Monday, January 14, 2008

Bucket Lists, Happiness, and You People More Famous Than You

Hard to say this wasn't unexpected. With "The Bucket List" winning the weekend box office, now is the time for reporters to discover that people have made their own "bucket lists," or things to do before you die. But that's not news in 2008. After all, these lists have been commonplace for some time; to wit, a movie based on the concept is now in theaters. Today's news is about digging into the reason people make these lists. And what might the inspiration be? You guessed it, happiness!

What constitutes true happiness? Two weeks ago, cries of "Happy New Year!" rang out across the land, but how do we make it happen?
But wait, there's more! Who cares about the happiness of the average person when you can learn about the happiness of famous people?
Maybe having money, looks, youth, fame, professional success, and heartthrob status would do it. Or maybe not, to judge by comments from a fellow most observers would assume to be sitting at the top of the world: New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

"Why do I have three Super Bowl rings and still think there's something greater out there for me?" Brady asked in a "60 Minutes" interview from 2005 that was rebroadcast a few weeks ago. "I mean, maybe a lot of people would say 'Hey man, this is what is.' I reached my goal, my dream, my life. Me, I think, 'God, it's got to be more than this.' I mean this isn't, this can't be what it's all cracked up to be."
If you want more "Deep Thoughts" from additional celebrities, click the link above. But the thing to keep in mind here is that celebrity misery, especially among young celebrities, could take a disastrous toll, leading to potential celebrity death, and the fruition of The Anna Nicole Smith Corollary. (Consider this the third post in the "ANS Corollary posts happen in threes" theorem, and expect not to hear about it for awhile. Or at least until Britney gives us no choice.)

Moreover, there is genuine life-and-death philosophy discussed that we at BDPE take very seriously.
Author and TV host John Izzo asked 235 elderly people how and where they found happiness. "I've always been interested in the question of why some people live well and die happy, and some people die as if they missed the party," explains Izzo. So he asked his interviewees, who ranged in age from 60 to 106, such questions as "What brought happiness to your life?", "What do you wish you'd learned sooner?", and "What do you regret?"

"Almost no one regretted something they tried in their life that didn't work out, yet almost everyone said they wished they had risked more," Izzo says. "They said the greatest fear at the end of life is not death or failure. It's that you didn't even try."
Reminds me of the quote on The Death Pool's official Death Cup: "The opposite of life is not death, it's indifference." -- Elie Wiesel

[Boston Globe]

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