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Lighten Your Life Before You Kick the Bucket - Book and Contest

That headline is only part of the title. In full, it is Seven Ways to Lighten Your Life Before You Kick the Bucket and the first thing to know about it is that it is not about bucket lists. (Whew! Had it been, I would not have paid attention.)

Instead, Lighten Your Life... is, as the two authors explain on page 1,

”...our reaction to the idea of making a list of things to do before you kick the bucket. A bucket list is a list of things to do before you die. Our ...ucket lists are ways to live before your die.”

I'll get to those “...ucket lists” in a moment but first, meet Walt Hopkins and George Simons, two old guys in their 70s who are decades-long friends, one of whom lives in the south of France these days, the other in Scotland although both grew up in Ohio.


They remind me (non-U.S. readers might not get this reference) of Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers who hosted the long-running PBS radio show, Car Talk.

Walt and George have a similar joie de vivre, love of life and a good laugh, aren't afraid to be silly and are equally expert in their fields as Click and Clack were at theirs. Here is how they described their ongoing careers to me:

”In more than 30 countries for more than 40 years, Walt Hopkins has been leading courses on influencing skills and life-designing skills for all sorts of organizations—including the UN’s World Food Programme, the European Space Agency, Shell, Statoil, and Unilever.

“George Simons is an independent intercultural consultant, trainer, game designer and poet, who facilitates a worldwide virtual consulting network. Clients he has served include: Alstom, Olympus, UNHCR, The Asian Development Bank, Michelin and Deutsche Post."

SevenWaysBookCover200With generous examples from their lives and the lives of people they have known, along a multitude of wise quotations from the ancients to the moderns and a lot of laughing along the way, Walt and George explain how they have come to savor their late years by making time and room to enjoy “that which is most precious to them.”

Although there are “Learnings” throughout the book, it is not necessarily an instruction book or a how-to or a primer about growing old. As they say up front:

”Pluck what works for you and duck, chuck, or fuck the rest.”

Which brings me to those seven “...ucket lists.” Fortunately for me, Walt and George have provided something any long-time TGB readers know I'm no good at: succinct explanations. Here are their short versions of the seven “...uckets.”

  1. Chucket: Dump things you no longer need in your life

  2. Shucket: Shuck the wrappings and keep the gift

  3. Ducket: Dodge demands that don't fit your values

  4. Fucket: Dump what you're fed up doing or being

  5. Plucket: Reach for what you still want to do and be

  6. Trucket: Keep on truckin' by doing what you love

  7. Tucket: Appreciate what you have gained and given

Within each of the seven are many kinds of suggestions on how to “lighten your life” - some of it advice along with wise observations, reflections, how to laugh at yourself and give yourself permissions you might not have done in the past. Now, they tell us, with great, good nature throughout, is the time to do this.

You can easily guess that number one, Chucket, is about getting rid of the stuff we collect over a lifetime and they provide a list (yes, a list of seven) questions to help decide what to keep and what to “chuck.”

The Shucket section is all about peeling off “the unneeded, distracting, the useless” and it's not all physical. George writes this chapter and he quotes the Italian poet, Cesare Pavese:

”Take off all your envies, jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness and fears...the closing years of life are like the end of a masquerade party, when the masks are dropped.”

I'm tellin' ya, if there were nothing else in this book, the many quotations about growing old would be worth every penny. Before this book, I thought I had a rich and extensive collection of age-related quotations. I was mistaken. But they and I do share this, Raymond Carver's last poem titled Late Fragment:

And did you get what you wanted from this life, even so:
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself beloved on this earth.

Walt writes the Fucket section which is, to some degree, exactly what you think it would be, but wider, broader, deeper. One of the things on Walt's fucket list to leave behind is fear and in explaining, he quotes James Lipton:

”I am speaking of the kind of risk-taking that seems to be involved in the conspicuous abandonment of safe physical, emotional and intellectual redoubts, in favor of new paths where dragons may lie in wait.

“I am sacrilegiously equating a state of fear with a state of grace, if the fear is evoked by testing treasured beliefs and established patterns – one's own, not someone else's.

There are so many wise and wonderful delights in Lighten Your Life that I could quote endlessly. Instead, I'm going to hold a drawing to give away three copies. But first, two more things. The seventh way is the Tucket List and George explains that it's a real word. Who knew:

”To tuck is to play a drumroll. A tucket is a fanfare – a trumpet blast with a roll of drums – that originated in Elizabethan drama. So your tuckets are your fanfares...

