The Thing About Anti-Bucket Lists

Bloggers and lists go together like peanut butter and jelly. That's no secret. Bloggers love lists and bloggers love goals (guilty on both counts), so what could be better than a bucket list -the ultimate goal list? But here and there I've seen people post the opposite of the bucket list: the anti-bucket list. These lists are pretty much what they sound like: things the author vows to never, ever in a million years do. And while I get that they're all in good fun, they really just make me sad.


I feel like most things that could go on an anti-bucket list fall into one these categories:

Things You'll Obviously Never Do
Like drugs. Or kill someone. Or maybe something not quite as drastic but something that still probably goes without saying that you'll never do. Why waste time and energy outlining these things? If we all took the time to list everything that we would definitely never do - because it's hazardous to our health, or ethically wrong, or harms another person - we'd all have anti-bucket lists a mile long. But really, who needs that?

Things You Don't Like
I feel like people just put these on a list as a way of expressing their dislike for that thing. Seeing "Run a marathon" on your anti-bucket list reads to me as, "I JUST REALLY HATE RUNNING, OKAY?!" Okay, great. Got it. No big deal. I just don't understand the point of including these.

"Never Say Never" Things
I'll keep using running as an example (because it's what I know and the easiest anecdote for me to use): I don't know how many times I've said it, but I'll say it again: I have NOT always been a runner, people. Not by a long shot. A few years ago, if I had made an anti-bucket list, you bet your ass that "Run a ____ (pick a distance, any distance) race" would have been on it. Running has been such a life-changing experience for me because of all the things I never thought I'd be, a runner would probably have made the top of my list, just because I told myself that's the way it had always been and that was the way it always would be. I didn't wake up one day and suddenly love running, but instead, I opened myself up to the possibility. It wasn't an overnight process but, slowly but surely, I learned to love (and in some cases, love to hate) something I spent my whole life being emphatically against.

I know these posts are usually in good fun and aren't meant to be taken so seriously (and the irony of the fact that I wasted my time talking about how I don't understand why other people waste their time making these lists is not lost on me), but I can't help but think about how sad they make me. On one hand I understand that being able to definitely say you'll never do something is reflection of how well you know yourself. I think that in some cases, that's a good thing. Having convictions is important, and I think there are definitely at least a few things we can all be fairly certain are nowhere in our futures. But on the other hand, I think that making those kinds of declarations has the potential to hold us back. I think that's the part I just don't get - life is full of so many possibilities! Endless possibilities. And I think that to shut yourself off from those possibilities is to do yourself a disservice. I've spent many years being that person who is emphatic about what she will and won't do, and I've more recently started to be a person who welcomes new opportunities - the latter is far more preferable. There are plenty of things I might not ever do, or that I'll probably never do, or will maybe never do (skydive...eat meat again...have a kid, to name a few), but I can't say with certainty that I absolutely never, ever will. I don't want to say with certainty that I never, ever will, because I might just miss out on one of the greatest experiences of my life.

What's your take? Do you have a bucket list or anti-bucket list?

18 comments :

  1. I've seen some anti-bucket lists and I know they're in good fun, but I won't be making one myself. I've never been the type to say I'll never do something and you just never know what life might throw at you. I don't want to limit myself, so I don't really like putting myself in certain boxes. And it sort of depresses me to try to think of things I'll never do. Plus I'm super indecisive and change my mind about things every day, so I'm sort of a loose cannon haha My family is never surprised by something I might do anymore lol That's sort of why I'm doing the whole vegan'ish' thing too. I just don't like the idea of completely limiting myself from something. And you're right, you might just miss out on something wonderful!

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  2. This is really thought-provoking and an interesting way to think about anti-bucket lists. I haven't made one myself but I agree they are kind of sad

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  3. I feel the same way you do. Saying never just closes you off to certain experiences, and we all change so much throughout our lives that who's to say what we will or will not want to do in 10 years? Closing yourself off to change is the same as forcing yourself to not grow and, like you said, there's a good chance you'll miss out because of that mindset. (Besides, jumping out of an airplane is thrilling! I highly recommend.)

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  4. I've never seen a blogger post an anti-bucket list, but if I did, I'd probably skip the post. It just seems either dumb/obvious or close-minded and stupid. How do you know what you'll NEVER do? You don't. In fact, I'll take it a step further and say that those are they people who will, in fact, do those things. Especially the morally wrong ones. Why? Because they're thinking about it so much they wrote about it! Why are you thinking about a homicide? It's not even on my radar to write about it... You know? Kinda creepy, actually.

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  5. I couldn't agree more with any of this. Especially your take on the "things you don't like" items. I see "Run a 5k/race/marathon/any distance" on these lists a lot, and yeah, they make me sad, and they also seem....a little bit argumentative to me? I'm probably being oversensitive but when I see people using anti-bucket lists to just list all the things that other people do that they don't like, I'm just like, okay...but then why are YOU bringing it up to talk about it? It just seems weird to me. I too would have said 2 years ago that I would never run any distance, if you asked me, and we all know how that worked out. Why say never, and declare it and wear it like a badge of honor, when instead we could change the tune to allow new opportunities into our lives?
    So I just basically rambled about everything you already said beautifully in your post above. Forgive me.

