What is the Bucket List {and why every senior should have one}

What is the Bucket List {and why every senior should have one}

So what is the bucket list and why every senior should have one? I’m sure most people have heard the slang term kick the bucket. It’s a more lighthearted way of describing death. It follows then that the bucket list comprises things people want to do before they die.

The term was coined by American and British screenwriter Justin Zackam in his screenplay for the 2007 film The Bucket List. So as you can see, the term is relatively new. It was made famous in part by the excellent roles American actors Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman played in the film.


A bucket list can include any number of things, but more often than not it involves one of two things. A bucket list of places to travel to before death is perhaps the biggest one. It’s followed closely by a bucket list of things a person would like to experience before they die.

It’s mostly baby-boomers who are acting out their bucket list.

In many cases, the bucket list choices can be downright dangerous. Often in their haste to complete something on their bucket list seniors will be ill-prepared for the possible consequences.

What is a bucket list and why every senior should have one
Watch out for that first step.


Sky-diving is one of the favorites and can be found on many bucket lists, but it can be risky. Just ask the 80-year-old woman who got a little nervous as she stood in the door of the plane getting ready to jump.

Although it was a tandem jump, she slipped partially out of her harness and had to hang on for dear life with just her feet caught in the harness as the two of them plummeted toward the ground.

Thankfully her instructor managed to get them both down safely once the chute opened. All they had was a few scrapes and bruises from the landing.

Not to be deterred, the senior woman is still working on her bucket list and most recently rode shotgun in a NASCAR vehicle on a California racetrack

Then there was the Missouri senior who always wanted to ride a motorcycle. Minutes after he bought it, he crashed in the parking lot and had multiple injuries.

One 56-year-old had a lifelong dream of riding a bull, so he put it on his bucket list. The 1000-pound bull started bucking before even exiting the pen and the result for the adventure-seeker was two broken ankles and a broken arm.

What is the Bucket List {and why every senior should have one}
Sure. Go ahead. Get on that bull and send me a picture. Or in the event of your death have someone else send it.


If your bucket list is full of adventures you have never attempted, it’s critical to make sure you are well-prepared to take them on. After all, most things people put on their bucket lists are simply hobbies. The problem is, that a hobby might far exceed their level of physical and technical skills.

Sky-diving and mountain climbing might be hobbies for some people, but they have spent years learning all there is to know about their passion. Seniors just want to get in there and do it with very little idea of what they are getting themselves into.

For example, bull-riders don’t think about if they will get injured, they think about when they will get injured, because seldom does a bull-rider go through a career without getting injured. If someone inexperienced decides to jump on the back a half-ton bull with just some elementary instruction, it’s taking a huge risk.


As the years begin to fly by, many seniors are suddenly in a rush to do all the things on their bucket list. That’s great, but the key is to put in the time to ensure they are technically and physically prepared. Baby-boomers are often weekend warriors who grew up in the age of aerobics and jogging, but if they indent to push the envelope, they will have to put the time in.

For instance, many seniors decide they want to run a marathon or do a triathlon for the first time. I can say from experience having run over 30 marathons, about 100 10k races, and 11 Ironman Triathlons that these are two bucket list items that will take some dedicated training and preparation.

What is the Bucket List {and why every senior should have one}
Is there a marathon on your bucket list? Put in the training and don’t rush it.

Seniors who rush into these two sports often end up with injuries. They go all out to get in shape and in their rush to finish training end up with knee injuries, Plantar Fasciitis, or Achilles tendon problems. These are fairly debilitating injuries and it will be some time before they will be able to stroke running and triathlon off of their bucket list.

The concept is excellent. After all, if they train properly they are doing wonders for their quality of life and longevity down the road. They have the opportunity to learn how a proper diet is just as important as exercising in preparation for their big day.

They just have to harness that enthusiasm and be willing to put in the necessary training time to ensure they stay injury-free and ultimately enjoy their bucket list experience.

Chances are, they will enjoy running or triathlon so much, that it will become something that will be part of their life for years.


There is no shortage of adventures in the world for seniors to include on their bucket list. Some don’t require a lot of training and some do.

What is the Bucket List {and why every senior should have one}
This could be you!


This is a great example of a bucket list item that will take sufficient training before you get to try it. There is no way you can just strap on a scuba tank and head down into the depths with no instruction.

That being said, it’s an excellent choice for a bucket list. Like everyone else, you will be required to get your PADI membership. The Professional Association of Diving Instructors is a recreational diving membership and diver training organization.

It was founded in 1966 and much like getting a driver’s license before you can drive, scuba diving requires a license before you can dive.

The PADI open water diver course is the first diving certification course you can enroll in to become a fully certified diver.


Nobody can stop you from rock climbing, but there is certainly skill needed and inherent danger involved. There is also special climbing gear configured specifically for rock climbing.

You will need the right clothing, climbing harness, rubber-soled climbing shoes, chalk and chalk bag, Helmet, Rope, and Carabiner for starters.

After you have all that, you will need to get proper instruction before you head for the hills.


What is the Bucket List {and why every senior should have one}
See how happy she looks. Quick! Put it on your list! You can be a happy bungee-jumper too.

There is of course pre-jump and zipline instruction, but it does not require weeks of training. Basically, you show up and follow a set pre-jump routine.

For bungee-jumping:

  • Sign in with the outfitter
  • You will have to be weighed
  • Make your way to the top of the jump
  • Listen to the instructors
  • Understand that fear is normal
  • Jump with a staff member yells Go!
  • Scratch it off your bucket list.

Ziplining does not require special training. Before you go, make sure to find out what type of clothes are best and listen to your instructor and you are on your way!


It’s a great idea for seniors to have a bucket list and I believe every senior should have one. It’s an excellent way to inject some excitement into your life.

Completing all the items in your bucket list means you have learned new skills, made new friends, and have compiled a host of memories and stories to talk about.

The important thing is to fully understand that some bucket list items require specific training before they are attempted.

If you want to run a marathon or 10k race, or perhaps take part in a triathlon, be sure to leave time to train properly. These are impact sports that can lead to injury if you try to rush and do too much too soon.

There are also bucket list favorites like sky-diving or hang-gliding that comes with a certain amount of risk even if you are fully trained. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, it just means that you should be aware that sometimes accidents happen.

So now you have your question answered. What is a bucket list and why every senior should have one? Now start filling that bucket.

If you would like to share your thoughts on this topic feel free to make a comment at the bottom of this page.


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