”

However, Nickel is aware and excited that some items on her bucket list have to come naturally and need to happen on their own.  For instance, she does not want to intentionally make a difference in someone’s life.  She wants that goal to happen naturally.

“A bucket list can remind people every day of things that make them happy,” Nickel said.

Tyler McNee, sophomore finance major, created his bucket list because he enjoys having goals and accomplishing them.  He also thinks it is a fun project.

McNee has a bucket list of 100 items.  Out of the 100 items on his list, one thing he was able to accomplish was catching a fly out of the air.

“I have a to do list on my phone where I can check things off when they’re done and some will have to be planned but others are random like the catch a fly out of the air,” McNee said.

Some things he has yet to accomplish include be able to do a handstand, go skydiving, pose as a substitute teacher and teach a class, drive a car 200mph and take someone’s clothes at a public shower and replace them with something funny to wear.

McNee combines serious life goals with ones that are for fun and entertainment purposes.  Bucket lists can simply involve items that will make a person laugh.  They don’t always have to be serious.

“Other people should write bucket lists because it gives you a reason to set out to do something that you want to but wouldn’t have any reason to normally,” Shea said.

The movie “The Bucket List” the television show “The Buried Life,” and social media have given a driving force to the question “what do you want to do before you die and prompted many people to create a bucket list.

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Kassia Bernosky

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