25 Adventures – A Birthday Bucket List

25 Adventures – A Birthday Bucket List

*written July 3, 2020*

Welp. It is my 25th Birthday.

Birthdays are either one of two things – an unforgettable day with an exorbitant amount of anticipation leading up to it

or

a day that’s just a day. It marks a new chapters but not a lot of hub bub happens.

I hate planning a day for myself. I live for surprises and I am pretty sure my love language is through actions and words. (This girl don’t need no expensive gifts, just a planned, happy, little, moment…)

Anyways like many throughout the world, this year’s birthday has been thrown for a loop with the worldwide pandemic. My quarter life day of celebration will always be remembered thanks to a little virus that, unfortunately, means I will be most likely be spending at home without friends a family around. It is OK. But still a little sad.

So today I am going bask in the beauty. I will eat sushi and red velvet cake. I will not work. I will talk to family and friends. Then I will probably end my day eating more cake and watching the new Hamilfilm ūüôā While I wish I could be traveling somewhere or have all of my special people with me, it will still be a special day.

To top it all off I want to list 25 Bucketlist items for this next year of life.

  1. Go on a solo trip – I know that’s a lot, especially now, but ya girl has that travel bug and cannot wait for the world to be safe again.
  2. Travel to a new country – I missss international travel. This bucket list item will always be on every list that I create
  3. Travel to Utah (see friends and family again)
  4. Apply for Grad School – more on this later…..eeep
  5. Get in to Grad School – extra eeeeeep
  6. Pay off my Student Loans (all $12,000 that’s left)
  7. Make $25 from my own business – I don’t know what this is yet. Is it this blog? Is it music? Something new that I cannot even comprehend?
  8. Run a half marathon – I am on my way to a 5K…. a half marathon is doable right?
  9. Lose 25 lbs
  10. Touch my toes – I have not been able to do this since before puberty. This will change
  11. Do the splits
  12. Feel happy being alone – this one is cryptic, but loneliness seems to be a theme that is at the forefront of this new chapter. I want to change that.
  13. Sing on a stage
  14. Sing an opera aria and BE PROUD OF IT – believe or not, after years of undergrad training and performances, I have never felt that.
  15. Arrange a song and have it performed
  16. Go on a date
  17. Cook more
  18. Be more ethical in my purchases (secondhand clothes / clean beauty / locally made)
  19. Read and write more
  20. Spend one hour less on my phone each day
  21. Use essential oils more consistently in my day
  22. Go to therapy consistently – AKA find a therapist
  23. Change my perspective of myself – it is currently very degrading and hyper critical. Not okay.
  24. Depend on and trust myself
  25. Love more freely

Some things are specific, some are cryptic. Some are silly and some are deeep. But I believe that if I intend on spending the next 365 days of my life with these little goals in my head, they will all happen. I am so grateful for my little day. I am so grateful for my life and I hope to add more to it, be my best self and help others in the process. So here’s to the next chapter in Becca’s life.

And don’t forget : Black Lives Matter / Breonna Taylor was murdered / racism is real / vote / love is love / wear a mask / respect each other/ we can get through this together

Thanks for the Adventure, 25.

Quarantine Books / Month 2

Quarantine Books / Month 2

I am honestly blown away with how quickly the time, days, weeks, and months are passing through this pandemic, and priorities seem to change on a daily basis. Hence, why posts haven’t necessarily been happening on this platform. But that is OKAY (at least that’s what I tell myself…)

My reading has slowed down quite a bit. I have found a new daily grind and sadly it includes way too much time on my social media apps on my phone instead of reading or creating music. I think it is that desire to connect that everyone is talking about?? That being said, posts are planned and will be posted. I hope someone will read them…

Speaking of reading? Here are the books that I delved into in the month of April 2020 AKA Month 2 of Quarantine Books.


Also read Quarantine Books (March in Books)


WE RIDE UPON STICKS by Quan Barry

Get ready for some literary gushing…This book was an absolute gem to read and I am oh-so-grateful for my bestie, Diana, and the Fantastic Stranglings Bookclub by the Jenny Lawson. I am so glad I read this when I did because I discovered that two of my Top Shelf Vocal gals were also reading it. We started our own little book club over email and it made my heart happy.

