The Bucket List


Photograph by Connor Bleakley 

There are plenty of things to do in the summer; mow your lawn, get a summer job, go camping, work out, have a summer fling…

You get the idea. But as exciting as all that sounds, we know that things don’t always go our way. In fact, they turn out quite differently, because the expectations of enjoying a great summer has always been set one bar higher than reality.

Okay…many bars, actually.

So, it becomes mildly depressing when you log onto Facebook and see your friends backpacking across the famous Blyde River Canyon, riding camels in Dubai, or skydiving in Las Vegas; each of them crossing out something exciting on their Bucket List.

Wait…a Bucket List?

Well, you’re not stupid. You know what’s a Bucket List, but the real question is: why on earth would you be down to do something like that?

If you are not the adventurous or spontaneous type, you’d probably need some convincing. And I am going to do just that, because here are some reasons why you should do a Bucket List to make your summer awesome—with a capital ‘A’.


Figuratively, of course.

If you think your summer is going to be filled with long, carefree days of you and your summer romance running across the beach at sunset, you might want to throw in a few lonely nights with pepperoni pizza and Chinese take-out.

Because this is what really happens…

tumblr_nd9j4oh2N81r1xlqjo1_500You end up surpassing 7am everyday, playing that computer game or watching that chick-flick movie. Your nights become days. And your dinners become breakfasts. And suddenly, summer is over. And all that it has left behind, is you feeling more tired and bored than when you first started out.

The ‘summer hangover’ is that antagonizing feeling of doing absolutely nothing productive. And we all know how much that feeling sucks, because the last thing we want, is to be sluggish right before the new year begins. After all, summer is suppose to be a time for us to go out, do something and get our energy back, right?

So what happened? Well, we didn’t do anything. That’s what happened. 


tumblr_ndf1hoDDga1rcf4rko1_500Would you rather spend 100 hours working at MacDonald’s, or would you rather dive a waterfall alongside your best buddy?

Hopefully, you picked the latter. Because imagine that gratifying feeling of self-fulfilment while you dive down 20 feet of rushing water, screaming with excitement. And after those long, arduous days of battling your finals during the winter, you feel that sudden channelling of positive adrenaline; your breathing gets quicker; your excitement level is higher; your heart beats faster.

And the moment your body touches the water at the end of your dive, you finally understand that even the term ‘bad-ass’, doesn’t come close to describing how you feel.

So, a great adventure doesn’t have to be expensive. It just has to be outrageous. But at the very least, the experience that you get during the peak of your adventure, should be priceless.


Whenever my Grandpa shares with me something he did as an adolescent, the sides of his eyes would crinkle. And for a man who has never laughed since his divorce from a 30 year-old marriage, the only joy left within him, are from his memories.


Because it didn’t matter what he did back then. They might have been stupid things, but those are the incidences that can still bring a smile to his face.

When he was nineteen, my Grandpa was broke. He was homeless and he didn’t finish the last year of high school. And yet, he took it upon himself to travel across the word by foot, living off the pavements of foreign streets, and the generosity of strangers who offered their couches.

“I might have been stupid,” he told me. “But at least I was twice the man then, that I am now. I would get beat up by gangs and still try to spit on them. I would steal hotdogs from the vendors until they pulled me by my ear. I would run from the police until I could no longer catch my breath. I did whatever I wanted to because the adventure was what I lived for. But now…I can’t even tell the only woman I ever loved, not to leave me. And I wish I had the guts to.”

My Grandpa has taught me that some memories are good and others a bad. But the only memory that we will ever truly regret, is that of not making any memory at all, because you were never brave enough to try.


Seriously, because what happens after we die?tumblr_mtpisk9SdA1rpmarjo1_500

Maybe we’ll get resurrected, or maybe we’ll enjoy ourselves in heaven. Who knows? But life is a one-way street without any road signs, bumps, traffic lights or warnings. So that means you have the choice of either speeding up or slowing down. Sure, it would be ridiculously stupid to put ourselves in the face of danger, but however fast you move in your life, you will only go forward.

There is no U-turn. And once you’ve missed your chance, it’s potentially gone forever. I am not saying that we should go to the extent of jumping in front of a moving truck, but I am saying that sometimes, it is okay to be ridiculously stupid and child-like, if that means accomplishing something you really want.

Because if it is on your Bucket List to take a Gap Year in the middle of University, then go for it—it is okay. If you want to spend all your pocket money on Spiderman comics, go for it—it is okay. If you want to wink at your best friend’s girlfriend, then go ahead—it is okay.

It is okay.

Don’t hold back your aspirations just because of uncertainty, because then you’ll never accomplish anything.

Remember, people don’t make stupid choices in life because they live by the motto ‘YOLO‘. People make stupid choices in life because when they have the freedom to pick what they really want in their heart, they forget to bring their brain along with them.


Maybe it is kind tumblr_mkupzuNkky1snz22do1_500of paradoxical that you can get some direction in your life out of doing a Bucket List. Especially since reason #4 begs to differ.

But it is true.

When you create a Bucket List, you unconsciously start to chart your life. You become aware of what you have to do and work towards, in order to successfully complete everything your Bucket List. For example, if it is your dream to ride in and own a private jet, you definitely need to get really rich. So maybe you’ll study a little harder now and make sure you become the CEO of a huge corporation. Or maybe your great Grandmother will leave you a large inheritance. Either way, you know which path will work best for you. And with that in mind, you do your best to achieve it.

There will always be other things in your life that competes for your time and energy. And having a Bucket List will give you something to work towards and stay focused. If to complete everything on your Bucket List is your ultimate dream, then it may just give you the motivation to filter out any distractions, until you cross out the very last item on your list.

6. EVERYONE (ELSE) IS DOING ITtumblr_mihb00KYBX1ratpfwo1_500

So, why should you do the Bucket List?

Because everyone else is doing it. And possibly for all the reasons that i’ve mentioned above.

The Bucket List

One thought on “The Bucket List

  1. Cheng, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your “Bucket List” blog post. As students, I feel like we spend all year waiting for summer and then summer comes and flies by in a second. Creating a bucket list is a great way to plan out things you’d like to do and ensure that you do them, unless you’re a little too hungover haha.


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