Bucket lists are usually dumb. They vacillate between the obvious and the pretentious. The mile high club is gross. Burning Man is stupid. Mardi Gras is overrated. Growing a beard takes no effort. I have no interest to run with bulls or climb a mountain. And if I got into a fight, I’d probably lose.
But having spent the better part of my life as a gadabout, here are the things I think every man should do at least once.
1. Get in great shape. Don’t talk about it.
2. Cook a gourmet meal for a group of close friends.
3. Work as a bartender.
4. Reward yourself for a big accomplishment with a big present like a sports car or a nice watch.
5. Swim naked, preferably not alone.
6. Hire someone.
7. Fire someone.
8. Get drunk in Rangoon, Kashgar, Zanzibar, Kyoto, and Nashville.
9. Adopt a pet.
10. Buy a veteran a beer.
12. Gallop on a horse.
13. Shoot a machine gun.
14. Tell one of your best friends that his fiancée is not the right one.
15. Stand up to a bully.
16. Live in a foreign country.
17. Take a big investment risk or start a company.
18. Try cocaine.
19. Tell your partner what your bedroom fantasies really are.
20. Buy a tuxedo before you are 30. Stay that size.
21. Go to the Kentucky Derby, The Masters, Super Bowl, World Cup or whatever your equivalent is.
22. Race a car on a track.
24. Help design and build your dream house.
25. Lie when the truth is easier.
26. Have kids.
27. Go SCUBA diving.
28. Sit front row, courtside, ringside, on the fifty, behind the dugout, or backstage. Don’t Instagram it.
29. Call someone you’ve wronged in the past. Apologize.
30. Tip big enough to make the server’s month.
31. Take a trip with your dad.
32. Shake hands with the President.
33. Lose your voice cheering for your favorite sports team.
34. Accompany a close friend to chemotherapy.
35. Teach your son the correct way to throw a baseball and a spiral.
36. Go drinking in Pat Pong (Bangkok). Don’t get blackout drunk. Trust me.
37. Spend a night in jail. Get the case dismissed.
38. Make an enemy for life.
39. Sail on the open ocean.
40. Buy the bar a round.
41. Cut down a tree. With an axe.
42. Vacation alone.
43. Join an adult sports league (not a fantasy league).
44. Take a spontaneous international flight. Buy clothes when you get there.
45. Learn how to fly fish. It’s cheaper than a therapist.
46. Spend some time in a third world country. Remember, that’s how most of the world live out the entirety of their short lives.
47. Sleep under the stars. On purpose. Preferably by a fire.
48. Coach your kid’s sports team.
49. Spend a day outside, working with a shovel, in the searing heat.
50. Make the obituary in The Economist. That doesn’t necessarily mean a life of wealth, fame, or power. It just means that you were interesting.
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