“Choosing to Tucket is choosing to toot your own horn and sound your own drum, possibly to others but mainly to yourself.”

This thoughtful guide to living our late years well is something to keep nearby as there is much to learn from these guys. Get out your highlighters – it's the kind of book you'll want to mark up.

Seven Ways to Light Your Life Before You Kick the Bucket is available at the usual online book purveyors. You can also order it from the U.K. publisher and you can follow Walt and George at the book's Facebook page.

The authors have made three copies of Lighten Your Life available to give away to TGB readers. As in the past, we will do a random drawing. Here's how it goes:

Leave a message in the comments section below (no emails). That's it. If you have something to say about the book, that's good – we like lively discussions here - but not required.

The only requirement is that you state your interest in winning one of the books. “Please enter me in the drawing,” works. Or typing, "Me, me, me" will do it, too. I'm not fussy.

The contest will close tomorrow night, 17 March 2016, at midnight U.S. Pacific daylight time. The three winners will be chosen in a random, electronic drawing and their names (as they appear at the bottom of their comments) will be announced on this blog on Friday 18 March 2016.

I'll leave you with one more of the many well-chosen quotations Walt and George have scattered throughout their book. This one is from the American mythologist, Joseph Campbell:

”One great thing about growing old is that nothing is going to lead to anything. Everything is of the moment.”


I would like a book.

Doesn't this sound delightful! I'll buy it if I have to but I'd prefer a free one.

I'd like a copy, please.

sounds like a great book, love to win a copy.

Classy - Informative - Reassuring - Funny - Addictive

... it's your blog I'm referring to Ronni.

As my age-ometer ticks over to 70 this year I SO appreciate the pertinent topics you share with us. My favourite blog by far :) Thank you!

The book you've introduced us to today sounds like a must have for my library. Please add me to the list. I'd be thrilled to win a copy.

Gillian from Applewood Hills

I'm with Barbara S.; I'll buy it if I have to, but I'd love a copy gratis of the authors.

This book and its authors reminds me of two other men who have done something similar. Steve Chandler and Terrence Hill are also two older men who created a series of books in their later years. There are five or so, in the "Two Guys Read. . ." series. These books are in the form of mostly long distance dialogue -- letters, emails -- on what ever they're writing about. Some are discussions of other books, ("Two Guys Read Jane Austen" and "Two Guys Read Moby Dick") and some are more general or topical ("Two Guys Read the Box Scores," "Two Guys Read the Obituaries", "Two Guys on the Road"). They also include wonderful quotes and reference material, and they write very well. Regardless of the topic, I have enjoyed them all and highly recommend them to readers here, as well.

I look forward to adding the two new guys here, Hopkins and Simons, to my reading list.

Before I buy it, I'll take a chance on a win. Thanx, Ronni!:) Dee

I think the book sounds like a keeper for a lifetime! Thanks for sharing about it. I'd like to win a book!

I want to add "CLUCKIT" to the list. We old hens need to talk more about things like this.

Oh boy! And I live so close I could come pick it up in person. Now wouldn't that be a hoot!

My kind of book...would love to have a copy.

I would LOVE to win a copy of what sounds like a great book.

Please enter my name in the drawing. I would love to have a copy.

Please enter me in the drawing. I have done many of the things they suggest and want to make sure I didn't miss anything.
Retirement is a sweet time and I want to make sure I enjoy it all.

Thanks for writing about this book (and all of your other insightful posts)! I would like to win a book copy.

Hello...I continue to read and re-read the books I have on how to simplify my life and how to get out from under all the clutter in my life and move forward. Maybe this book will be the answer.....count me in!

Exactly right. I've reached a point of being fed up with what I'm doing and what I'm being.
Please add my name to the drawing.

Oh, yes, please!

Me! Me! Me!
This book looks like just what I could use. We've moved into a new house and are diligently shedding hundreds of books, worn clothes, duplicate doodads and recycling every cardboard box and bit of packing paper. It. Feels. So. Great!

Please enter me in the contest!

Please enter me in the drawing. Thanks!
Nancy Bell

Would love to have this book and if I don't win it I'll buy it and will still be a winner 😂

I was about to cancel a vacation to the southwest in May because I haven't flown in several years and also seemed to have misplaced my sense of adventure and I was creating fear! Today I woke up able to see what I was doing and then read today's TGB - so fucket! I'm going lol!

