The Bucket List

I woke up in the middle of the night last week and I ended up watching the movie Forrest Gump for the first time in about four years. No one motivates me to live my best life like Forrest Gump does. If you do not know who that is or have never seen the movie, where the hell have you been? Who is it that motivates you to live your best life? Watching that movie motivated me to create a new bucket list for myself.

Most people write crazy things like skydive, climb Mount Everest or backpack across Europe but the things on my bucket list are quite different. Don’t get me wrong, I want to experience adventure in my lifetime too, but why wait to save enough money and time to live for one day? You can find adventure that makes life richer daily. I want my bucket list to remind everyone reading this that being alive is not the same as living more than anything. Think about that for a second and read it aloud. Being alive is not the same as living.

Here is my current bucket list:

  1. Learn how to skip stones - Everytime I see a pond I picture skipping stones across the water in my mind. Every time I try, I fail. The learning process has taken me three years so far but one day I will achieve this goal.

  2. Sprint across an open field - Seeing Forrest Gump running endlessly throughout the world was one of my favorite scenes in the movie. Every time I drive by and see the land we have here on campus I always develop the urge to run through it all into the sunset. Is that weird? Maybe, but I personally think that running out in the open is one of the most liberating feelings a person can have. Just run like never before until you can’t anymore.

  3. Ditch work and have a me day - Sometimes you have to say, “screw it, I need some time for myself.” It doesn’t matter which day of the week, it just happens. I’m sure this is common among others, but for myself this would be new. I am that little goody two-shoes who always clocks in on time when I’m scheduled to. I don’t get sick too often, and I usually always feel good about myself. I’m saving a day like this for a time when I truly need it. I feel when the time comes, I will have a good enough reason.

  4. Write my own book - Only a handful of people know about my plan to write a book. Fewer people know the title of it which, yes, has a double meaning to it. I started writing my book as soon as I graduated high school. I did change the names of the people I mention. If I’ve ever asked you what your name would be if you could pick it yourself, then you may be mentioned in this book for one reason or another. Whether good or bad, my decision to mention you is because you had a significant impact on my life.

  5. Witness love - I want others to be happy. I want to be able to see every couple fall in love and not be scared or stopped just because of what the government says. I want to see everyone have the right to the life they want live when they walk down the aisle. Everyone deserves the right to pursue love and happiness.

  6. Learn how to dance - If you’re anything like me, you’re shy when it comes to the dance floor. I don’t mind dancing to songs that tell me what to do like the cha-cha slide but otherwise I’m intimidated.  One way or another, I’m going to learn.
    Ride a mechanical bull and film it - Alrighty, I will never get on a real bull, but I will hop on a mechanical one. I also want it to be filmed so I can have proof it happened. Some moments in life deserve to be shared between yourself and whoever is there, but then there are other moments worth posting about to prove to your family on Facebook that you’re insane.

  7. Go on a road trip by myself - I’ve never been on my own and I want a taste of it. I do not have the financial stability to be completely out on my own, but I know I can do it for a day or weekend. I want to do it alone. I want to have my own story to remember and go wherever I want and pretend the world is mine. Even if it’s just a road trip to Austin or Dallas to see family, I want it for me. It’s nice to share trips with someone, but in this fantasy, my own self is enough.

  8. Travel to another city/state/county to see a concert -  A band I want to go see one day in another country is a band called In Dynamics. They are from a city in England named Sussex. I’m over the fact that San Antonio misses out very often on being a stop in a band’s tour. In Texas, it’s always Houston and Austin that get to enjoy all the fun. Other times, Texas misses out entirely. I want to be able to buy my tickets, take the next plane and go. Sounds spontaneous, but I think everyone should be able to try this.

  9. Have a deep conversation with a complete stranger - What I don’t like very much about this modern era of digital dependency is that people simply don’t get to look each other in the eyes and talk. We rely on text, we rely on emails, we rely on video chats. While this is all convenient and great, there’s no stronger connection between people who are actually sitting across or next to one another. To be honest, my mind has been spinning with how life will be after graduation. Last week, I was waiting to get my oil changed when another lady sat across from me in the waiting room. She looked about 60 years old and when our eyes met, we greeted each other and started talking about our morning. She seemed like a nice lady and our conversation felt natural. It was almost as if I were talking to an aunt. We were the only ones there at the moment, and it was a little awkward because it just so happened we both forgot our phones at home. In that moment, I oddly felt that I could have told her anything. It reminded me of how open Forrest Gump was to complete strangers. He told his life story to random strangers at a bus stop. I think one of us was about to do the same when the mechanic came in and told her that her car was ready. Now I have this desire to be open with a complete stranger like Forrest. He obviously left an impact on her because one woman was brought to tears by his moving story. One way or another, I really would not mind being Forrest or the stranger in that situation.

Some of these bucket list items scream adventure, others insist on teaching lessons and learning something new. I chose these things because lessons and adventures sum up life. Bucket lists are usually all about adventure, but there needs to be balance for it all to be fulfilling. If you do anything after reading this blog, watch Forrest Gump and be inspired to take on anything, no matter how big or small. Anything is possible.

A Universal Language

Music has a way of bringing people together. Whether catchy, relatable or unlike anything we’ve ever heard, any artist, band or song can attract listeners from different walks of life. Instrumentals give us a desired feeling and lyrics are better at telling the stories we want or need to listen to. Concerts are proof that many different people can come together to form a unique community where they can listen to music they all genuinely enjoy.

My parents never gave much thought to my love of singing along to rock songs on the radio in my childhood, but my desire to go to concerts was a different story. I faced several rejections throughout the years from my parents, but once I landed my first job, I was free to buy my own tickets. During the first half of my junior year, a senior in my choir class named Randall invited me to see the band he fronted, The Brightest Star, at a venue called The Korova. Without a doubt, that experience became a pivotal moment of my adolescent life.

I told my parents that I was just going to catch a late movie with some friends. I boarded a bus and sat by myself with the cash I had withdrawn – just enough to get into the bar and take the bus home – lining my pocket. I spent the ride hoping my story wouldn’t fall apart. I approached the venue during soundcheck and could hear the beat of drums. After purchasing my ticket and flashing my driver’s permit, I tried to act natural as the bouncer placed a paper band on my wrist. Eventually I spotted a few kids from my choir class and decided to hang out with them  until we were separated by the growing crowd.

The large crowd of drinking strangers surrounding me made me want to walk out and leave – then the crowd began to cheer. The awkward silence and hostility before the show vanished. I recognized Randall as he ran on stage and grabbed his guitar. He started strumming the strings a few times while his bandmates gathered on stage. As the music started, the attitude of the crowd completely changed. People were smiling at each other, nodding their heads and recording without a care in the world. I stood there with my mouth hanging open, trying to take it all in . A young lady noticed me standing by myself, grabbed my hand and spun me around.

From this point on I only remember having a good time. There was no reason to be afraid or be intimidated by anymore. I fit right in. Everyone was dancing, singing, laughing, and no one ever showed any hostility toward one another. I couldn’t tell who know each other and who were strangers because everyone was included. Even to this day, I cannot think of another time life seemed perfectly flawless. During the band’s entire set I didn’t once think about any current troubles or worries. I only cared about having a good time with a crowd who came together to experience a live show.

Back home, I laid in bed replaying the evening in my head. I didn’t have extra money for merch, but Randall gave me a sticker of his band’s logo the next time he saw me in class.

Music is a universal language. It will never stop bringing people together during the best and worst of times. It’s comforting to know there are others who feel the same way, and I look forward to grabbing their hand and spinning them at the next show.

Love, Sara