Too Many Things To Do Before I Die

I was leafing through the latest catalog of Bas Bleu (the Champion of the Little Odd Book) and came across the book “Fifty Places To Go Birding Before You Die”  and my first thought was “Really?!?”

I guess the whole trend of books about “X Things To Do/See/Go Before You Die” have always sort of bothered me starting with the granddaddy, 1,000 Places to See Before You Die (1) .  I’m sure it’s a very nice collection of interesting places, but there’s something judgmental about the titles that I find off-putting, even to the point of being distasteful.  I feel like these books are cynically saying that if you want your life to be a “success”, you have to get certain things “done” – checked off the big list – or somehow you’ve lost the game (2).  What if I got hit by a bus after seeing #999 – can you IMAGINE the frustration!?!?
I thought about some of the things in life I really enjoy and whether they had “before you die” books.  As you might guess, there were plenty:
Music?  Yep.
Books?  Sure.
Food?  You betcha
Hiking?  Start walking
And there were plenty more about things I cared less about.  I find it all vaguely depressing.  As if peoples’ lives aren’t already too busy and over-scheduled – now we have to worry about whether we’re “missing out” because we might go on vacation somewhere that’s not on a list or God forbid, go back somewhere more than once.
Although going through all this has made me pretty aware that there’s a pretty strong market for these sorts of books and it got me thinking that maybe there’s one or two that I might be able to capitalize on:
  • 1000 Mindless Blog Post Topics to Opine on Before You Die
  • 100 Reagents to Use in Chemical Reactions Before You Die
  • 10001 Baffling X-Files, Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, Buffy Quotes to Slip into Everyday Conversation Before You Die
  • 20000 Different Curses to Hurl at the Philadelphia Eagles Before You Die (3)
Do these books get under your skin too, or am I just turning into an old, crotchety man (4)? Do you guys have any other suggestions for new titles?
(1) Apparently, people are doing pretty well at knocking things off the list because last fall there was a new collection of 1000 MORE places to go…
(2) I also really dislike when vacationers said they “did” places… oh, we “did” Paris and the Louvre, and then we “did” London, and we “did” Buckingham Palace, etc.  It suggests that visiting these places were some sort of honey-do list that needed to be accomplished over the weekend.
(3) Already complete.
(4) Not necessarily mutually exclusive answers.

Read and post comments

|

Send to a friend

Advertisements

30 thoughts on “Too Many Things To Do Before I Die

  1. I, of course, think you should totally do the whole "baffling quotes" one…I do that now anyway. I get lots of strange looks because I just am not around enough cool people…

  2. OMG, this is so true. These checklists almost assume that these places will mean the same thing to everyone. And that transformative experiences are just about what you're seeing, rather than what you're actually experiencing. But, of course I'll admit I like making and reading checklists from time to time, for the heck of it. Maybe there's a sense of satisfaction that comes from renumerating your own "top" experiences.

  3. 1,000 Lost mysteries that have us confused week after week.
    I like the idea of lists, but not of "you HAVE to do this" lists. Suggested Places To Go That May Or May Not Be Tailored To Your Individual Traveling Preferences would be a better title.

  4. I detest lists, I like to live too spontaneous to ever want to be tied to any kind of list. Some of the most fun times of my life have been unplanned spur of the moment gatherings, ideas, or things to do. About the only list I keep are for things I need from the store and I usually deviate from it.

  5. Typical of contradictory me, I will never heed someone else's list of "have-to's", because as soon as they say I have to, my rebellious streak kicks in and says, "just watch me NOT do that, and still have a great life". However, I do have my OWN list of things I want to do, places I want to see, wine I want to drink, before I die. Perhaps it should always be a more personal thing, rather than a "do it because I say it will make you a great life" directive.

  6. i didn't realize there were so many of those books! sheesh.
    my lists are generally much, much shorter. and most of my lists are already crossed off. hehe.
    i also hate it when people say that they "did" a location. although, then i start thinking about "debbie does dallas" or something and that just makes me laugh. hehe.

