Obama’s words of advice to the young: Only grownups need bucket lists

August 23, 2013
President Barack Obama (L) presents a copy of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 and a copy of the remarks he made during the signing ceremony, at the Womens Rights National Historical Park Visitors Center in Seneca Falls, New York, on August 22, 2013 during his bus tour. JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images) President Obama presents a copy of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 and a copy of the remarks he made during the signing ceremony, at the Womens Rights National Historical Park Visitors Center in Seneca Falls, New York, on August 22, 2013 during his bus tour. JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

President Obama stopped off at a kids' soccer practice during his bus tour through New York state Friday and offered these sage words of advice: "Here’s the general rule: when you’re 9, you don’t need a bucket list."

Obama, who is visiting cities in both New York and Pennsylvania this week, took a break from his speaking engagements about making college more affordable and dropped in at Tully Central High School, where the girls' and boys' teams were practicing soccer. One of the kids on the field, it turned out, was much younger, and this prompted the president to make a couple of philosophical musings.

While speaking to the girls' team Obama turned to the smallest girl, saying, "You don't look like a junior." One of the high schoolers explained that the younger girl was the team manager.

At that point, the team's coach urged the girl to tell Obama what she'd said earlier -- that meeting the president was on her bucket list.

“How old are you?” the president asked. After the girl said she was nine years old, he declared, “Here’s the general rule: when you’re 9, you don’t need a bucket list. When you get to be 52, then you might start wanting to draw one up. But you’ve got a lotta stuff going on ahead of you.”

Juliet Eilperin is The Washington Post's White House bureau chief, covering domestic and foreign policy as well as the culture of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. She is the author of two books—one on sharks, and another on Congress, not to be confused with each other—and has worked for the Post since 1998.
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