The Ultimate To-Do List

November 2010

Age confers certain gifts, my favorite being what I call the Gift of Reckless Disregard. At some point in life, the well-adjusted among us stop worrying about how things are supposed to be and embrace things as they are.

I humbly offer myself as an example. I’ve stopped buying jeans that carve nasty red ridges into my love handles, opting instead for roomy, comfortable ones, even if they make me look like a denim dirigible. I ignore most graduation announcements with prejudice, and have deleted from my address book the people I didn’t particularly like in the first place. In a liberating bit of candor,

I even told my dental hygienist that, no, I do not floss every day and have no intention of starting.

But with age also comes a keen awareness that tomorrow is never guaranteed, even in this land of eternal vigor. And so, predictably, I’ve been making my Bucket List.

The idea of developing a late-life to-do list that includes our remaining fantasies and goals is part of human DNA, and it predates by millennia “The Bucket List,” the 2007 Jack Nicholson-Morgan Freeman terminal-illness buddy flick. I’m reluctant to reveal the details of my personal list, except to say that I’ve eliminated as improbable both a successful child-support case against Donald Bren and a chance deserted-island stranding with Tina Fey.

But starting on Page 82, we’ve assembled Bucket List suggestions from some of the people who know Orange County best. Use their ideas as a guide to the most profound experiences the county offers, everything from pre-dawn surfing at Trestles, to shopping for live eel in Little Saigon, to burying a loved one at sea. All you have to do is start checking them off.

Martin J. Smith

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