IMG_7063Overall, the vibe of the book is funny and realistic with some dark paranormal elements that may or may not be real… The reader spends an entire summer/school year with a high school field hockey team in the 80s. There is every 80s reference one could want as well as teen topics that we all have dealt with. There are hints of feminism, the importance of friendship, and what happens when teen girls grow up. Even though I suffered through high school in the 2010s, I felt that the issues and situations were still very relatable (even now in adulthood) and the jokes were genuinely funny. I was lol-ing in just about every chapter.

The writing was astounding. At first, I had a hard time following the flow. There always seemed to be a lot going on at once without much direction. It wasn’t until I had realized that the POV was not from any one character, or even as third-person, but from the team as a whole. Their entire psyche was connected and telling the story. It added to the vibe and created a seamless storyline.

The characters were the biggest gems (other than the writing). I highly related to Becca, because…the name ūüėČ and big boob probs. I had definitely worn more than one sports bra to PE and was a proud, secret, member of the BBC (Big-Boobs-Club.) I also loved and related to Julie, since I too grew up in a conservative household, and I thought her very funny. I LOVED that “The Claw” and “Splotch” were their own beings and characters and the “Philip” situation/resolution was to die for.

The setting of the Boston North Shore brought me joy since the previously mentioned bestie is from there. I fell in love with the area when I visited years ago and I miss said bestie. So it was like having her closer, especially since she gifted the book club subscription!

All this being said…I loved it and was genuinely surprised that I loved it so much. My favorite Quarantine Read so far. Boom. You go Quan Barry.

“Hit the Earth three times with your stick. Lift your eyes to the hole in the night. Remember that darkness simply requires another way of seeing. Be your own light. And just like that, you’ll find yourself everywhere and instantly.” ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†


Read I am Completely Fine…


MANSFIELD PARK by Jane Austen

An absolute classic that, surprisingly, I had never read before…

While not my most favorite Austen novel, it had all the qualities and characters that you can’t help but love in her works.

In my experience, every Austen novel is slow for the first hundred pages or so with long and expressive character development. Some necessary and some of it not. This book seemed to be extremely slow with it not capturing my excitement until the last hundred pages. The ending had the elements that I was hoping for but it seemed sudden and not satisfying. Not like P&P.

The characters were not my favorite and quite annoyed me really. The only redeeming one was Fanny Price, who may be my favorite heroine so far. I absolutely loved her and personally related to her. She had growth and thoughts that have been recorded in my little quote book.

I will say, the 1999 film rendition was absolute perfection, which I watched immediately after finishing the book. While straying from the book it still had that “Austen” essence. Fanny, in the film, was much more outgoing and outspoken. She had much more personality, which made me like her much more in general, but I was still in love with Austen’s original Fanny Price. Scenes were cut or reordered, but it allowed the flow and the themes to shine more. The humor was there and the men were oh-so-dreamy.

Overall, Mansfield Park‘s¬†storyline was very similar to P&P, in my opinion, but still worth reading. There is nothing quite like Jane Austen on a rainy day.

“Her own thoughts and reflections were habitually her best companions.”


Read To All the… (a book review and a love note)


WATER FOR ELEPHANTS by Sara Gruen

*DISCLAIMER* – My reasoning behind reading this novel was based on the fact that I adore the movie. So much so that I purchased the DVD in college, despite not owning a playing device at the time. Also, Robert Pattison is a dream and Reese Witherspoon is a queen.IMG_7133

This was a nice, blissful, read. I love romantic period/historical books and movies so I was already sold to begin with. The storyline feels complete with the characters, events, the climax, and the ending. I will say that I loved the book’s switching back and forth in time in Jacob’s POV.

Jacob, Rosie, and the minor circus characters were by far my favorites. August was an alluring but somewhat boring villain and Marlena was kinda “eh” for me. Jacob was a lovable protagonist who had growth, both in the storyline of his past and future. I especially loved his kooky, somewhat negative, but sweet older self. Rosie was just a joy and I wish she had more moments in the book.

The themes were subtle but very apparent. Animal abuse, human cruelty, human kindness, family – both by blood and chosen, sex, growing up, circus (or outsider) culture, were among the few. There wasn’t one stand-out theme overall but they did add to the story. Overall it was an enjoyable read, simple in some ways but still good. Admittedly, I still like the movie better…

“Keeping up the appearance of having all your marbles is hard work, but important.”

“Life is the most spectacular show on Earth.”


Read Thanks for the Bucketlist #2


Although sometimes I have added a pressure to “read faster” and “read more,” because of my little Bucketlist goal – Books have still been a joyous thing to have. I love stories and different worlds. And sometimes delving into a different one is quite necessary.

Go enjoy the sun, Spring/Summer seems to be coming. Read more. Call more. Write more. Listen more.

Anyways, as always…

Thanks for the adventure, (Quarantine) Books.

IMG_7297

 

Follow me on my SOCIALS ——

Goodreads, Instagram, Facebook and Bloglovin

‚̧ ‚̧ ‚̧

January in Books

January in Books

Back to the books books books! This past month I let myself completely delve into whatever book I wanted and it was great! During the Holidays, I was gifted an Amazon Kindle (for all those future trips I hope….) and fell in love with it surprisingly, as I LOVE the feeling of a real book. I also tried my best to get through a giant stack that I had spontaneously checked out from my local library.

I am still aiming to complete my Bucket list item!

Related: Thanks for the Bucketlist #2


HUNGER GAMES TRIOLOGY by Suzanne Collins

5 Stars

I had a blast rereading these. I read them on my Kindle as they were free in the Kindle Unlimited Library. After each book, I watched the corresponding movie. I loved these books when they first came out and I loved them again. The writing, the suspense, the characters were just what I wanted out of a consuming, fun, YA read.

Are you Team Gale or Team Peeta? Back in the day, I was Team Gale all the way. I couldn’t help but sympathize with him and I loved the idea of a long-time friend turning into a long-time love. (Well let’s be real…I still love and believe in that idea.) This time around, Team Peeta. More realistic. The better person in the long run. I mean the end of¬†Mockingjay….c’mon Gale…

Fun Fact: I read the first book merely months after it was first published, thanks to the recommendation by Stephenie Meyer on her website. Which I followed and read religiously at that time. I simply grabbed it off the shelf of the library, as no one knew about it. I had to wait a year and a half for Catching Fire, and by that point, it literally caught fire amongst my age group.

“Better to not give in to it. It takes ten times as long to pull yourself back together as it does to fall apart.”

“I’ll tell them how I survive it. I’ll tell them that on bad mornings, it feels impossible to take pleasure in anything because I’m afraid it could be taken away. That’s when I make a list in my head of every act of goodness I’ve seen someone do. It’s like a game. Repetitive. even a little tedious after more than twenty years. But there are much worse games to play.” ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†-Suzanne Collins in Mockingjay


ELEANOR AND PARK by Rainbow Rowell

4 Stars

This was another sweet, fast, endearing read. I picked it up on a day I was feeling extremely anxious and needed something to pull me away from my problems quickly. This was absolutely perfect. Within an hour I was 70 pages in and hooked. I fell in love with the characters. The emotions were real and extremely relatable. First love is no joke and this novel nailed it right on the head. It touched on deeper topics such as race, poverty, self-esteem, body image and social pressures. It had a sad ending, leading to tears on my end, but there is just enough hope in where I could imagine where I wanted it to go. Which made me feel better overall. Someone recommended to me to read all of Rowell’s books, which I plan on doing.

“There was something about the music on that tape. It felt different. Like, it set her lungs and stomach on edge. There was something exciting about it, and something nervous. It made Eleanor feel like everything, like the word, wasn’t what she’d thought it was. And that was a good thing. That was the greatest thing ¬† ¬†-Rainbow Rowell in¬†Eleanor and Park


MATCHED by Ally Condie

3 Stars

The premise is interesting and of course, I live for a love triangle/story. Even cheesy and unrealistic YA ones. I gave the third star for Condie’s writing. There were simply beautiful passages that were almost poetic. The descriptions were artistic and enjoyed her overall tone.

