Listen while reading
Download

If you want to climb a mountain, travel or complete other lofty goals, you have the makings of a “bucket list”. Writer Amar Mistry explains how he made his dreams a reality—and how you can, too.
Text by: Amar Mistry
Country: United Kingdom

s I passed the finish line amongst cheering crowds, I felt like I was about to collapse. Cramping muscles, dehydration and tiredness were all taking their toll in the last few steps of a 26.2-mile race. But after 4 hours and 13 minutes, I passed under the timer board—a full marathon completed! After 10 months of preparation and planning, I was able to tick another item off my bucket list.

A “bucket list” is a list of activities, destinations and other experiences you want to do before you die. Some people make them to ensure they do not forget about their hopes and dreams.

A fellow runner, Caroline from Manchester, recalls when she decided to run the marathon with me:

“I’d always wanted to do it, but never had a good reason or timing was never right. When Amar mentioned he was running and that by next year I’d have ticked off a bucket list item, it really appealed to me. I signed up, trained and now have the medal!”

The origin of the term is not clear, but it is thought to have come from the phrase “kick the bucket”, which is used to describe dying. In John Badcock’s Slang Dictionary from 1823, a man about to be executed is described as standing on a bucket with a noose around his neck, and when the bucket is kicked away, the man is killed.

A second idea, from the Oxford English Dictionary, is that the saying is related to the beam from which slaughtered animals used to be hung. The animals would kick the beam, known as a “bucket”, in their death throes.

A final theory, from the Relics of Popery from 1949 links the bucket to the Catholic tradition of placing a bucket of holy water at the feet of the departed, so that funeral attendees could sprinkle water on the body.

Each idea has at least a loose link, but language is such that it could be any of the theories, none of them, or perhaps even each of them. Nevertheless the term has caught on and is accepted worldwide. U.S. President Barack Obama used it in a speech in April 2015 in a very humorous way as a faux rhyming word.

In popular culture, the film “The Bucket List” follows two ailing old men that pursue all of the things they wished they had done in their life. Starring Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson, the movie also shows how the characters reflect on their lives.

Websites allow people to record their bucket list items and offer reviews to others who are considering doing the same thing. BucketList, a company based in Canada, has created a platform that has helped connect people from across the world who have the same hopes and dreams. For instance, before running the marathon, I searched for people who had run one, because much of the information about the races was from professionals. As an amateur runner, hearing from people in the same boat really helped give me a layman’s perspective on the challenges I faced.

Some people will review their bucket lists from time to time, perhaps when making New Year’s resolutions. Others will make the list and forget about it, coming back to it later to realise they have already completed a lot of the items.

“I’ve had a bucket list from a very young age, it helps with my life plan, you know,” says Rene of Guinea. “I’ve added and crossed off many, many things, and still [have] many, many to go—but the biggest, of course, has to be living in Japan. I spent six months there, and it was one of the best experiences of my life! Next, is the Great Wall!”

I wrote one five years ago just after finishing university and forgot about it for a while.

On my bucket list are travel goals, things to see or do across the world, including visiting Japan, climbing the Great Wall of China and seeing the Northern Lights. There are a few quirkier things too, such as baking some brownies from scratch or learning to salsa. Some other notable additions include playing chess in the street, paying for a stranger’s meal, and building a massive snowman.

After a few years, I came across my list and realised I had completed a few things.

Skydiving was a great experience, but it wasn’t as exciting as I had expected. In contrast, I had low expectations before visiting the Taj Mahal, but it was truly breathtaking. I was completely absorbed by the guide’s stories and with taking pictures—so much so that my camera-phone’s battery ran out!

I’ve also managed to ride a horse, get hypnotised and visit the Eiffel Tower.

A lot of people don’t even have a list, but just accept that some things are a bucket list item, like swimming with dolphins.

“Swimming with dolphins was a childhood dream,” says Jess, 27, of London. “It’s amazing how intelligent they are.

Whilst I don’t have an official bucket list, there are a few things that I want to do before I die, namely bungee jumping and skydiving. I’ve already swum with dolphins, which is the main thing I always wanted to do, and I’ve been lucky to have some great travel experiences!”

“I don’t have a bucket list—I feel as though I’d end up doing things not because I want to, but just to finish a checklist,” he says. “For me it would take the enjoyment out of it and ruin the moment; I like being spontaneous rather than having a plan. The closest thing to a bucket list item I’d probably like to do would be to live in New York someday.”

My next bucket list item is climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. After a friend announced a wedding in Zanzibar, I decided to combine my wedding attendance with a six- or seven-day trek up the tallest mountain in Africa. I drafted several other climbers, and we’re hoping to reach the summit in early August before a well- deserved break on the beach in Zanzibar. I managed to convince my fellow climbers by saying, “Everybody wants to cross this off their bucket list—why not now?”

Looking back at my list gives me a sense of achievement when I realise I have ticked a lot of things off, and it also gives me things to look forward to. It can be easy to forget about the longer-term goals when you’re thinking about how to progress in a particular career or field of study. A bucket list can help you keep an eye on your dreams.

Most Popular Bucket List Items according to Bucketlist.org

Swim with dolphins
Learn a new language
Go on a cruise
See the Northern Lights
Skydiving




feedback
nombre@ejemplo.com

Living life to the fullest


After 10 months of preparation and planning I completed my first marathon amongst cheering crowds. I was exhausted and dehydrated but I was happy that I finally ticked off another item from my bucket list.

A 'bucket list' is a list of activities, destinations and other experiences you want to do before you die. Some people make them to ensure they do not forget about their hopes and dreams.

The origin of the term is not clear. Some people claim it comes from the phrase kick the bucket, which is used to describe dying. Others think the saying is related to the slaughter of animals, which they hung from a beam called a bucket. And still others believe that the bucket refers to the Catholic tradition of placing a bucket of holy water at the feet of the departed.

Some people review their bucket lists regularly and update them. Others make a list and forget about it. Sometimes they go back to see the list and discover they already completed many of the items.

Some people don't have a bucket list, but consider some things as bucket list items. For example, Jess from London doesn't have an official list, but says there are a few things she wants to do before she dies, such as skydiving and bungee jumping. Swimming with dolphins was also a childhood dream of hers, but she recently accomplished that.

Other people, such as William fromWarrington, don't want to have a list. He feels it would take away from his experiences. Instead of doing things because he wants to, he says it would feel like he is doing them to tick them off a list.

Looking back at my list gives me a sense of accomplishment and it also gives me something to look forward to. It can be easy to forget about the longer-term goals when you’re thinking about how to progress in a particular career or field of study. A bucket list can help you keep an eye on your dreams.

 

Comprehension

Below you will find text comprehension questions. Read and listen to the text and answer the questions (we recommend you read first and then listen).

Living life to the fullest

Quiz

 

Grammar in Use

Below you will find PDF documents with the Grammar in Use.

Elementary: Prefix: UN

Intermediate: First Conditional

Vocabulary

Bucket List

Summary Vocabulary

Discover its sights, sounds, and tastes:

Travel and learn!

If you want to learn English TeaTime-Mag recommends: