Stop Asking Where I'm From

The List: Because I’m so tired of being a timid, passive, boring little thing.

Written By: humarashid - Aug• 26•13

This is basically the plot of a lame romantic comedy starring Katherine Heigl or some other non-descript White Woman, but that’s okay, because I won’t let that stop me. And while I muddle my way through this, you guys are, sadly, along for the ride and will just have to bear with me, and possibly giggle at my various misadventures, which I will obviously be chronicling for your amusement.

I recently made a list. It has 259 items, and counting. We’re getting ahead of ourselves, but one of the items in the list is to participate in a 365 photo-a-day-challenge. I’ve been doing the #FMSPhotoADay challenge on instagram, and the other day, the prompt was “in the background.” So I posted this picture with this caption:

#fmsphotoaday In The Background. As in, I'm sick of being the timid, passive, boring little thing in the background. So I put together a list of 258 items (and counting!) of adventures big and small that I intend to have. And I've already gotten started on having them.

#fmsphotoaday In The Background. As in, I’m sick of being the timid, passive, boring little thing in the background. So I put together a list of 258 items (and counting!) of adventures big and small that I intend to have. And I’ve already gotten started on having them.

And really, that’s basically the gist of it.

This is obviously just a little snapshot of a long list that I have written down in my journal. I started journaling in 2011, when I was out of law school, unemployed, and miserable. The exercise not only helped me get out of my head and keep a handle on my emotions, but it was a very useful problem-solving tool. I used it to outline different strategies I could make use of to find a job or at least not languish in the meantime, and then I tracked my results and used that as a jumping point for more employment brainstorming.

And I still use journals to this day as problem-solving tools. In fact, I have planned more than one theory of defense and more than one heavy-duty motion in the pages of my journal, with great results. Also, I admit to using it as a place to curse and vent after devastating, disillusioning losses (at work, in terms of cases).

I never would have thought it, but apparently I’m a journaler. What always seemed like a tedious hobby that obstructed my creative flow more than enhanced it has proven to be an invaluable tool, not only personally but professionally.

And so, while sitting on a white, sandy beach in St. Joseph, MI, overlooking our gorgeous Lake Michigan, I turned to my journal once more, to address a different kind of problem.

I’m a boring person.

Don’t get me wrong: I know my strengths. I’m a great conversationalist, once I get over my initial shyness and awkwardness. I make a beautiful first impression (despite said shyness). I’m witty and good at banter. I’m encouraging and supportive. I’m intelligent. I’m harmless, but can be quite tough. I always rise to the challenge – always.

But I’m boring.

I don’t do anything.

My hobbies include reading, writing, drinking tea, and being introspective.

That’s pretty much it.

And there’s a reason for that – a reason that’s manifested itself in various ways since my childhood. I was a very extroverted child, until I got my eyeglasses at age 7. After that, I became painfully shy and less extroverted (although I am surely not a pure introvert, rather more of a mix with good days and bad days as far as social engagement).

To this day, I hide behind my glasses. They’re my security blanket, and I perceive them as a means of keeping people from getting too close to me, looking too closely at me, or even seeing me, really. It’s so bad that often times, when I wear my contacts, I keep a pair of fake glasses perched on my nose – again, as a security blanket. And that’s kind of messed up.

There is another reason that I’ve kind of fallen into the passive mold, and it has a lot to do with our culture. I went to a small, private Islamic school and as I look back on it now, I see how much conformity was emphasized. I didn’t realize it then, but I see it now. Being on anyone’s radar was just an invitation for gossip – and less so among the students than the administration, teachers, and general community.

So I conformed. I was just a kid; I saw that conformity made it easier to get by without any trouble or any raised brows, so I conformed. No big deal. But conforming meant not stepping outside proscribed gender, religious, and cultural norms, which I realize in hindsight were incredibly misognynistic and limiting, and sometimes just plain fucking backwards.

I got a little better in high school. I went to parties. I went to post-Prom. I stayed out late. I had mini-adventures, like any normal high school kid, although I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I was considerably more tame than your average high school kid. Even at the time, while appreciating my newfound freedom and newly discovered personality, I was conscious and regretful of the fact that I was so tame and, yes, boring. But I was happy nonetheless with my lot, because I had good friends, I got good grades, I had plenty of extra-curriculars, and I was well liked.

There’s another aspect of our culture that plays into this heavily. All my life, before I did anything, I considered how it would affect my parents. And my brother. And how it would look to the Desi community here in general. Even if something was totally above deck – legal, fun, educational, edifying in any manner – I would still avoid it if I felt it would reflect on my parents in anything but a totally positive way.

It’s the South Asian way, you guys.

(It’s also the way of many other cultures and groups; I’m certainly not claiming exclusivity. Many people can relate to this to some extent, I’m sure, regardless of ethnicity.)

It would reflect badly on my parents, for example, if I moved out after college. Because in our culture, except in more progressive circles, girls do not do that. So I didn’t. Because moving out wasn’t worth dishonoring my parents or having them upset with me – my independence and freedom and sanity just wasn’t worth that, at that point in my life.

Going on a road trip with my girlfriends was not only something that my parents would forbid for cultural reasons (girls don’t go anywhere too far alone!), but it would reflect poorly on them if it got out in the community. And doing them a dishonor like that, and having them upset with me, just wasn’t worth it.

I’ve always wanted to go sky-diving. My parents always gave the impression that they thought that was dangerous and foolhardy – prohibitively so. Upsetting them just wasn’t worth it at that point in my life.

I can give so many examples. I won’t. I’ll spare y’all.

But suffice it to say, all of those things played a big part in why I am a boring, timid little thing.

And I’m just so sick of it.

I am so sick of being boring. I am so sick of being passive. I’m so sick of being timid. I’m so sick of considering everyone else before I consider myself. Before I consider my happiness, my edification, my life experiences. If I’m not hurting anyone or hurting myself, if the experience is feasible, then there is literally no reason NOT to go forward with it.

It took me 27 years to come up with that, you guys. And isn’t that just a little bit pathetic?

I remember sitting on the shores of Lake Michigan, considering being there a hard-won freedom on its own (my parents didn’t hassle me at all about taking a day trip to Michigan – although I don’t think they knew at that time that I was planning to go to Michigan; they may’ve thought I was staying in Illinois). And I remember looking out at that gorgeous blue water, and thinking that it looked like an ocean. You couldn’t see any land (Wisconsin) on the other side. It was just blue water as far as the eye could see.

(This was actually in Muskegon, Michigan; I didn't have a good pic of just the lake in St. Joseph, MI.)

(This was actually in Muskegon, Michigan; I didn’t have a good pic of just the lake in St. Joseph, MI.)

We used to go to Cape Cod a lot when I lived in Boston, and I remember just staring out across the Atlantic. There’s nothing like being by a great expanse of water to make you feel like you’re standing on the edge of the world.

And it got me thinking about my life, and the things I’ve seen and the things I want to see. It got me thinking of the things I want to do, the adventures I want to have, the things I want to learn – all of them in furtherance of being an interesting, well-rounded, person who knows things. That’s all I want to do/be.

That was how my list was born. I grabbed my journal and started writing. I just kept writing and writing and writing until I had more than 200 things scribbled down, looking back up at me, daring me to cross them off so I could add even more.

I refuse to be boring, timid, or passive anymore. This isn’t a grand, dramatic gesture; rather, it’s just quiet determination that has been simmering for some time and finally found an outlet and means of articulation.

I do love my lists, after all.

And now I have more than 250 things on it, so that’s kind of an accomplishment in itself. After all, they say that articulating what you want is  a big step toward actually getting it or doing it. And for some people, figuring out what they want is actually the hardest step.

It was that way with me for a while. I knew I wanted … more. I just didn’t know what ‘more’ was.