That being said, the reason I didn‚Äôt love this dystopian YA romance was simply the character development. Especially concerning the main heroine, Cassia. Love her and what she represents but her growth and change didn‚Äôt make sense to me. She begins as one of the ‚Äúcitizens,‚ÄĚ naive and oblivious to the underlying evils. You sense that events chapter after chapter are an important discovery but they don‚Äôt line up with her sudden change to ‚Äúrebel.‚ÄĚ It‚Äôs as if the author knew what Cassia would be but not where she came from. I was bothered by that. Her sudden love for Ky also did not make sense. There was no major dilemma or choice that she made to not be with Xander, despite the sweet passages, in the beginning, all the way through halfway in the book. Again, seemingly very sudden. No sense of story arc as well. Overall struggled.

I‚Äôm still going to read the other two as I have this incessant need to know what happens. Especially if the answer is sitting on my bookshelf…

“Every minute you spend with someone gives them a part of your life and takes part of theirs.” ¬† ¬† ¬† -Ally Condie in¬†Matched


Related: July in Books

Honorable mentions…Those that I started but didn’t finish because of Library due dates…

MANSFIELD PARK by Jane Austen

THE WOMAN WHO SMASHED CODES: A STORY OF TRUE LOVE, SPIES, AND THE UNLIKELY HEROINE WHO OUTWITTED AMERICA’S ENEMIES by Jason Fagone

I’m excited for my February reads. I am joining a couple of book clubs and I never know what I’ll find in the library.

Untitled design

Thanks for the Adventure Books!

Bucketlist update: 27/52


SOCIALS:

Follow me on my Goodreads! I keep track of all my reads, dream reads, reviews, and goals. I want to follow more fellow readers too! Give me a follow and I would love to follow back!

Follow me on Instagram! I share on my stories what I am currently reading and thinking about these books. Also, make sure to check out the highlights for past posts!

Follow the Facebook page if you wish. I post links to current posts there!

My Scary Bucketlist Goal…

My Scary Bucketlist Goal…

With #worldmentalhealthday last week and the latest trends of #mentalhealthawareness I have felt the pull to share my personal experiences and thoughts on it. That was part of my list of original intentions of why I started this blog. (See my¬†About¬†page…)

But in all reality, I have been TERRIFIED. I have had posts planned and half written for months. I have been scared of any sort of backlash – legitimate opinions that I am not qualified to share because I am privileged with wonderful friends and family. My struggles are no where near as terrible and painful as someone else next to me. I have been scared of sharing what I feel is one of my biggest weaknesses, and the thing that I have been most ashamed of the past couple of years.

The truth is: I know what it’s like, for me, to not understand why I am feeling so sad in such positive and exciting circumstances. I know what it’s like to jump from overjoy to depression in the matter of moments. I know what it’s like to not be able to breath from anxiety. I know what it’s like to not be able to eat because my insides are curled up from panic. I know what it’s like to have panic attacks where I am physically sore for days after. I know what it’s like to sob. I know what it’s like to be in the dark. I know what it’s like to question my worth and value due to my mental health, which can be hard to explain to others.

Fear is one of the biggest attributes of my life and when I see friends and myself shying away from potentially incredible moments because of fear I’m usually the first one to say, “Go for it! Since it’s scary it will only be more worth it!” but that is much easier said than done. But I’m going to do it and make it part of my Bucketlist…

Do one scary thing.

It is a Bucketlist item that will always be re-added to the list, because there will always be something scary to do, share, say, sing, live, attempt, etc. Once this, sharing my mental health journey, is not as scary, there will always be something else to add.

So take a listen to those closest to you. Understand that you won’t always understand, but are willing to share love. Be a listening ear and be willing to share. Whether that be with yourself in a journal, to a close friend or family member, or a therapist (highly recommended!)

Please comment, message, share! I know connecting with others always helps me (so I may be being a little selfish in wanting to make more internet friends ;)) so please message away!

Follow on my socials at:

Instagram –¬†@thebeccaclarke

and Facebook

Thanks for the Adventure

Thanks for the Adventure, Scary Bucketlists….

