You’ve heard of bucket lists. Maybe you’ve even got a bucket list—those places you want to see or crazy things you want to do before you die. It’s the sort of thing we usually start thinking about as retirement age hits us in the face.
The authors of What Do You Want to Do Before You Die? aren’t a bunch of old geezers, however. They were four college guys who one day realized that “Mediocrity is all we knew.” They were wise enough to look beyond the ordinary days and consider the possibility that they could do anything they wanted to do, even if it was impossible. After working up a list of 100 things they all agreed they’d like to try, they took the experiment a step further and turned their Bucket List adventures into a worthwhile enterprise: “For each item we knocked off our list, we promised to help a stranger experience something that they had long dreamed of…”
Some of their goals are simple things: donate blood, win an award, get a tattoo. Then there are the really big dreams—play ball with the president, solve a crime or capture a fugitive, get on the cover of Rolling Stone. All of those things and a lot more have already been crossed off, and the story behind their successes is a jolly good read. We learn that adaptability plays a big role in completing these projects; following the adventures will jog your creative brain cells and entertain the heck out of you at the same time. Most readers will be inspired by the list of 100 Things to Do Before I Die, and will likely choose to tackle a few of those.
What Do You Want to Do Before You Die? isn’t just a chronicle of scattiness, either. Most of the book is devoted to some of the items posted on the website
www.theburiedlife.com by thousands of visitors to the site. You’ll find some of them silly and some of them pointless and some of them just plain stupid. But just when you think that people are extraordinarily shallow and that your own bucket list is high-minded and philanthropic, there comes a wish from the mother of an autistic boy: “Before I die, I want to hear him say ‘I love you, Mom.’”
The lists and the fulfillment of dreams is all brought together with clever and unexpected artwork that really sells the punch of this book. Yes, it’s fun to hear how failing to complete one goal led to the successful completion of a different item. And yes, it’s often hilarious to read the stories of how these boys pulled off their hijinks. Most of all, though, What Do You Want to Do Before You Die? is an encouraging and inspirational nudge to get us off our fannies and into the heart of life.