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  6. I am with you on thinking that it is sad that some people say they are never, ever going to do something because they are ignorant about it or don't think they are capable of doing it. I think the anti-bucket lists can be funny sometimes if you have a jokester posting it and you know they aren't taking it seriously. But for the most part, I don't think that we should ever say that we are never, ever going to do something. You just never know what you might be capable of or how your views on something might change.

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  7. I think people should blog about what they want, and if that's an anti-bucket list then that's what it is. It's the choice of the reader to click through or to bypass.

    I've done some things I said in the past I'd never do because my views or capabilities or opinions have changed. By the same token I know there are some hard nevers on my list of things for the future, and I would be okay with stating that.

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  8. I've actually never seen an anti-bucket list. Although I've seen reverse bucket lists (which I've done). Those are things you HAVE done that would have been put on a bucket list. Kind of a like a "hey I haven't done this, but I've done THIS" kind of things. It basically made me really happy when I was making it. But an anti-bucket list? That is strange. I agree that you shouldn't say you'll never do something. Why limit yourself? I do like bucket lists, though. Mostly because I like crossing things off lists ;)

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  9. Wow I've never seen an anti-bucket list, but I am not surprised they are out there. A few of my friends have said they will never run a marathon, and knowing some of them they will change their mind (plus I think a few of them like me saying you can do it/encouraging them). I try to refrain from using the word never - ex. I hope to participate in a 70.3 one day, unsure about the full IM , but I know not to rule it out.

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  10. I laughed out loud when I read the things you'd obviously never do-- so dramatic ;) I totally get what you're saying and I can see how it makes you sad when people are writing off things they will never do. I find it sad when people mention things in a negative way, like they will never do this and if you do you must be this type of person. I'm totally not sure if this comment makes any sense whatsoever, but hopefully you get what I'm trying to say.

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  11. I totally agree that you can't say never, ever to certain things that don't fall in the obvious kill, etc. category! This is an interesting idea for sure. I think I'm more of a bucket-list type gal, although I haven't actually written one out :)

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  12. I have felt the same way lately! I saw an anti-bucket list post not too long ago & "working with animals" was on it. The author kind of took a poop on my profession, and while I'm sure she didn't mean it in any harmful way, I took it as such. I couldn't help it.

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  13. I used to have one of those 101 in 1001 lists about 5 years ago, but I lost it... so it was obviously very important :) The only thing on my bucket list now is to go to Europe!

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  14. buuuuut peanut butter and jelly don't go together. just kidding. but not really.
    if i had an anti bucket list, it would be something like 'never kill someone' but even that might not be true - i could hit someone in my car - knock on wood, of course, but never say never. life happens.
    it kinda makes me mad / sad when people say they hate running or they'll never run this or that - like it's cool to hate it or not want to do it. like we're not cool for liking running, and running all the races. we are cool, okay?!
    kinda like when people hate on cats, i'm like does it make your life better going on and on about how you hate cats and how dogs are better? no? well, get over it and stop wasting my time and hurting my cat loving feelings. haha.

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  15. I've never seen an anti-bucket list...although I totally believe you that they're out there. I have no bucket list. I get a bit overwhelmed with it. I do daydream a lot and play the "if I won the lottery" game...I think of things to add to a bucket list then. :)

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  16. I don't have either kind of list. I don't have a bucket list because I feel like I want to do EVERYTHING, and I don't want to be disappointed that I can't. I don't mean that in a defeatist kind of way either. I just mean.. there are SO MANY things I want to do that I don't have the time or resources for. Will I do some of them? Sure. But not all of them are realistic. Plus, my thoughts and opinions on things change so much.

    The anti-bucket list just seems silly to me, but then again.. I was the kid in high school who would tell people, "I hate tattoos. I think they're absolutely stupid, but I will never say I won't get one because.. then I'd be a liar if I changed my mind later in life." And guess what. I changed my mind later in life and got one. Anti-bucks lists are dumb. I think I'm going to make one, and the only thing on it is going to be, "I will never make an anti-bucket list." SO THERE. ;)

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  17. I haven't made either kind of list actually. I don't have a bucket list and like you I don't really see the point of an anti-bucket one and also because I just don't say "never". I wouldn't have thought Id go and enjoy zip lining but I did. See if I made a list that might have been on there. Or running and yoga. At one point I would have SWORN that I would never run or do yoga. I now do both. I don't mind if people make them but I just hope they are subject to change you know?

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  18. Listen, I seriously used to MAKE FUN of runners for years. I thought I was fat and out of shape and not athletic at all so I thought I would never ever run. And then one day I got inspired. Whether it was my dad & brother or the thrill of being a spectator at the finish line of their first half marathon...I don't know. But now I think people who say they hate running are crazy! Not really, because I understand that some people TRY to run and they just don't love it. Anywayyyy I think anti-bucket lists are a bit extreme because how can you say you will NEVER do anything, unless it's something illegal that you seriously just never will let yourself do?! I don't get it.

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