The Reverse Bucket List

The Reverse Bucket List: things I have absolutely no interest in doing before I die.

With thanks to Nancy Kho Davis, whose blog I follow at  Have a read of her list at

 Nancy nodded to MamaKat, who sends out writing prompts every Tuesday from: 

AL’s List

Sail around the world.  I never did want to do this during the 40 years I was in the boat business.  I still don’t.  I am perfectly happy hearing from Sven Michel on his 5-year circumnavigation in the 50’ sailboat I sold him a couple years ago.

Marry again.  This one is easy since I’ve already married the only two women that would have me.

Wear my hair short.  When you got it, flaunt it.

Buy a new car.  I have managed to avoid this all my life, and I don’t think I’ll have any trouble keeping it that way.

Watch an episode of The Sopranos. I’ve never done this, and it seems like a record worth preserving.  I’m from Jersey and proud of all of it except the gangsters and the smell of Secaucus.

Climb Everest.  I don’t like cold, and I breathe better at sea level.

Read Finnegan’s Wake.  I tried a couple of times and couldn’t get to the bottom of page one.

March for a cause or join a movement.  The only way I’ve ever made a difference is one person at a time.

Leave a big lump of cash or material things when I die.  Someone once told me that last check you ever write should bounce.  That suits my nature and my absence of heirs.

Wonder what my next life will be like.  I am spending all my spiritual capital on this one.

Novels and stories I won’t write: those with vampires or werewolves—too bloodthirsty.  Maybe I will do one with the occasional ghost or some other supernatural character with a nicer disposition.    I am not old enough to write about children or teens. 

Buy a yacht.  Thirty-two is enough.  Of course I said that after number thirty and thirty-one.  This time I mean it.  Really.

Buy a Harley.  I admire the machine, its history, and everyone who lives out their middle-aged fantasy.  In fact, I am not all that sure this belongs on my list.

I am sure I will think of more items for this list before it is published. 

I cannot wait to read the Reverse Bucket List of the regular readers of this blog.

27 Responses to The Reverse Bucket List

  1. karen wittgraf says:

    Read the Bible- I tried, a little bit- doesn’t interest me.
    See Europe- I have finally realized that it won’t happen before I die. I can handle it. Damn.
    Dance with “Zorba” (or the equalivant of) on the isle of Crete. Can’t happen.
    Write a book of poems- Reality again. I can live with it.
    Win the lottery- Never can bring myself to invest in it.
    See Sinatra live- He’s not here anymore.
    Meet President Obama- Won’t happen.
    Be content with what I can do.- I can do that.

  2. ewagele says:

    The concept fascinates me in reverse. People say, “it’s too bad old so-and-so didn’t have a chance to do such-and-such.” But when we’re gone what difference does it make what we did or didn’t do? …BEFORE I DIE just doesn’t make sense to me, as in “he died with his family around him.” Oh, great, so after he died he could be happy? The only people who profited were his family, not him.
    I would say it this way: things I never want to do. Period.
    So here goes:
    1. eat green peppers
    2. have another pet
    3. learn another language
    4. swim in a freezing cold lake

  3. michael says:

    Finnegan’s Wake put me into a snooze state at about the same pace. More than a ” I don’t want to do” it’s an “I no can do.” I once wanted to take my rather spry old mother-in-law to Paris for awhile after her husband passed. “I’d rather go to Mr. Rushmore” was her response.

    We did.

    • Colleen Rae says:

      I couldn’t get through Finnegan’s Wake either…

    • allevenson says:

      I’ve been to Rushmore. It was 30 years ago and the carving of Crazy Horse was a few miles up the road. ( At the time it nothing but a hole in the mountain. Today it is a 65-year work-in-progress and a 100 years away from something resembling completion. I’ve see pictures of it lately and it is worth another look. It doesnt rise to Bucket list compulsion but close.

