Make A Bucket List For The New Year

This article first posted on this site December 28, 2008

Steps On The Great Wall Of China, June 24, 2005

Photo Courtesy Jack and Sue Spence

By Betsy Thorpe

The phrase Bucket List entered the language of popular culture in 2007, following the success of the movie “The Bucket List”. The film staring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman is the story of two men who after finding out they each have less than a year to live, set out on a journey together with a wish list of things to do before they “kick the bucket”. The movies message has inspired people of all ages to put pen to paper and list things they hope to witness, or accomplish in the course of their life. This is not a unique thought, nineteenth century poet Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote “Many people die with their music still in them. Why is this so? Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live,” this sentiment is also expressed in the 2005 hit song “Live Like You Are Dying” penned by Nashville songwriter Tim Nichols. Caroline Adams Miller a life coach and motivational speaker from Bethesda Maryland advises her clients to create an extensive itemized life goals list. She said ” It is not enough to react to life on a day to day basis, people need a road map.”

With the New Year approaching Nashville Past And Present asked two women from Bellevue Tennessee about their “Bucket List” plans for 2009.

After seeing the movie, Sue Spence “ made a very long list and much of it is personal and spiritual”, however she shared with Nashville Past And Present four items she plans to cross off her list in the upcoming year. To prepare for an April trip to China, Mrs. Spence said she has “concentrated on healthy eating and exercise”, hoping to “climb the steps of The Great Wall”, something she was unable to do when she visited there in 2005. To fulfill her wish to “swim with dolphins”, Mrs. Spence is taking aquatic lessons from Bellevue YMCA swim instructor Linda Burns, who specializes in teaching senior citizens. “She has helped me so much. I had never been in water deeper than 4 feet – never had my head under water, and although I am not swimming yet she has helped me tremendously. We are still doing the lessons but I feel with a life jacket I could go in with the dolphins now.” Sue Spence and her husband Jack are world travelers and making travel arrangements for long trips abroad can be complicated and time consuming. Mrs. Spence hopes to make a “carefree and spontaneous journey.” At a currently unknown date and time the couple will go to Nashville’s airport and purchase tickets on the first available departing international flight and follow where fate leads them. Her fourth item is much less adventurous, but will be personally rewarding, she plans to “learn to send email”, to enhance communication with friends and family, especially with her children and grandchildren who all live outside of Nashville.

Dr. Palace Pillow-McCuthen Ph.D., author of “Memoirs Of Faith” will mark off one item from her Bucket List in January 2009 when she attends the celebration and events surrounding the inauguration of Barack Obama in Washington D.C. For Dr. Pillow-McCuthen, who graduated from TSU in 1959, the swearing in of our nations 44th president will be the fulfillment of a dream she dared to hope for. She said “I always had faith that it was possible I would live to see an African American president take office”.

Watching the countdown at Times Square, singing Auld Lang Syne, kissing a loved one at midnight, eating black eyed peas and making New Years resolutions are all time honored New Years traditions and now, creating an annual to-do list is becoming a popular method of setting a path for the upcoming New Year. In the final moments of the “The Bucket List” Morgan Freeman advises Jack Nicholson to “find the joy in your life”. The movie’s message is clear, life is ours to live and we should all take time to discover our destiny.

Make a Bucket List!
Happy New Year!

The Bucket List ( from the movie)

Witness something truly majestic
Help a complete stranger for a common good
Laugh till I cry
Drive a Shelby Mustang
Kiss the most beautiful girl in the world
Get a tattoo
Visit Stonehenge
Spend a week at The Louvre
See Rome!
Eat Dinner at La Cherie D’or
See the pyramids
Get back in touch
Visit Taj Mahal,India
Visit Hong Kong
See Victoria Falls
Visit The Serengeti
Ride the Great Wall of China


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