Now I do.

Some of the things are big. Some of them are small. Some are more immediate than others. Some are probably rather boring – to some people. Some are things that aren’t all that exciting or interesting, but they’re things I haven’t done yet, that I want to do, and for that reason they’re important and worthy. Some of these things are things I have a pretty good idea that I’ll dislike, but I want the experience anyway.

Plus, there’s always the off-chance that I’ll like those things that I think I might very well dislike. I’m someone who very rarely writes anyone or anything off. I just don’t believe in that kind of permanence. There are so many things that I hated as a kid and love today, and vice versa. Besides, it reminds me of one of my favorite verses of the Quran: Perhaps you hate a thing, and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing, but it is bad for you. Your Lord knows, while you do not. [2:216]

That verse is actually about fighting, since the early Muslims, in the very early stages of Islam as the Quran was still being revealed, believed that their religion demanded pacifism. They were refugees at that point, and their goods and lands were being seized by non-Muslim tribes, and the early Muslims were very reluctant to fight, because they hated the thought, as Islam had from its inception been marketed as a religion of peace and submission, and they felt that resistance, battle, war, etc, was discordant with that theme. So this verse was revealed to assure them that it was perfectly reasonable and acceptable to fight to defend yourself and your rights, to resist if you were wronged.

But this isn’t a tafsir lesson, so I’ll move along.

If you’re still interested in this post, and if you’re interested in reading more, you’re basically a saint.

This list is going to govern my life for at least the next year, and will certainly color my life moving forward. It’s something I intend to add to as I whittle it down. It will serve to guide me to a big, full life well lived, inshaAllah. That’s the plan.

Tired, boring, passive little Huma will slowly be infused with adventure, spontaneity, experience, and inspiration. I’m sure that will come out in many ways – if you know me, you’ll see it, and if you are a blog reader, you’ll probably notice some changes in my writing and perspective.

I’m excited about it.

Various Items on the List

Above, you saw a quick snapshot of certain things on my list. When I posted that on Instagram, I got more Likes than any other picture I’ve posted. I think that’s because this idea of striking out, knowing what you want and going after it, really strikes a chord with people. Hell, it’s part of our American mythology, really. We’ve used it to cause some pretty considerable damage, too, because we let it be seriously influenced by things like greed and xenophobia.

But I think that the reason it was so popular is because everyone has that part of him or herself that wants more. And the idea of stepping out of your shell and just going for it, whatever it is, is just kind of irresistible. We love transformation. We love empowerment. We love growth. We love quantifiable, visible, tangible results.

I think my list really represents that. Here are some items from my list and some of my thoughts about those items.

Like I said, some items are big, some are small. Some are things that can be done today; some require years of planning and work. Obviously, there is a big difference between “leave a 100% tip” and “go to Machu Picchu and hike the Incan Trail.”

Buckle up, because I think this is perhaps the best look into who I am that I could ever offer anyone. You’ll see what’s important to me. You’ll see what I value. You’ll see what preoccupies me. You’ll see what my hopes and dreams are.

Or, rather, you’ll see the limited version of those things I want you to see, since I’m certainly not sharing everything on my list. Some items are far too personal, far too intimate, to put up here. I’m sure you understand.

  • Write an autobiography/personal manifesto

This is like the most narcissistic thing you can do unless you’re someone famous/important. I want to do it because I think it would be an amusing exercise. I’d never do anything with it; I just want to do it to have done it. But I’ve been thinking – as far as personal manifestos go, my journals kind of count…?

  • Read 10 classics I haven’t read yet

I’ve read a lot of classics. I could stand to read more. Now I want to read more “classics” that aren’t called “classics” because they weren’t written by old white guys. Whatever. They’re classics nonetheless.

  • Create a budget and follow it for a month, at least

Because this is what adults do.