August in Books

August in Books

This past month was crazy with end of summer fun including family and friends visiting, exploring my new city, hustling to find a job, auditions, call backs, rehearsals and starting a new normal. I am completely overwhelmed and thrilled about it all, but it also meant that my brain did not allow blissful reading unless I was sitting on a beach not worried about time and to-do lists.

So my August in books…

I found a Free Book Library in my neighborhood! I saw these everywhere in the neighborhoods in Downtown SLC. I never participated and quickly regretted it later, but thankfully I found one in my new California street! My one read this month came from this cute, little, “take a book, leave a book” library.

Untitled design-2.png

 

THE MOZART CONSPIRACY (BEN HOPE #2) by Scott Mariani

Untitled design-4I didn’t love, love, this book. I chose it simply from the title and the cover. Lolz. It was different than my normal reads: action, guns, and lots of alcohol. Very James Bond… But the mystery was exciting. Very Da Vinci Code… And I won’t lie that I was pulled in by the romance. It was a quick read, which once my brain shut off I couldn’t put it down. The excitement and writing made up for the “spy” genre that I don’t normally go for. And I loved the European and Opera references!

My book haul this past month came from a little shop in Pacific Beach, San Diego called PENNYWISE BOOKS. It was the quintessential used book store, complete with a man reading a book behind the counter and not even using a till or computer to take payment. They had a couple of shelves outside filled with books for $1. I HAD to indulge and bought IDAHO by Emily Ruskovich (which I am currently reading and loving) and THE GIRLS by Emma Cline. Why is it that browsing book shops and buying books sometimes more exciting than actually reading them?? Haha Read about my full adventure in San Diego HERE.

Untitled design-3

Overall, despite the lack of actually reading and contributing more to my Bucketlist Challenge, in was a good month in the book department.

You can keep up with what I am currently reading at my GOODREADS (come be my friend!) As well as on my personal Insta @beccaanneclarke (I tend to post on my stories when I start something new!)

Bucketlist count : 13/52

Other Socials:

Instagram –¬†@thanksfortheadventureblog

Facebook

Thanks for the adventure, Books!!

 

July in Books

July in Books

As part of my Bucketlist goal #2, which you can read about HERE, I have been delving back into the world of books. I want to share which ones I have loved and hated and all of the in-between this past month.

You can also keep up to date with what I’m exploring on my¬†Goodreads¬†and my Instagrams¬†@thanksfortheadventureblog¬†and¬†@beccaanneclarke¬†!

So here is my #Julywrapup in books!

THE STRANGER BESIDE ME: TED BUNDY: THE SHOCKING INSIDE STORY by Ann Rule

Taiwan -4.pngThis was a hefty read. Over 500 pages of information and heavy emotions. It took me a month to get through it but totally worth it. It was absolutely fascinating. I have seen quite a few documentaries and thought I understood the darkness and mystery surrounding Ted. Ann Rule offered so much insight and information. It was beautifully written and easy to read despite the length, subject matter, and the immense amount of facts. But more importantly she brought so much emotion and light to the victims. Highlighting how terrible it was to loose those girls. Gave them a voice. Thank you Ms. Rule for sharing your side of the story and putting so much work and effort in telling the story of all characters to this story: including police forces, detectives, journalists, lawyers, judges, the families of the victims, and of course those who perished at the hands of Ted.

” ‘Conscience doth make cowards of us all’ but conscience is what gives us our humanity, the factor that separates us from animals. It allows us to love, to feel another’s pain, and to grow. Whatever drawbacks are to being blessed with a conscience the rewards are essential to living in a world in other human beings.” ¬† ¬† -Ann Rule

PRIDE AND PREDJUDICE by Jane Austen

A classic, obviously. And a favorite of mine since I was in middle school. I HAD to read it Taiwan .pngagain to bring back the magic of reading. I wanted to get excited about the characters and completely transported from this world and after such a hefty commitment to¬†Stranger…¬†I needed it. Jane Austen just got it. She understood the human conscience so well therefore her characters are so relatable. The human emotions she describes are so accurate. It has been years since I read it last, and before I had dealt with real love and heartbreak but boy, she got it. I related to Elizabeth more than ever, and found quite a bit of comfort in Victorian England. Anyways, I loved it as always.

