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What's on Your Bucket List?

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Self-help books abound with pleas to get off the couch, get out of the house, and make your dreams come true. A perfect (or nearly perfect) life just needs a measure of self-discipline and hard work, and is within reach for those who try. Regrets, many of these books suggest, pile up and eat away at happiness and fulfillment.

Realistically, however, a dream life is impossible. It's something to think about in the margins of everyday life, such as during the commute to work or just before you fall asleep each night. Most people can't write a best-seller, for example, nor achieve financial independence with some sort of start-up business. Responsibilities like family, a mortgage, and work naturally come first, creating a certain level of mundaneness, and which thereby puts the kibosh on pursuing these flights of fancy. The self-help books do get one thing right, though: the bucket list.

A bucket list serves as a "to do" list before you die, like learn a foreign language, skydive, or travel to exotic locations around the world. The list should feature acts of aspiration, which offsets the more boring facets of life. You don't need to live each day as though it were your last on the planet before kicking the bucket, but the list instead should encourage you to plan imaginative, colorful, and even daring acts. You should plumb your imagination, for human nature requires something on the horizon other than an endless monotony of identical days. What's more, the list doesn't need to be hedonistic. The best lists contain items which enrich the lives of others, too.

So what's on your bucket list?

Preview some of the lesson material:

Do you agree or disagree?:

  1. I want to quit my job and follow my dreams.
  2. Life is boring!
  3. There are many things I want to see and do before I die.
  4. There are many things I want to see and do before I die, but I probably won't have the opportunity.
  5. Dreams and life goals are very important.

Fill in the Blanks: Fill in the blank with the correct word.

  1. A perfect (or nearly perfect) life only needs a little self-(                         ) and hard work.
  2. Many of self-help books also suggest that regrets pile up and (                         ) happiness and fulfillment.
  3. In the real world, however, a dream life is usually (                         ).
  4. Responsibilities like family and work must come first, and daily life often contains a lot of (                         ).
  5. Many people want to learn a foreign language or travel to (                         ) locations around the world.
  6. The list should be (                         ).
  7. An interesting list balances the more boring (                         ) of everyday life.
  8. Yet the list should help you plan imaginative, colorful, and even (                         ) acts.
  9. Explore your imagination, for human nature requires more than an endless series of (                         ) days.
  10. In addition, the list can contain items which (                         ) the lives of others, too.

Post Comprehension: Talk about the following questions in pairs/groups. Remember to support your answers!

  1. What are some activities you would put on your bucket list?
  2. What are some popular activities that appear on many bucket lists? Why do you think these are popular?
  3. How realistic is it to write a bucket list, and then do the activities listed? Please explain.
  4. What kind of dreams do you have? Will any of these dreams come true? Why/not?
  5. Why is it important to have dreams or goals to work towards?

Google Search: Type "bucket list" into Google. Look at the websites, and/or read additional articles on this topic. Discuss or write an essay about your findings.

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