  • Help a friend achieve a goal

I enjoy helping people learn things about themselves. I think this would be a lot of fun, mostly because you can learn so much about someone once you get them talking about what their goals are. And when someone talks about or does something they’re really passionate about … well, that’s really attractive, and it’s a really rewarding experience for everyone involved, I like to think.

  • Get rid of 100 things

I own too much stuff and I don’t need much of it. It’s time it was sold, donated, or recycled.

  • Visit a Buddhist monastery

I love learning about other cultures and other ideologies. This would be so fascinating, I’m sure. I’d have to read up on it before I could go, but that’s part of the fun.

  • Attend out of state and out of country conferences

I’m an attorney now! I get to do things like go to conferences! And criminal defense conferences are so interesting. Such a great mixture of theory, science, rhetoric, and practical trial advocacy. Love. There is a conference about defending sex cases with child victims that’s being held in Savannah in October and I REALLY want to go because it looks amazing. I’m like 95% sure my boss will send me, too. Yay!

  • Do a 365 photo a day challenge

I started doing this last week on my Instagram (hrashid24 is the username). It’s been pretty fun. I’m looking forward to having 365 consecutive daily photos in a little less than a year. That’ll be kind of cool.

  • Go on a cruise, either solo or with a gal pal

A month after I got my job, when I was in the midst of writing this really heavy duty motion, my aunt advised me to take a cruise when I had some time because it was a great way to relax and unwind and just get away from everything. I feel like a cruise would be a great experience both solo and with a close friend. I’m excited to book one. My parents probably won’t like it but I’m at that point in my life where I’m eager to have experiences that will be beneficial and edifying without giving more thought than necessary to what other people think. So. There’s that.

  • Go skinny dipping

Yup. Not too much to say about this one. I want to do it. I will do it.

  • Go to 5 different museums in one year

The Art Institute counts. And I’m lucky – we have so many amazing museums in Chicago.

  • Hike in the Smoky Mountains (Tennessee area trails)

I love, love, love the Smoky Mountains. Few things inspire me more.

  • Make a birdhouse and hang it up in a tree

I’ve never worked with wood, and with the proper guidance (and safety precautions), I think this would be really fun.

  • Learn to juggle (3 balls only)

I am only interested in learning to juggle three balls. Not two. Not four. Not any more than that. Just three. I can’t explain the compulsion to do so, but I recognize it nonetheless, so I will accomplish this goal at some point.

  • Memorize the “to be or not to be” solliloquy from Hamlet

I love Hamlet. I’ve memorized Portia’s quality of mercy speech from The Merchant of Venice, but not Hamlet’s famous speech. So that’s on my list.

  • Read a random Wiki article 3x a week

I’ve been keeping up with this, and I’ve learned a lot. Wikipedia, for all its little hiccups, is such a great resource. It reminds me of a thing I read once to the effect of, “I have a device in my pocket that is capable of accessing all of the information ever known to mankind. I use it to get into fights with strangers and look at pictures of cats.” Amusing and rather sad.

  • Compost

I want to start composting. I need to figure out a set up that works.

  • Be a bridesmaid or groomslady

I’m looking forward to Andy making this happen. I’ve already decided I will be his co-best man. I will wear an adorable suit hemmed with heels and put my hair up in curls and secretly try to incapacitate my co-best man, Cary, so that I will be the last Best Man standing. Because fuck Cary. I’m not sure how much Andy can trust this “best friend from childhood” thing Cary’s been skating by on, anyway. Seems kinda fishy.

  • Watch the eagles in late January with the Audubon Society in south-western Illinois

Eagles are awesome. I want to grab a pair of binoculars and watch them with a bunch of bird-lovers. Even though I don’t like birds. Because birds are terrifying and awful. Even though I’m named for a bird. So. You know.

  • More beach days!

BEACH DAYS ARE WONDERFUL. Sand, water, sunshine, and a cold drink. Heaven.

  • Go to a drive-in movie theatre; probably won’t involve much movie-watching

Welp.

(Obvz it’s implied that I do not intend to do this alone. Cough.)