‚ÄúElizabeth had never been more at a loss to make her feelings appear what they were not. It was necessary to laugh, when she would rather have cried.‚ÄĚ ¬† ¬†-Jane Austen

‚ÄúElizabeth’s spirit’s soon rising to playfulness again, she wanted Mr. Darcy to account for his having ever fallen in love with her. ‘How could you begin?’ said she.
‘I can comprehend your going on charmingly, when you had once made a beginning; but what could set you off in the first place?’ ¬†‘I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look, or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.‚ÄĚ ¬† ¬†-Jane Austen (SPOILER… my favorite part….ugh)

Taiwan -3THE GUNSLINGER (DARK TOWER #1) by Stephen King

I did not like this one. At all. I read over half and had to stop. It was very slow and overall felt like a young man’s fan fiction. Apparently it’s like a “prologue” to the rest of the series, but it just did not have my attention. This was my first Stephen King novel, so I was sad to be so disappointed. I will though make sure to read at least one of his other more popular ones. So give your recommendations!

 

 

NEVER LET ME GO by Kazuo Ishiguro

This was a, “It was good. I didn’t LOVE it. Probably won’t read it again.” I can see why itTaiwan -2 has won awards. The story was interesting, and the writing overall very well done. For the longest time (like the first half of the book) I couldn’t figure out whether it was a historical, dystopian, or plain Jane fiction. I did eventually feel connected to the characters, but there was not an overwhelming need to know what happens to them. It would be a good book to start conversations about culture, humanity, and how humans view each other. I’m glad I read it, and I would recommend it but not an absolute “stay on my bookshelf” read.

“I think of my pile of old paperbacks, their pages gone wobbly, like they’d once belonged to the sea.” ¬† ¬†-Kazuo Ishiguro

“I keep thinking about this river somewhere, with the water moving really fast, And these two people in the water, trying to hold onto each other, holding as hard as they can, but in the end it’s just too much. The currents too strong. They’ve got to let go, drift apart.” ¬† ¬†-Kazuo Ishiguro

I AM MALALA: THE STORY OF THE GIRL WHO STOOD UP FOR EDUCATION AND WAS SHOT BY THE TALIBAN by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb

Taiwan -5.pngEver since seeing the documentary of the same name and hearing about her story, I have wanted to read Malala’s memoir. Overall, what an inspiration. I think it is important to be aware of the world, other cultures, as well as other people’s struggles. It brings into perspective what is actually important in life and how lucky we are. I admire Malala’s bravery and dedication to what she has decided is her life’s purpose. Education is important and should be given to all. Violence and discrimination for power should be stopped. It was not the most engaging read, but inspiring. She gives a look into her beliefs, religion, culture, country, fears, joys. Yes, like many others, would relate it to¬†The Diary of Anne Frank.¬†Malala is on the top of my list of inspirational people on this planet.

“Education is neither Eastern nor Western, it is human.” ¬† ¬†-Malala Yousafzai

“Some people are afraid of ghosts, some of spiders or snakes – in those days we were afraid of our fellow human beings.” ¬† ¬†-Malala Yousafzai

“We human beings don’t realize how great God is. He has given us an extraordinary brain and sensitive loving hear. He has blessed us with two lips to talk and express our feelings, two eyes which we see a world of colors and beauty, two feet which walk on the road of life, two hands to work for us, a nose which smells the beauty of fragrance, and two ears to hear the words of love.” ¬† ¬†-Malala Yousafzai

BEFORE WE WERE YOURS by Lisa Wingate

Loved loved loved this book. This was by far my favorite read all month. So many Untitled design-23gorgeous passages. The mystery is engaging all the way through. The human relations are real and beautiful. I liked the switching between time and characters. The message of love, family, and courage thrives all the way through and leaves you inspired at the end. I caught myself squealing, laughing out loud, and crying throughout. The historical significance is interesting, sad, and important to acknowledge. Overall such a good story and book and I will recommend it to everyone. As well as keep it on my shelf..