  7. I guess the whole trend of books about “X Things To Do/See/Go Before You Die” have always sort of bothered me starting with the granddaddy, 1,000 Places to See Before You DieSorry, Steve, but the trend really started with that Veddic best-seller 64 Sexual Positions To Try Before You are Reincarnated 10001 Baffling X-Files, Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, Buffy Quotes to Slip into Everyday Conversation Before You DieYou forgot the companion volume: 10001 Monty Python References That will Get You Killed (Nigh!)Do these books get under your skin too, or am I just turning into an old, crotchety man ?My take is that they can offer some interesting perspective but are rarely worth buying or following. To me, they are like cookbooks: full of interesting recipes that I may or may not follow and that can often inspire an experience that everyone enjoys (whether or not they've eaten at my table before).John

  8. And definitely could happen in this city with the way the bus drivers careen around like mad men. I had quite an adventurous ride yesterday…never a dull moment (or good smelling one) on the bus.

  9. Hasn't everyone done paris. Oh, you mean the city.
    I think I have done the qoute one already, whoo hoo. That's right, I'm the big bad!
    Why do anything anyone else puts on a list. Make your own bucket list and do what you want.
    I will write a pamphlet for the 1 place to see 1,000 times before you die.

  10. My best friend from HS and I have been accused of having conversations that are essentially in code — usually the accusation comes from significant others that feel excluded because they don't get the references… :)

  11. Suggested Places To Go That May Or May Not Be Tailored To Your Individual Traveling PreferencesI completely agree (though you might have to use a smaller font on the cover…) — or even So-and-So's Top100 movies or places or whatever. I don't mind the list-making — it's the air of absolutism that I find so annoying.

  12. Grandma-P — really this post made me think about my folks. Neither went to college, never ate fancy food and we never had much money and we went to Cape May on Sundays in the summer — so by all the measures of these books, my folks were unsuccessful — but they were happier and more fulfilled in life than anyone I ever knew.

  13. BBL — I think I really bristle with "don't tell me what to do" sentiment at these books too, because they don't come off as suggestions — which I think are wonderful, but like you said as have to do's. Also they reduce things that should be joyful into yet another thing to polish off.

  14. John — I'd forgotten to give the appropriate reference! I'm surprised someone hasn't repackaged it with that revised title! (Actually I bet someone has, it's just filtered off of Amazon…).

  15. I will write a pamphlet for the 1 place to see 1,000 times before you die.Now THAT would be completely awesome!Also, maybe you could write the 100 Martial Arts Moves To Use to Defeat a Toddler (before you die)… :)

  16. Hum – A book on a thousand reasons why we should not live by list. Just a thought. Hey, maybe people would not be so stressed. I'm sure there are people that would be stressed without a list.

  17. dude, nothing more depressing than thinking your life is boring and less than because you haven't climbed a mountain or hiked the grand cayon or had that $100 glass of champagne. Life simply IS. It is what it IS! As long as one lives true every day, and lives happily, and your joy is perhaps watching the sun rise and is your muse, then so be it. My life is complicated enough without wondering if I have lived another's expectations.

  18. The one that annoys me is the 100 books list thing that you should have read. Who decides that anyway. Some pretentious wanker by the look of it. Sure I've read a fair few of them but I also like to sit on the beach and read trash.
    God, I can't stand book snobs.

  19. John — I'd forgotten to give the appropriate reference! I'm surprised someone hasn't repackaged it with that revised title! (Actually I bet someone has, it's just filtered off of Amazon…).Not with that title, but would you settle for a pop-up version?Also, do you think teens today still quote Monty Python the way that we (I mean those other nerd kids over there) did? It certainly seems to have been supplanted in the teen-nerd-geek mindset. Well, my nephew and his friends all started grooving to Monty Python once as they discovered that British humor has nekkid naughty bits in it…John

  20. cat — i look at those lists and sometimes think "oh, I should be a better read person" — and I try one. That's usually enough to put me off the list for a while!

  21. I was thinking about the books under skin thing. I hate books about how to basically make yourself look better with lots of make-up and the right colour clothes. My mom had one by one of the actresses in Dallas (Victoria Principal?). Even at 12 I knew it was bollocks. How women make themselves up and what they wear is their business. Usually it's the rule breakers and individualists that look the best and have the most cool sexiness (Angelina Jolie, Missy Elliott, Dame Judy Dench, Lucy Liu, Joan Jett). Or that how to live longer crap. Hogwash.

  22. GB — It's funny, that these books are usually by people that have a team of make-up artists and trainers — or better yet, someone REALLY adept at airbrushing out their true age and look in photos!

  23. If we spent all of our time reading these books of lists, we wouldn't have a life. I agree, these lists and titles are quite morbid and absolute. Every time I see one of these lists, I feel a mixture of defiance (Who are they to tell me what I should do?!) and depression (The clock is ticking! I must do these things before I die or my life is a failure and without meaning!)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s