How old timers remind us that you only live once

    At some point in life, usually in elementary school, everyone seems to be asked what they would like to achieve in their life. Most people’s long-term answers relate to being happy with a partner or family, being successful at work, or having a certain amount of money. Short-term answers tend to be along the lines of doing something daring like skydiving, bungee jumping, getting a tattoo, or traveling the world. When someone writes down all the things they want to do before they die, it’s called a bucket list. Younger people see the list and think they have contracts to fulfill all their desires. However, what happens to those who have a limited amount of time to live?

    in bucket listand Carter Chambers (Morgan Freeman) and Edward Cole (Jack Nicholson) both have lung cancer. While in the hospital, they each receive devastating news that they have approximately six months to one year to live. Instead of choosing to live out their days watching TV and playing cards in the hospital, the two men set off with Edward’s checkbook to spend the rest of their time pursuing their wildest dreams. Watch how two ancients remind us of what it means to live life to the fullest bucket list.

    A brief but life fulfilling friendship

    Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson's Bucket List (1)
    Pictures Warner Bros

    As all great friendships begin, the two men at the hospital don’t get along at first. Edward felt that since he owned the hospital, he should not have to share a room with another patient. Carter, looking through the titled man’s ego, simply yelled at the rude comments and ignored him. While they both spent their long days and nights within five feet of each other, a friendship was inevitable.

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    The two found common ground on hating their diagnoses, playing cards to pass the time, and diving into a deeper conversation about their desires in life. Carter begins to create a list of things he’d like to do before he kicks the bucket, but throws the paper away after learning he has less than a year to live. Interested in the concept, Edward took the list and added his own ideas to it. The two agreed that life really was too short for them to not enjoy all the world has to offer, so they set out on an adventure to complete their bucket list.

    For the next three months, the two spent nearly every minute together. They traveled, laughed and learned a lot about each other. Within this short time, the two men realize that living a fulfilling life has more to do with enjoying someone’s company and trying new things than doing what is expected of them.

    Adventure on a comfortable life

    Jacon Nicholson and Morgan Freeman on the Bucket List (1)
    Pictures Warner Bros

    When someone receives a definitive diagnosis, they are often told that the facility will provide around the clock care to make the person feel as comfortable as possible. Carter’s wife, Virginia, believed in this philosophy. After receiving the bad news, Virginia wanted to take her husband home to spend the rest of his days surrounded by family. Rather than agree with her, Carter chooses to have Edward accept his offer to spend the last few months of their lives in travel and adventure. The two discover they are lifelong friends that the other really needs. Carter was desperate to break out of his daily routine at work, deal with cancer, and go home to a life he secretly resented, and Edward, used to living alone, needed a true friend.

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    Over the next three months, the two men pushed each other out of their comfort zones. Edward talks Carter into skydiving, and Carter convinces Edward to open his mind to other cultures and natural wonders, and they both challenge each other to confront their fears. Carter feared he was missing out on life by marrying and starting a family at such a young age, so Edward bought him a sex worker, which Carter refused, to give him another woman’s experience. In turn, Carter takes Edward home to his estranged daughter to reconnect after years of silence. These recent events were not taken lightly by either man, and the two went their separate ways after feeling betrayed.

    Forgiveness goes a long way

    Sean Hayes and Jack Nicholson's Bucket List (1)
    Pictures Warner Bros

    Although Carter and Edward held painful secrets for a long time, they were able to find forgiveness. Virginia had felt separated from her husband for some time, and his brief conversations with her lacked any shred of intimacy. When Carter confides in Edward that he wished he had done things differently at a young age, hearts are broken. Losing the chemistry partners have is so heartbreaking, but for Carter, to admit that he would turn things around if at all possible is devastating. When he gets the chance to cheat on his wife, the truth comes back to him. He asks to end their adventures and go home to be with his family. Virginia forgives Carter for being an absent husband for some time.

    After Carter’s death, Edward musters the courage to reconnect with his adult daughter. He goes to her home and is greeted not only with a warm smile, but also with a lovely granddaughter. Over the next several years, fans would like to believe that Edward lived out his days spending more time with his daughter and granddaughter than at the office. By the end of the film, Matthew, Edward’s loyal and equally meticulous assistant, lays Edward’s ashes next to Carter on a mountaintop in the Himalayas. After years of deliberately calling him the wrong name, threatening to fire him, and criticizing him for just about everything, even Matthew has found his boss’s forgiveness.

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