“I shush my mind, because you mind can ruin it if you let it.” ¬† ¬†-Lisa Wingate

“Life is not unlike the cinema. Each scene has its own music, and the music is created for the scene, woven to it in ways we do not understand. No matter how music we may love the melody of a bygone day or imagine the song of a future one, we must dance within the music of today, or we will always be out of step, stumbling around in something that doesn’t suit the moment.” ¬† ¬† -Lisa Wingate

“A woman’s past need not predict her future. She can dance to new music if she chooses. Her¬†own music. To hear the tune she must stop talking. To herself, I mean. We’re always trying to persuade ourselves of things.” ¬† ¬†-Lisa Wingate

So here you go…a July summer month in books…here’s to the next month!

Untitled design-22

Thanks for the Adventure Books!

Bucketlist update: 11/52

Thanks for the Bucketlist #2

Thanks for the Bucketlist #2

Next Item on the list…

Item #2

To read 52 books in one year

It seems like a lot. Which it is. But I want something difficult, and almost unachievable. If I don’t make it, there is always next year. Now for an explanation. There is meaning behind every dream…

I LOVE reading. Always have. I don’t remember when reading clicked for me. I’ve always been able to recognize words. I remember sitting in my booster seat in the back of my parent’s red Saturn, driving down the street and seeing signs. I would challenge myself to see if I could recognize every word. I remember reading my book out loud to an older kid on my school bus and not recognizing the word “island.” But then feeling so proud of myself, knowing the word every time after. It fascinated me, words. Then stories. I would start a book and get engrossed in the stories and characters. The books I was choosing got longer and longer and the challenge to see how fast I could get through a book began. It was exciting.

I remember when “Chapter Books” became my biggest accomplishment. My favorites were the¬†Junie B. Jones¬†series and¬†Magic Treehouse or the¬†American Girl Doll book series. Then I started figuring out genres I enjoyed. Mostly Fiction, especially Historical Fiction, and of course Fantasy. (What kid in the early 2000s didn’t like Fantasy? Harry Potter ruled the world.) As I got older more genres were added to that list. Romance and Literary Classics were at the top. Now it is memoirs and Non-fiction with dashes of the original favorites.

My required reading assignments never were homework to me (even the papers in college). ¬†I would always read ahead and have to remind myself constantly to stop to answer the worksheets that went alongside. I would win awards for reading the most pages, or gaining the most “points” from the computerized book tests we took.

My favorite time in elementary school was when the teacher would read aloud to the class after lunch. I will always remember The Tale of Desperaux by Kate DiCamillo and sitting in my 4th Grade class with Mrs. Helvy.

In high school I spent two whole summers searching every discount book shelf for books on the AP Literature list. My Mom would carry the many pages of listed books in her purse. Then I read as many as I could to “get ahead.”

Books and stories saved me. Many times. They saved me from boredom. They saved me from feeling inadequate or not cool (surprisingly…) They gave me a way to connect to people, even adults, by being able to share common interests or a love for a classic children’s novel. They also saved me from loneliness.

When I was 13 my family made a sudden move from California to Utah. It was the middle of the school year with no warning. I remember the day we left our home in CA we stopped at a Barnes & Noble on the way to the expansive freeway. My Mom had promised to buy me a book, which was rare as libraries are a thing and books are expensive, as a reward for helping pack and not fighting too much against the move. I chose Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. Admittally I loved it. I read probably the first 100 pages on the drive, completely taken away from my current situation that I despised. The main character also was moving, in the middle of a school year, to a new place with no friends. There was not much more comparisons after that, but I loved the book. I loved the world. It also gave me something to talk about with other girls that I was meeting at my new school.

Summer came and I had found very little friends in my month and a half at my new Utah school. I had church acquaintances but no one I felt close enough to consistently make plans with outside of weekly youth activities. I was also the only girl my age…Boys were gross at 13. But I did find the library. Weekly, my Mom would drag us kids out of the house, or I would ride my bike in the 100 degree heat to the library. I would scour the YA section, usually picking random books from the “Newly Released” section based off of their covers. I loved long series because they would take longer to get through, and you got more time with the characters. I would usually check out 3-7 books at a time and drag them home in the plastic trash bag the librarian would stack them in.

That entire summer in my small, air-conditioned room with the radio on to the local pop station I sat on the navy blue, corduroy, pull-out couch that was placed under the front window. I read so many books that summer. I also listened to quite bit of Linkin Park and Katy Perry. But those books saved me for ultimately a very lonely 3 months.

