The first item on the list: 1). “Go to the Donut Bazar.”
Very little is known about the mysterious donut shop that stands on the corner of Reservoir Avenue and Richland Road in Cranston, Rhode Island, my childhood hometown. From what I’ve heard, the air inside is thick with the smell of cigarette smoke, the cream-colored wallpaper is peeling, the donuts are stale, and the retirees playing Keno at the counter look one cigarette puff away from a heart attack.
Despite these less-than-appealing claims, the Donut Bazar has always fascinated me. I had driven and walked by this establishment thousands of times throughout my life, and yet had never once set foot inside.
One afternoon, after a long and boring day as a second semester senior at Cranston High School East, I made my way down Reservoir Avenue to grab a bite to eat before heading home. I drove by the Donut Bazar and gave a curious stare through the large glass windows. Suddenly, I felt a wave of regret wash over me.
Sure, by all accounts, the Donut Bazar was a dirty, underwhelming and all in all sketchy donut shop, but it was a donut shop I had yet to have the experience of visiting. All at once, I realized that despite having lived in Cranston for more than 18 years of my life, there was still so much I hadn’t experienced. Worst of all, I only had four more months before I would be heading off to Lehigh for college.
That night, I ripped out a sheet of paper from a notebook and began writing the “Donut Bazar List.” My goal: to create a sort of bucket list full of ridiculous and amusing actions I wished to complete before heading off to college and leaving Cranston for what I felt like would be forever.
I was terrified to be going off to college and to be leaving the place I had always called home. I was terrified that the friends I had held so close to my heart during my high school years would slowly begin to drift away, one by one. I was terrified of being forgotten, and I refused to let that happen.
I spent the final months of my senior year drafting the list. My friends and I spent many nights and days creating new items together, and the list steadily grew in size.
Some of the list items were relatively normal and sincere such as:
120). “Have a board game marathon day.”
Others were a bit more ridiculous, but still achievable:
76). “Learn the Canadian National Anthem.”
And others, were completely ludicrous and pointless:
110). “Take the cool whip/ whipped cream eating challenge.”
As senior year came to a close, and with graduation only a few weeks away, I became ecstatic to begin dedicating myself to the list full time. With no summer job, and with no responsibilities weighing me down, the list became my bible.
I encouraged my friends to help me complete tasks, and they soon became equally as driven to complete the list. From tasks as simple as “78). Go to Olive Garden for unlimited soup, salad and breadsticks!” to as complicated as, “130). Start a band and create a full-length album,” it was always satisfying to cross out a completed task. To us, it never mattered how intricate or idiotic an item on the list was. We were simply looking to create good times and memories.
By the end of that summer, we had only completed 50 out of the 241 items on the “Donut Bazar List.” There are still 191 items to go (one of which ironically happens to be the first item on the list), and yet I can’t help but feel accomplished.
To this day, I have yet to step foot into the Donut Bazar, and I don’t intend to. I realize now, however, that my initial obsession over the Donut Bazar was incredibly irrational. I realize now that life isn’t about taking advantage of every opportunity put in front of you. Life is about taking advantage of the opportunities that are important to you. You don’t have to experience every ounce of living to achieve happiness. You don’t have to finish all the items on your bucket list to have lived fully.
For all of those graduating from Lehigh in a few weeks, take the lesson I learned to heart. Do not let the opportunities you may have missed during your time at Lehigh weigh you down. Even if you’ve never been on the roof of Packard, seen the Bethlehem Star up close, or found Asa Packer’s secret bathroom, it doesn’t matter. What you did accomplish here, and the memories you made while at Lehigh, will last you a lifetime.
Story by Brown and White opinion writer Kelsey Alpaio, ’15.