      • Colleen Rae says:

        I visited Mt Rushmore in the 70’s when they were just beginning to carve Chief Crazy Horse out of the mountain. You could see the plan from the artist’s studio and look right up at the mountain where they were blasting out the rock. I don’t remember the artist’s name but his sons have continued to work on the carving. It is a colossal piece of art to undertake.

  4. Alan stowell says:

    Marriage, money, boats, women…..GOOD list Al!! I’m with you !!
    The bucket es muy chiquito!

  5. Karl says:

    I don’t have a bucket list, I have done it all..What a relief.

  6. Leslie Martin says:

    I’ll NEVER wade in a swamp; never visit the Florida Everglades. Burmese vipers? Puhleeeeze!

  7. M. Kaplan says:

    Although as a younger man I’ve traveled to other countries, in the last 10 years I’ve realized that there are so many places in the U.S. that fascinate me. Your blogs have inspired me to visit even more here than I have, especially since you seem to find diamonds where others find dirt.

    • allevenson says:

      The US has been my destination of choice most of my life. It is accessible, I can understand the language most of the time, and dont have to do arithmetic to exchange my currency. Our national parks are the envy of the world. Our great cities are destination for the remotest people on earth. And when you’ve crossed off parks and cities from the wish list the wish list, the monuments, historical markers, local wonders, of the towns and villages will keep you touring if you live to be 1000.

  8. Vikki says:

    My Reverse Bucket List:
    I will not:
    Swim in San Franciso Bay on New Year’s Day.
    Eat escargot.
    Get a face lift.
    Read Jane Austen.
    Go to “chick flicks”
    Play bridge on a sunny day.
    .Travel in a tour bus.
    Hold a python.
    Go back to Las Vegas

  9. Sheri Cohen says:

    What’s really fascinating is that things that are on some people’s bucket lists are on other’s reverse bucket lists. Like, I’m getting such pleasure out of learning a second language and another reader singles that out as an activity to avoid. I guess it’s our diversity that keeps things interesting all the way to the end of the line.
    Meanwhile, your list is so YOU, Al. I’m going to make one and consider what it says about me (or at least what it says about my current stage in life).

    • allevenson says:

      The comments on Reverse Bucket List Blog were as much fun to read as it was to work on my list. I hope I will get to see yours.

      • Bob Morgan - Payson, AZ says:

        My reverse bucket list of “never do agains”
        From: Bob Morgan
        As a sometimes keyboardist/vocalist, I will never again play “The Lady is a Tramp”, while the fashion show model is walking down the ramp at the Camelback In in Phoenix, AZ..
        Never sit directly in front of my drummer, when he sneezes, and his teeth bounce off his drum.
        Never again sneeze in my dog’s face at close range.
        Never again take a laxative the day before my wedding.
        Never again pilot a ‘tail dragger’ airplane, when the muffler falls off in mid-air.
        Never again dive off a 30 foot diving board, without changing the angle as soon as I hit the water.
        Never again challenge a friend to a contest who can eat the most Chinese hot peppers.
        Never again argue with a boss who sent me to a different destination in a different plane, when his plane crashed and killed him on that flight.
        Never again try to change a baby’s diaper while both of us have diarrhea.

      • allevenson says:

        Thanks,Bob, for your first contribution to the blog. If you are always this wise and witty, we will look forward to much more from you.

  10. Risa says:

    Make a list. Period.

    Nice job, AL. I follow Midlife Mixtape too. Fun to read what others say.

  11. L says:

    I will never say never

  12. Colleen Rae says:

    Things I’ll Never Do:

    Wrestle a crocodile
    Sail around the world
    Eat chitlins or red meat
    Raise hogs
    Marry again (I’ve done it five times and still didn’t get it right)
    Have any more children (past that age)
    Write books on vampires, werewolves or Sci Fi (I’m with you there, Al)
    Join the service and go to war

    Regarding things your readers won’t do – but I have –

    I HAVE danced with a boa constrictor (in a movie yet)
    Lived and worked in Las Vegas
    Read Jan Austen
    Learned a second language
    Ate escargot
    Traveled around the world and hope to continue…
    Written a LIST story from one of my lists…
    Keep on lovin’ MEN…

  13. Dave L says:

    I will never adopt a prohibition – see no point in it, Buckets themselves do not fascinate me – forward or reverse. I sort of like the way Al travels – have a general direction and take the roads that appeal at the time. No predetermination either way.

