There was a time when one could look at an image of an exotic destination, an unreacheable lifestyle, or an adrenaline-inducing activity and dearly wish to one day experience it in person. Visiting the Great Wall of China, swimming with dolphins, feeling the rush of driving a Formula 1 car around the track. Dreams they were and, for most, so they remained. Were people less fulfilled because their dreams did not necessarily all come true? I don’t believe so.
Nowadays, people have “bucket lists”. Visit the Alhambra? Yes, that’s on my “bucket list”, you’re likely to hear from someone around you. Go sky-diving? You guessed it. It’s item number 14 on someone else’s “bucket list”. What at one time might have been wishful dreams have now been reduced to a prosaic “to do” list; one that resides in a bucket, no less.
I only realized last week how much I truly despise this recent addition to the collection of commonly-used English expressions. I understand that a “bucket list” contains the items a certain person might wish to see or do before the end of their life, or as the saying goes, before “kicking the bucket”. The problem arises from the fact that I’m a very visual person so to me, to “kick the bucket” means exactly that. In my mind’s eye, I see a person standing on top of an overturned wash-bucket, neck through a noose, just about to kick said buket away so their miserable life can finally end.
Where a dreamer longs for the chance-of-a-lifetime to do something out of the ordinary, a modern person creates a “bucket list” and ticks items off as they have been completed. A lifelong journey full of tingly anticipation versus a laundry list of stuff to get done.
Call me old-fashioned but I’d rather be a dreamer.