Around this time of year, people seem to delight in posting their “Summer Bucket List” – a list of things they want to do over the summer months, perhaps during the school holidays. The lists typically include places people want to visit, activities they want to take part in an so on. It’s a nice idea and good for organising one’s thoughts on the subject. I do love a good list post!

Here’s the thing though: the term “bucket list” comes from the 2007 movie The Bucket List where Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson are in hospital together. Both have lung cancer, and make a bucket list – a list of things to do before they kick the bucket.

For those that don’t know, “kick the bucket” is a slang term for dying. They’re making a list of things to do before they die.

When I see people’s “Summer Bucket Lists” my first reaction is “oh, you’re going to die at the end of Summer?”

It’s not that I have anything at all against people making a list of things to do over the holidays; I love reading those posts, as they give me ideas and inspiration for things to do with S… but I don’t want to read a list that suggests you’re going to kick that there bucket at the end of the Summer!

I understand that the whole idea of a “bucket list” brings up thoughts of buckets and playing in the sand – as the graphic for this post does too. But it’s incorrect. Look, here’s a Wikipedia page about the slang term, “to kick the bucket.” And you know what they say: if it’s on Wikipedia, it must be true.

This is another example of a phrase being picked up and ascribed a new meaning to suit the user, without any thought for the original meaning. Yes, I know it’s only a small thing and it probably shouldn’t irritate me as much as it does – but hey, it’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to. Incorrect word usage is a big bugbear of mine. When people refer to “this thing pacifically” I want to stab them in the arm with a fork. When you say you’re making a summer bucket list… I won’t finish that thought but you get the idea!

Let’s think up a new term for it, shall we? A Summer Shenanigans List. A Summer Fun List. A Summer To-Do List. Basically, anything but a bucket list. Pretty please?

Vicky Charles

Vicky is a single mother, writer and card reader.


Julie · 19/07/2015 at 10:57

Oh it’s not just you, I could punch someone on the nose for saying “pacifically”.

    Vicky Charles · 19/07/2015 at 11:31

    it’s infuriating isn’t it!

JcCee · 19/07/2015 at 16:06

I agree about a new name for a summer list because I always think of that movie when I see a bucket list.

    Vicky Charles · 19/07/2015 at 22:11

    So do I! And it’s not even that good a movie!

Carol Hedges · 19/07/2015 at 16:45

With you on this. Never make bucket lists..though I do water the garden with one.

    Vicky Charles · 19/07/2015 at 22:11

    haha brilliant Carol!

lonestarsky · 19/07/2015 at 17:56

Agree completely, it’s something that bugs me too. I have a summer ‘goals’ list, mainly because I’m hoping to live beyond the end of August :D

    Vicky Charles · 19/07/2015 at 22:11

    ha I like to think I’ll live beyond the end of August too!

Caro · 19/07/2015 at 19:53

I’m with you on this. It’s one of those things that people say and I hear something I really don’t think they mean. It grates almost like a double negative. As you say, bucket lists are for stuff you want to do in your entire lifetime (although I’m still not sure I really like the phrase!) I just have a “things to do this summer” list. Surely that’s good enough?

    Vicky Charles · 19/07/2015 at 22:09

    It’s good enough for me!

Travelling macs · 19/07/2015 at 22:02

Perhaps by ‘Summer Bucket List’ the users aren’t implying a looming death for themselves but referring instead to the death of that SPECIFIC summer? I personally can’t wait for Summer to be born – it’s been too cold for too long in Australia. :)

    Vicky Charles · 19/07/2015 at 22:05

    Hmm. Not convinced!

Jann Alexander · 22/07/2015 at 19:38

Can’t admit to being a bucket list person, ever. But a Summer Fun list, now that sounds more like it! Hope yours already is, Vicky.

    Vicky Charles · 23/07/2015 at 09:27

    Thanks Jann! Our nursery doesn’t close in the Summer any more – so we just have Wednesdays and weekends in which to cram in as much fun as possible… watch this space!

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