The Ultimate Bucket List


Yes. It’s on the list.



Yep. It’s true. We’re not getting any younger.

I know some might say bucket lists are cheesy, unrealistic, or just plain foolish.

Doesn’t matter to me. I’ve made one. Fact: I’ve posted an exact copy of it on my fridge. Also fact: I’ve only put things on the list that A: I haven’t already done, and B: I can’t just walk out my front door and do.

Because a real bucket list should be hard as hell to complete. Otherwise, why bother?

So here’s my list. Fifty items strong. Some of them are fun, others shallow, and still others straight from the heart. I’d love it if you’d post your top bucket items in the comments section. If nothing else, I can steal borrow your ideas.

50 Hard-as-Hell Bucket Stuffers

1. Go caving in Kentucky. As in way deep in the earth. As in if I get lost, the rest of the bucket list is screwed.

2. Write a book twenty books. Yes seriously.

3. Hold a four-minute plank. (Kinda stuck on two minutes right now)

4. Read the entire LOTR trilogy to my kid. As a bedtime story. Because bedtime stories should be epic.

5. Perform a meaningful charitable act. As in a weekend at a soup kitchen. Or ten weekends. Whichever.

6. Escape office life before it kills me. The dude from Office Space had it right. We weren’t meant to live like this.

7. Spend the night in a haunted house. Or a sanitarium. If only to know whether all the Ghost Hunter-type shows hold water.

8. Climb a mountain. A real mountain. Preferably something volcanic.

9. Be an extra in a movie. (Free food!)

10. Plant at least ten trees that will outlive me.

11. Make one of my books into a movie. Even if it’s a pitiful ten minute-long Youtube flick.

12. Wander the Scottish Highlands. Confound the locals with an over-the-top William Wallace accent.

13. Teach my grandkid(s) things to annoy their parents. (Need you on this one, G Man.)

14. Live long enough to see the Cubs play in (they don’t even have to win) the World Series.

15. Play lead guitar in a band. Even if for just one night.

16. Paint something stunning.

17. Eat Maine lobster. While in Maine. And on the same trip, eat Maryland crab. While in Maryland.

18. Try my hand as a quarterback coach. For kids.

19. Road trip through Sonoma, CA.

20. Be ripped when I’m 50. Wait. Forget 50. Be ripped when I’m 60.

21. Try every food I hated as a kid to see if I still hate them. (I will.)

22. Win a costume contest. While wearing something truly terrifying.


Bucket lists are hard.

23. Go to a Super Bowl (as long as the Packers aren’t in it.)

 24. Buy a dinghy. Wake up at the ass-crack of dawn. Take my son fishing. Return home at dusk.

25. Live tech-free for 30 days straight. No cell phone. No laptop. No tablet. No TV. (This might be the hardest item on the list…)

26. If space travel to Mars is perfected, I’m there. I want to be the first person to write a book about the Red Planet while on the Red Planet. If space travel isn’t perfected, change this bucket item to: drink a Texas margarita while in Texas. Those are equal, right?

27. Drink a bottle of absinthe. With friends. In Europe. Preferably in Copenhagen.

28. Completely overhaul my wardrobe. Because if Joan Rivers were still alive, I’d be on her worst-dressed list. Seriously. I’m like a twelve year-old up in here.

29. Live in London. For a week. A month. However long it takes.

30. Tour every major pub in Dublin, Ireland. Alone. No friends for this trip.

31. While we’re on the subject of pubs, build a ‘pub room’ in my house. Neon signs, futbol banners, stools, pool table, low lights, cute bartender. The works.

32. Start an herb garden. No, not that kind of herb.

33. Grow a Mephistopheles beard. Pointy and black.


Thank goodness for skull buckets.

34. Learn how to make wine. (Gonna need something to drink after the Ebola-pocalypse.)

35. Learn to play the cello.

36. Help someone else fulfill their own bucket list.

37. Shave my cats to look like lions.

38. Spend an entire summer living on the beach.

39. Teach my kid to beat me at chess. Bow humbly when he does.

40. Rescue a turtle. (You know…the ones who try to cross the expressway.)


Seriously. There’s a huge market for these things.

41. Leaving this space blank _________________________ for someone else to suggest a bucket list item.

42. Find a clear night and a place from which I can see the Milky Way. Marvel hopelessly at the sky and wonder it’s all about.

43. Find the recipe for my dearly departed grandmother’s homemade stew. Cook it for a big group of friends and family.

44. Kiss a beautiful woman in Paris. Corny, I know. Don’t care.

45. Make myself useful. Save someone’s life.

46. Invent a new board game. Nothing complicated. Something like checkers or othello.

47. Remain apolitical. Even if I make it long enough to be a crotchety old wizard.

48. Start the tradition of giving gifts on my birthday.

49. Try sushi.

50. Pay for all this stuff with a thriving writing career.


That’s it. I’m tired. I’ll start making this stuff happen tomorrow.

 J Edward Neill

Author of the Tyrants of the Dead dark fantasy trilogy

Co -Author of Hollow Empire – Night of Knives

Author of The Sleepers and Old Man of Tessera

Down the Dark Path