Would love to win book!!

Enter me for "uckets", please. Love the Pavese quote. Thanks.

This book would fit right into my personal library's " Retirement" section. I hope to win it!

Please enter my name in the drawing. Sounds great!

Please include me in the drawing. I would love to laugh and learn along with Walt and George!

Thanks, thanks, and thanks again for writing about this. Of course I'd like a copy.

Just what I need, some inspiration for the coming years!

It's my birthday today; all y'all will call me a kitten since I'm "just" 55 today:) It's been a hard road to "my" version of 55, but I'm looking forward to aging with the wisdom from all fellow "-uckets" here!

So I'd love the book Ronnie, although your post today was so poignantly a perfect gift in itself. I'm going to print it out and post it on my frig - one of my comfort zones besides naps and cats.

I finished my work early today, called a "house chores -ucket," and I'm going to spend the rest of the day doing exactly what I want. I'll call that a gift too.

This book sounds like so much fun! Enter me in the drawing, please.

Would love to win a copy. Sounds like the perfect book for me.

I'm approaching my 86 birthday , still trying to decide what to be when I grow up.
Thank you Ronnie for this great blog

I'd like to add another '..uket" to the list.
"sucket", as in "suck it up".
Stop holding grudges and don't take personally what someone says about you. They're just a bunch of old farts and don't know what they are talking about anyway.

Oh one more thing......ME ME ME.

Count me as one who wants a freebee. Quite an interesting introduction to the book, Ronni. Thank you for this opportunity.

Me, Me, Me!

Sounds like a terrific book -thanks for the tip!

Please don't include me in the drawing since I was the lucky winner of How to Be Old just about a year ago. It's someone else's turn, but I've just ordered Seven Ways from Amazon.

Hello! Would love to win a copy after reading this short "teaser". Thanks.

Oh my, this book sounds like it was written especially for me, right at this time! Would love to win a copy! Thank you!

Me me me !!!

Count me in--sounds like a very helpful book.

I'd love to join the throng with another "me, me me". I love the last quotation by Joseph Campbell.

Thank you Ronni.

I will buy it. But would like a free one. This sounds like one for my book club!

I need to lighten my load these days, so a new book to tell me how to part with all my older ones would be welcome.

Yes, please!

Yes, please! I'd love this book...and could really use their wisdom.
Francie Link

Sounds like my kind of book. Thanks for the opportunity to win one.

It would be FUN to read such a timely book.

Great blog today, just what I needed after last night's disaster in political observation. Sounds like a good one to add to the library indeed. Please count me in.

I would love a copy of this book. Thank you for another great resource.

Sounds like just the ticket! Please enter me in the drawing.

Please do enter my name in the draw.

I am very selective these days about allowing new books into my life... after disposing of ten thousand loved books during my recent house-to-condo move, it's a case of once burned, twice shy. But this one sounds like it's worth making an exception for, especially if I should be so lucky as to win it here!

If I don't win, I still plan to buy a copy, but it would mean so much more if it came to me through your blog, Ronni. You and the community you have created here have helped me more than you will ever know.

Please enter me in the draw.

I sure would like this book. If I don't win I'll get it anyway. Thanks! DJan Stewart

I have been having trouble downsizing and need all the help I can get. So toss my name in the pot, please.


George told me he had talked with Ronni about our book, but I've been dealing with medical hassles and hadn't paid attention. So today I thought I'd take a peek at Ronni's blog to see what she said about us. Wonderful summary! Thank you, Ronni!!

And then I discovered FIFTY comments! I love your ideas. George and I may have to follow up on this Two Guys idea and write another book. We had a long list of ...ucket List possibilities from which we chose seven and it did include a Sucket List, but we had not thought of Carolyn Schriber's brilliant idea of a Clucket List. Even though my Grandad raised chickens as does a friend here in Scotland who supplies us with fresh eggs.

Here in Scotland, people often refer to a woman as "hen" as in "Thanks, hen" so a Clucket List or Clucket Conversation is worth a chapter of its own. Or a book...

Thanks for all your enthusiasm. Hope you join us on our Facebook page as well at https://www.facebook.com/bucketbookviews/?fref=ts Thanks!!

