The Bucket List and the …

Hi. Barb here.

My husband I and recently went to lunch with another couple and the husband told this story.

Last year the couple went on a small tour, a multi-day cruise up the Hudson River. One night the evening’s entertainment was a stop at a riverside pub where it was trivia night. The pub was noisy and full, and a lot of people weren’t paying much attention to the game, or were only good a specific categories, like “sports” but would quickly lose interest as the questions moved on to other topics. Our friends and another couple formed a team, and they were very good, giving a table of locals a run for their money.

After the game, a woman who appeared to be in her seventies came over from the locals table to congratulate our friends. She said is was wonderful to have real competition. In the conversation that followed, she said she had auditioned for Jeopardy! twice and made it all the way until right before getting selected to go on the air both times.

“Well, you can always try out again,” our friend said, meaning to be encouraging.

“Nope,” the woman said. “That’s not happening. Some people have a Bucket List. I have a F@#k It List. It’s for the stuff I’m just not going to worry about anymore.”

I loved the idea of the F@#k It List. And really, as time gets shorter and you want to hone in on those things on the Bucket List, there has to be a F@#k It List for the things that aren’t going to make the first list.

Of course, that’s true all our lives. One choice precludes another. Time slips by and the hopes and plans that made sense at one time in life no longer apply.

A friend of mine tells a story of waking up in a cold sweat the night before her oldest child left for college. While shaking her husband awake she cried, “We never went to the Grand Canyon!”

“It’s still there,” he replied.

A lot of dreams get derailed by family obligations or the necessity to earn a living. Those often don’t feel like choices when we make them, but they are. Fortunately for the functioning of society, most people make the right ones.

When you’re young, it often feels like when you have time, you don’t have money, and when you have money, you don’t have time.

When you’re older, if you’re really lucky, things may free up. Kids grow up and go off. You’ve reached your peak, however high or not it may be, in your profession, and you can begin to think about what’s on the other side of that mountain you couldn’t see over for so long.

It’s time for the Bucket List. And also the F@#k It List.

For me, publishing a novel, and publishing a series, were Bucket List items for a long time.

On the other hand, renovating our old Victorian house in Boothbay Harbor went on the F@#k It List and we sold it this winter. It was hard to let go of that dream and if things had happened in different ways at different times we might have done it. But we let it go and I think we’ll be the happier for it.

So what about you, readers? What’s on the Bucket List and what’s on the F@#k It List?

About Barbara Ross

Barbara Ross is the author of the Maine Clambake Mysteries. Her books have been nominated for multiple Agatha Awards for Best Contemporary Novel and have won the Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction. She lives in Portland, Maine. Readers can visit her website at
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5 Responses to The Bucket List and the …

  1. My bucket list includes writing and publishing more books. My f@#k it list would be… maintaining relationships with people who are toxic and negative. I’m just not allowing myself to feel obligated to these people anymore. Woot! Freedom.

  2. Great post! I completely get the ‘who cares anymore’ list because my body and mind continue to conspire to make some things either not fun or impossible. Good thing I believe in reincarnation.

    • Barbara Ross says:

      When Bill and I travel, we always say, “We’ll be back.” Which is a way of reminding ourselves not to run around like nuts checking things off a list, but to slow down and immerse ourselves in the experience. How wonderful in life to be able to say, “Yeah, I’ll get to that next time.”

  3. Karla Whitney says:

    You bring out the best POV Barb. Thanks for this! – Karla

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