Untitled design-2

Books and stories have saved me from anxiety. I feel those panicked feelings bubbling and I listen to the speeding thoughts going through my head. When I pick up a book and allow myself to dive in completely I feel calmer. I don’t feel like I’m wasting my time, as I do when I watch Netflix or browse Facebook. I am discovering a story, a world, and people.

In my opinion some of the most admirable people, specifically women, are authors. Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, Louisa May Alcott, J.K. Rowling to name a few. They all challenged the world by creating stories. Not only are their books a joy to read and the characters important to me and so many others around the world, but their own personal lives are inspiring and relatable. Do you know anything about Louisa May Alcott’s life and her personal views? Rowling’s struggle to find herself? You should. It doesn’t matter when they lived, what genre of literature they wrote, or even why they decided to write. We are all human, and words are one of the best ways to share our personal humanity to others. Thankfully authors are brave enough to share those words.

Stories are the reason I was driven to performing. I like to think that books started that. The amount of individual stories are innumerable when looking at plays, musical theater pieces, operas, art songs, and song cycles. Themes cross over multiple genres and over  centuries. As a performer, I can find myself in almost every character I have encountered. There is a thrill when discovering a story that is paired with incredible music, or some beautifully written dialogue. Then to share it using every skill set imaginable is a whirlwind.

Stories can show us that there is a way to survive and live. Through the good and bad. Our entire lives are compiled of our own individual stories. Which is why I think they are worth sharing. You never know who you can have a connection with. And somehow seeing moments in our lives especially difficult ones as stories they seem smaller, simpler, but significant.

After I finished college, dealing with mental health and a slew of changes in my life I could feel myself wanting to go back. To bring back a simplicity into my life. Books came back. They have allowed me to slow down. I have found the feelings of being engrossed in a world that is not the one that I am sitting in, which I have missed. There are moments where I feel as if I am the same girl who sat on that pull-our couch 10 years ago. I have the same insecurities and fear of being lonely.

I want to discover more books, stories, and authors. I want to finally read those novels that have been sitting on my bookshelf for years. I want to share these stories with you.

So here’s to the next item of my Bucketlist. I don’t think it will ever stop. I will always have some sort of reading goal.¬†I technically started in May, but have procrastinated sharing because it is scary to share…

Join my challenge, see what books I am reading, and what I think of them at my Goodreads!

Thanks for the Adventure books!

Thanks for the Bucketlist #1

Thanks for the Bucketlist #1

I think Bucketlists are important. Not only is it a list of goals, but it is a list of goals that can be as unrealistic as possible. I believe having goals are an integral part of life. Yes, having goals to reach success financially, emotionally, spiritually are all important. But a Bucketlist is a list of goals, well actually dreams. Lots of mini and big dreams that simply bring you joy. It is a list of anything.¬†A list of things you want to see. A list of seemingly unachievable accomplishments. Some are simply reckless with no reasoning behind it. But at the end of it all, if you don’t achieve them that’s ok. If you do, it is worth celebrating. It is worth celebrating having a list of things for you.

When I “graduated” college (more on that later…) the commencement speaker was Ben Nemtin, best-selling author and creator of the show¬†The Buried Life. He spoke of finding success, of course, but also doing the things we want to in life despite feeling “buried” by the day-to-day parts of life. He spoke about having dreams and sharing those dreams with those around you. Them most importantly, persisting… All the inspiration required in a speech to thousands of college graduates that somehow still has resonated with me a year later.

Read his full speech here. (Highly recommend!)

So here on this little website I will start sharing my Bucketlist and hopefully sharing my celebrations as I start ticking off each of these new goals and dreams.

Item #1 is:

Consistently post on my crazy little blog once a week for a year

It’s going to happen. I promise to not talk down to myself if it’s not the same day every week. I will share the good and the bad. I will do my best not to worry about what others think. I will not compare myself to other “bloggers.” I will aim to share positivity and joy. I will share every adventure. I will simply do my best.

Join me in starting a Bucketlist!

Untitled design

 

Thanks for the Adventure Bucketlist…Here we gooooo!