At almost 73 years old and a diagnoses of heart failure I face my stuff, quilting fabric, art supplies - well i call them art supplies, every day wondering "now who'd want that.." I just want to be out in my garden and around people who laugh. The book sounds like great fun!
Thanks for writing about it. I'm going to suggest it for the local library. Marian

Yes please. Appreciate the rhyming list already.

This book is exactly what I need at this point in my life: please enter me in the drawing.

Thanks for offering this opportunity; if I don't win a free copy, I'll get it from the library or buy it!

I would love a copy of this book. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

Sure fire way of getting lots of comments and some interesting feedback.
Thank you Ronnie, I will try it on my GrumblesSmiles blog and see if it works for me.
Give away something free, free ,free.
Get back lots of me,me, me.

Thanks, Ronni, for doing us up so kindly!
Spent the last days running around with my second cousin who is visiting from the States and helping me get ready to get my last will and testament and all the POAs etc., etc. Not that I am ailing, but who knows when you will step in front of a bus, whether at age 8 or 80. There is virtue in not leaving a yucket behind, for everybody else to put up with. There could be another book in that...if we don't mucket... I can hear you groan...

Thanks for this opportunity. Yes, please enter me. It sounds Iike a worthwhile read.

Please enter my name for the book Ronni! It sounds like something to add to my local library too. Thanks for the Raymond Carver quote. He is and was one of my favorite writers and I haven't picked up one of his books in quite awhile. Win or not I need to read the Chuckit section!!

Pretty please enter my name in the drawing. I'm such a lover of the perfect quote, I'll probably go through several highlighters and color the entire book bright yellow. (There I go again, assuming "book" means printed. Old habits die hard.)

Please enter me......sounds interesting.

Well, except for number one - There are things that I have that I no longer use, but will not chuck. They make me feel good or the possibility that I may yet use them again in the future makes me feel good.

Enter me in the drawing.

please enter me in the drawing

Throw my name into the hopper.

Please enter me in the drawing
Sound like a fun book

Sounds like something I really need!
Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

We all love something free and this contest sounds like a treasure! Drop my name in the "...ucket" please.

This book sounds like it's just what I need.
Please count me in

Please pick me

Yes, I want to play! And you've made the book sound so interesting I just put it in my Amazon shopping cart. If I win a duplicate, I know exactly the friend I'll give it to: She has a milestone birthday next month. Thank you for the giveaway and for calling my attention to the book.

would love a copy, thanks!

Please add me to the list, Ronni.

I'm in!

What a great idea for a gift!

I would be delighted to have the book. Thanks.

Please enter me in the drawing. I hope the gentlemen gives suggestions on how to ...ucket the stuff you know you should.

Sounds great! Please enter me in the drawing.

Funny, just before I turned the computer on to your site, my husband and I were discussing this very topic---how to make the most of our remaining years...

Would love to be in the drawing!

I've already printed out a copy of this post and copied the seven "-uckets" list for my wallet ... but have my fingers crossed for the drawing as I'd love to win the book for my bedside table. In any case, thank you, Ronni, for the heads-up and my thanks to Walt Hopkins and George Simons, too. Pondering their friendship is a profound vicarious pleasure.

Please, please, please pick me!!

We talk about this a lot these days and this book sounds like the perfect resource......full of humor and wisdom!


Next year I'll enter my eigth decade. For almost three years now I've been coming to grips with the stuff - physical and mental - I've accumulated. With the help of family and friends I've lightened my physical load by about half, and now I'm down to the hard part. I have boxes that are a mystery to me. Whatever their contents, I can go for years in blissful ignorance until the day I open them. At that point they suddenly contain things that are far too precious to get rid of, and that's where I need help with the Chucket List.

And I have no doubt I will be enlightened by the rest of the lists as well. Here's hoping my name is drawn :-)

sounds like a decent read. pls add my name thx

I would appreciate a copy of the book.

Put my name in the pot please. This book already fits into my life.

I'm really going to tucket when I win this book!

Pick me! Pick me! (Please).

It sounds like it would be a delightful book! Me please!

Please enter me in the contest ... thanks

Yes, please! I would love to win, but I'll certainly order the book if I don't. I love that I always learn something - in this case about what sounds like a great read - on this blog. Thanks, Ronni!


Count me in for winning the book. Thank you Ronni.

Yes, please! I'd love a copy of the book!

I would love this book!

Sounds like a book full of good ideas.

Me me me please!

I would like a free copy.

This popped up at just the right time/ I think I might be NEEDING this book!

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