What’s on your bucket list?

By Melissa Martin, Ph.D - Contributing Columnist

Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman popularized the Bucket List expression in their 2007 film. Two terminally ill men rush off on a spontaneous road trip with a wish list of to-dos before they kick the bucket (die).

Nowadays, a bucket list refers to a list of things you would like to do someday.

Your list does not have to include colossal feats like hiking the Appalachian Trail, swimming across the Ohio River, or finding Bigfoot. These are not on my list. Never were. Never will be.

You can start with the smaller things you want to do; like reading a best-selling novel or slicing, dicing, and spicing vegetables to make homemade salsa for family, friends, and coworkers, or having a first-time pedicure.

I have a hankering to paint encouraging words on rocks and place them around Scioto County. The Kindness Rocks Project started it all and others put their own spin on it. Why is painting and hiding and finding rocks so trendy? Creativity is a form of self-expression and the process promotes feel-good emotions as you enter the cheerful zone. And the world could use more kindness.

The Facebook group ‘Northeast Ohio Rocks’ in Cleveland is sharing kindness. How does it work? Paint a rock and hide it. If you find a rock, snap a photo, post it on the Facebook page and then re-hide the rock. ‘Columbus Ohio Rocks!’ is another group.

Knitting and juggling did not work for me, but maybe I’ll try to learn how to play Chess. The brain responds to novelty; learning brand new things improve memory. And keeps the brain healthy.

One could write a couple of traveling goals like a visit to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington D.C. or the Galapagos Islands. Or find a friend with a boat and cruise up and down the Ohio River. Watch out for the bucket list swimmers.

I’m considering visits to libraries in all 88 Ohio counties. I’ll start with the 32 Ohio Appalachian counties. That may sound boring to you, but not to me. I’m rather fond of libraries!

After retirement, I’ll head out on a bus tour with the other oldsters to the Mall of America in Minnesota. What are the best vacation spots for retirees? Iceland, too cold. Sahara Desert, too dry. Maybe Belize, but no bikini in my bag. Participating in old lady yoga on the beach might be fun.

I’ll skip the annual La Tomatina Festival in Spain. Being pelted with tomatoes is not my idea of adventure. No running with the bulls either.

Carter and Edward (played by Jack and Morgan) go skydiving, fly over the North Pole, ride motorcycles on the Great Wall of China, attend a lion safari, and climb the Great Pyramid, among other activities. And like Dorothy in the Wizard of OZ, they realize there’s no place like home. Carter dies of cancer and Edward delivers his eulogy at the funeral. Edward reconciles with his daughter and granddaughter. Their bucket list adventure ends.

Grab a pen and paper and write your own bucket list.


By Melissa Martin, Ph.D

Contributing Columnist