Bucket lists are meant to inspire creativity and a lust for life. Reverse bucket lists (and this may be the first) are designed to take the pressure off your bucket list. Because, really, there’s only a handful of things you HAVE to do in life. Pay your bills. Take a shower. Be nice. The rest is up to you, and only you. People will try to tell you (at times, with a crazy eyes) that you HAVE to try something they’ve just experienced because it will totally change your life. Maybe so. But maybe reading Moby Dick or eating head cheese or going underwater cave-diving isn’t something you’d actually enjoy. That’s okay. Listen to that part of your brain saying, meh, rather not. Sometimes it’s liberating and exactly what you need to be living your life for you. Here’s a life-affirming list of things you’re welcome to try, but you never HAVE to do.
1. Sky dive. This is. like. standard bucket list fare. Even if you never had a desire to jump out of a plane, someone somewhere decided everyone HAS to try this highly dangerous activity once in their lives. Who is this person and are they still alive?
2. Bungee jump. No. You don’t have to do this either, unless you’re on The Bachelor, in which case this article is not for you. If you don’t like heights or springy things that make your stomach go boing-blarg-ugh, then don’t even entertain the idea. Even if you find yourself in a situation where all your friends are standing around while you cry, telling you you’ll feel so much better if you get it over with, you should consider whether any of these people are really your friends. This also goes for water-slides and roller-coasters.
3. Get a tattoo. I’m not saying don’t get a tattoo. By all means, get one if you have an idea for a design you think you’ll like for at least a few years. But if you’re not deeply compelled to get a tattoo, you just don’t have to get one.
4. Eat anything you don’t like. Unless you’re under the age of 10, you’re free to decide what you want or don’t want to consume from here on out. If you don’t like oysters, you can still be a fancy person. If you don’t want to eat a live shrimp at that trendy new sushi restaurant, you’ll still be considered an adventurous eater. But also, maybe a cautious one.
5. Go on Safari. Maybe you’re not the type of person who likes extreme vacationing. Maybe you just want to sit on a beach somewhere. Maybe you don’t even want to fly to your destination. Maybe you just want to sit at home and watch a marathon of Celebrity Ghost Stories. You are free to travel or not travel without judgement.
6. Get married. Marriage in theory is great — especially now that more people are allowed to do it. And if you want to get married, you should totally do that. But you can also live a life filled with romance, love and commitment without ever actually throwing a party or getting a license to prove it.
7. Watch “Citizen Kane.” I know film people, you want my head on a platter. I saw the movie, okay? I’m just saying, not everyone HAS to see it. Fine, if you’re taking a class on the foundations of modern cinema, you should probably see it. But it’s not like the world will explode if you don’t get around to it. I know people make it seem that way. They are liars.
8. Drive across the country. That’s a lot of gas.
9. Run a marathon. Why does everyone think they have to do this?
10. Take anyone’s relationship advice ever. No, you don’t have to listen to your friend who’s married, or that relationship expert with a sassy new book franchise, in order to find love. You can just go with what feels right and probably have the same odds at happiness.
11. Have kids. Most people feel the pressure to have kids, but not everyone wants to. This list is all about not doing things you don’t want to do. If you are someone who doesn’t want to have kids, you should know we’re covered, population-wise.
12. Visit the 7 Wonders of the World. See #5 on this list.
13. Watch “The Wire.” I think people are done with this mandate, but just in case, you don’t have to watch this show.
14. Do a juice cleanse. If this seems scarier than skydiving to you, you should not do it. Listen to your body.
15. Run with the bulls. This just looks terrifying.
16. Keep a journal. You don’t have much to say to yourself? Don’t worry about it.
17. Go to the opera. Not mandatory for the ruling class anymore!
18. Host a housewarming party. You know when you move in and everyone asks when the housewarming party is? You don’t have to throw one.
19. Train your dog to do anything. Aside from basic functions, you could just let your dog lick the floor for crumbs and sleep. He’ll thank you for it.
20. Get drunk. It’s fine if you don’t.
21.. Learn chess. It would be nice, especially if you’re in prison, but you can stick with checkers if you like.
22. Go to college. It’s amazing. It’s not for everyone.
23. Make Bucket List. You also don’t have to watch The Bucket List, but come on, Jack Nicholson? Morgan Freeman? A funny skydiving scene? It will change your life.