50 Things A Gentleman Must Do Before He Dies

Carpe diem.

Life is short.

Far too short to do everything, see everything, learn everything, and experience everything we want to experience, so we're forced to narrow it down.

This is by no means an exhaustive list — just an inspiration to go out and do things, expand your horizons, and challenge yourself. 

And no, this bucket list is not just for men. It's for anyone who wants to grab a hold of life and live it as fully as possible.

Here are 50 things we think belong on every bucket list:

1. Drive across the country.

2. Take up a martial art.

Jiu-jitsu, boxing, MMA, savate, wrestling ... it's like human chess.

3. Take a digital detox: vacation without the Internet.

Even if it's just a weekend. Leave the laptop at home. Enjoy the sun.

4. Start your own business.

Something as simple as selling on eBay, working for yourself, or making your own money gives an incomparable sense of freedom.

5. Live off the land for at least a week.

Learn how to find water, food, and shelter. 

6. Leave a huge tip for a server.

Just because.

7. Get an old-fashioned straight razor and hot shave at a barbershop.

It's better than you can imagine. It's an entirely sensual experience.

8. Learn to fly a plane.

Your inner aviator will thank you.

9. Learn how to make classic cocktails. Keep a stocked bar.

1. The Martini.

2. The Manhattan.

3. The Old-Fashioned.

4. The Daiquiri.

You'll impress your friends and yourself.

10. Take up a serious fitness/exercise routine ... and stick to it.

Get that six-pack. Go ahead, admire yourself in the mirror. You earned it.

11. Lead a humanitarian effort.

Start a petition. Contribute to an organization. Raise awareness of a problem. Don't be a bystander to injustice and evil.

12. Defend another person: stand up for someone else.

Whether it's just shutting down gossip, speaking out against injustice, or even doing something a little bigger, you can make the world a much nobler place.

13. If you hate your job, quit. Do something that you're passionate about.

If you want something, you'll find a way to do it. If you don't want it, you'll find an excuse not to. Either way, life is FAR too short to do something you hate.

Do something you love. 

14. Collect things that inspire and fascinate you.

Stamps, coins, pieces of beach glass, beer bottles, wine — surround yourself with things that you love. People, included.

15. Own a tuxedo.

Wear it at least once a year and make sure you don't outgrow it. And learn to tie a bowtie. Never, ever wear a clip-on.


16. Thank your parents.

Whether with dinner, a letter, or by showing up and saying "thank you, mom and dad," just do this.

One day you won't be able to.

17. Live in a big city for a few years.

New York, London, Paris, Tokyo, Los Angeles, Chicago, Rome ... live in one of the world's great cities.

"Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. " – Mary Schmich

18. Donate anonymously or in someone else's name to a charity or a cause.

And never speak a word of it.

19. Learn to cook one thing really, really well.

Do it so well that people associate it with you.

20. Handwrite a love letter.

Then give it to the person you've written it to.

"A letter does not blush." – Cicero

21. Go skinny-dipping.

Ideally, with another person.

22. Go to a championship game at least once.

The World Series, the Super Bowl, the World Cup, the Stanley Cup ... whether you like sports or not, go and be there in person. Experience it.

23. Go to the midnight premiere of a big movie.

There's an excitement to being with other fans that you just don't get in a matinee.

24. Host a dinner party.

Invite guests. Create a menu. Go shopping. Prepare the courses. Entertain. Discuss. In short... rediscover the joy of hosting. 

25. Be an audience member for a live-taping of a game show.

26. Join the mile-high club.

Probably best if you do this while flying privately as air travel isn't what it used to be.

And remember, a gentleman doesn't kiss and tell. 

27. Go to a horse race. Bet.

Whether it's an afternoon at the track or a steeplechase, go, watch and place your bets.

28. Memorize a poem.

Memorization used to be an integral part of education, but it's fallen by the wayside. 

29. Go skydiving.

Find a perfectly good plane and throw yourself out of it ... just because.

30. Host a Gatsby-sized party.

"... I like large parties. They're so intimate." – F. Scott Fitzgerald

Ideally, hire someone to clean up the aftermath.

31. Travel the world.

See the Amazon's rain forests, the Nile, the pyramids, the Great Wall of China, the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial, the Eiffel Tower ... talk to strangers. Meet new people.

32. Learn another language well enough to flirt with a native-speaking stranger.

More than just hello.

33. Buy something extravagant and pay cash for it.

The car or motorcycle you've always wanted, a T-rex for your living room, a suit of armor, a painting at auction ... just don't let debt and interest ruin the joy of it. Make it 100 percent yours.

34. Take a public stance on gender equality.

"Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are." ― Benjamin Franklin

35. Play in a poker tournament.

You can learn more about human psychology in a few hours of playing poker than you ever believed possible.

36. Learn to ride a motorcycle.

There are two reasons to learn to ride a motorcycle.

1) You will look and feel ridiculously cool.

2) Having someone hold onto you will make you look and feel even more ridiculously cool.

Just remember to wear a helmet.

37. Drive a tractor.

What man hasn't ever wanted to drive a tractor? 

38. Get a bespoke suit.

A custom-cut suit is even better than the perfect haircut. It will change the way you walk, the way you approach life, and the way that you see yourself. A good suit feels like possibilities are falling out of the pockets. 

39. Train for and run a race.

Whether a 5K, a 10K, or a marathon, run a race. We have these things called legs and we should really make the most of them.

40. See the Northern Lights.

And be reminded of how very small we are in comparison to the entirety of the universe.

41. Learn the language of wine and never look puzzled again.

Terroir, varietals, regions ... learn the language of wine. It's not to become a snob, but because it's useful, both for yourself and for others.

42. Learn to sail.

Just remember the old sailor's adage about owning a boat: "The two best days in a sailor's life is the day he buys a boat and the day he sells it."

43. Write thank-you notes to the people who've helped you, mentored you, and looked out for you.

"At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us." – Albert Schweitzer

Act on it.

44. Learn to sing or play an instrument.

Ideally, both.

45. Build a fort or a tree house for your kid, or a niece or a nephew, or neighborhood toddler.

This dad's treehouse on Imgur is especially epic.

46. Learn to drive stick.

Learn to really feel the car you drive.

47. Take a weekend, grab your passport, and fly someplace you've never been.

48. Go to Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

Once is enough.

49. Go scuba diving in open water.

Make aquatic friends. There's an entire world that few people ever see and it's just below the surface. 

50. Teach a kid how to do something.

A magic trick. How to throw a fastball. How to tie a bowline. How to find the North Star. How to read. How to fish.

Teaching empowers people to see that they're capable of more than they thought.

The best thing any of us can do before we die is to pass our knowledge on, share our gifts, and try to leave the world a slightly better place than we found it in.

Now get off the Internet and start working on this list.