  14. allevenson says:

    Whimsey has been the driver of the bus of my life. I have made several uprooting moves that lasted a decade.

    But I do have a bucket list. The number one item for many years after 1983 when I took a 28-week, 18,000-mile motorhome trip around the country was to do it again. To do it a lot slower, stay a lot longer, and reach out more.

    I am thankful for the Great Depression of 2008-2012 and beyond for creating the circumstance that made the 2nd trip feasible. Sorry it caused so much trouble for so many others.

  15. daviskho says:

    This is a great list Al and I’m glad my post got you thinking and writing such wonderful words!

  16. Leanne says:

    This life has taken me so many wide and varied places – places I’d never dreamed I’d have been: Base Camp of Mt. Everest, Tibet, Kathmandu, the Himalayan foothills, self-contained cycling in Thailand, back to school to follow my (he)art, studying in a Chan Monastery, pilgrimages – including one across Taiwan – and being on Taiwanese T.V., many many wonderful cycle tours with incredible folks [Continental Divide through four states and three National Parks, Canadian Rockies, across Idaho, around British Columbia, up the Eastern Seaboard from Boston through Maine – around Nova Scotia and back an inland route, the California Coast…], being a mom, living a self-contained lifestyle off the grid surrounded by forest in the Mendocino mountains, blessed to take care of my ailing Mother and learn compassion and patience, crossing China, hiking over two 14,000 foot passes on the Inca Trail, walking by the world’s deadliest snake in a Panamanian jungle and not even noticing it until our guide took us back to show us, fishing for piranhas in the Amazon, mountain biking in Colorado, and even a short stint mountain bike racing, skiing many places – Utah a favorite, back country hiking with wonderful friends and kindred spirits, exploring Alaska, thriving while teaching art to at risk high schoolers, volunteering at Juvenile Hall (“There but for the Grace of God…”), survived brown nosing until I quit and became a “recovering bureaucrat” and taking two years to feel like myself again after nine years as a City Planner, riding on Harleys with the Hells Angels, survived being a runaway, a physically abusive relationship and turned it around to raise an incredibly successful son after being a single teenage mother – just to name a few, that I have learned to NEVER SAY NEVER – that it is ALL worthwhile and meaningful. It made me who I am, and if you pay attention, you’ll see the good that came out of things you, at the time, thought were not good. There are lessons in all of it – and the hardest things temper and transform us the most. They make us kinder, less judgmental, more compassionate and more patient. Thank you for your blog, Al. I so much enjoy it, and all the responses. I appreciate reading everyone’s sharing and journeys.

  17. Pat Bean says:

    What fun Al. While I’ve always claimed to be a person who “wants it all,” perhaps there are a few things I have no desire to do. But thank you, I’ll keep my short hair.

  18. Pingback: Do I really need a bucket list? « For Words

  19. Kristen Caven says:

    Hmm, I like the idea of a reverse bucket list.

    Since I have, so many times in my life, sworn I’d never do things and then ended up doing them (become a Bruce Springsteen fan, care about football, marry a man who didn’t like ballroom dance, go to Disneyland again, be a fitness instructor, waste my time weeding, care about keeping towels white), I could maybe, cleverly, use this idea to my advantage.

    I therefore declare I will never (ahem, crazy universe, are you listening?):
    – write a bestseller
    – see my musical on stage
    – hire a gardener or cleaning lady
    – speak at a TED conference
    – drive an electric car
    – leave this country again
    – get a doctorate (honorary or otherwise)
    – become a croquet celebrity
    – own a horse
    – do what AL is doing.

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