  • Get a FOID card and shoot a Sig Sauer or Glock at the range

I’ve been meaning to do this for quite some time. I’m not a huge fan of guns, but I want to have had this experience nonetheless.

  • Watch the PBS Chicago documentary, then walk the Lakefront Trail

I’ve owned this documentary for FOREVER, but I’ve never watched it. It comes highly recommended by my good friend from law school, Perry. Perry would take me on extensive walks around the Grant Park area and beyond, pointing out all the buildings and telling me their history. It was the best walking tour ever. He knew so, so much about Chicago architecture and history.

Fucking nerd.

  • Find a great tea house and go there often; related: attend a Japanese tea ceremony

I love tea. I love experiences that have anything to do with tea. I recently came to know of a highly ranked tea house in Frankfurt, which is the town where Jen keeps her horse, and is also about ten minutes from my office. So it’s totally feasible for me to go alone after work, or for me and Jen to do a stables-and-tea kind of outing. I’ve never been to a tea house and I’m excited to see what one is like.

  • Take an online class that has nothing to do with work

I’m leaning toward some kind of art class, even an art class related more to art history than making art. It’s just that there are so many courses available online, from small outfits all the way to Ivy League universities. There’s no reason not to take advantage of that.

  • Glam it up in a sari

I’ve never worn a sari.

This is basically a crime.

I would look so damn hot in a sari, let’s be real.

(You’ve all thought about it. Don’t even lie.)

  • Spend a day doing nothing but reading in bed

This sounds so relaxing.

  • Wear leg warmers

BECAUSE WHY NOT. The sad part is that I don’t think I could get away with wearing them to court. Bummed.

  • Do a ride-along with Cook County cops

I can’t go to a single courthouse in Cook County without being aggressively hit on by cops. It’s time I took advantage of that and arranged a ride-along for myself, which I think would be eye-opening and a great experience.

Yup, Imma make this happen.

  • Join an astronomy club and attend star parties

I don’t know what star parties are, but they sound fun. And I know nothing about astronomy, so this would be a great way to learn about it straight from people who obviously know a lot and have found their passion in this area of study.

  • Learn to waltz

Basically, I just want to learn to white-people-dance. SHOW ME THE WAYS OF YOUR PEOPLE, WHITE PEOPLE.

  • Build a house of cards

Like juggling, I’m not sure why I have this compulsion. But I do, and I want to build a house of cards, damn it.

  • Eat exotic meats

They don’t have to be endangered animals – I’d much rather they weren’t. But I want to eat meats I haven’t tried before. Like rabbit. Or turtle. Or camel. I love meat.

  • Walk through the Tunnel of Lights in Japan

It seems like it would be so beautiful.

  • Pay for a child’s cleft lip surgery

I can make that huge change for a child. I can easily do that. They don’t cost that much, and the Smile Train is an excellent charity that makes these operations possible all over the world.

  • See Holland in bloom

I don’t really like flowers (except sunflowers). And I don’t care for tulips. But I really just want to go to Holland and see the windmills and fields of flowers and the judicial buildings and yes, even the Red Light District. Holland just seems like such a great place to be a tourist and do touristy things.

  • See a fire dance

It’s done at night. The performers have this baton or whatever that’s lit at one or both ends, and they dance. And all you can see is the fire making these crazy patterns as they twirl it. It just seems like that would be a really cool thing to see. I have no interest in doing it, but I want to watch someone do it who knows what they’re doing.

  • Go on an African Safari (at Giraffe Manor in Nairobi)

I’ve always wanted to do this, and Giraffe Manor is well established and reputable and has been organizing wonderful safaris for a long time.

  • Learn to swim

I don’t know how. Sadz.

  • Learn to ride a bicycle

I DO NOT KNOW HOW TO RIDE A BIKE. :( SUPER SADZ. I need someone to teach me.

  • Kiss under mistletoe

Yeah, I realize this is one of those meaningless, over-hyped things that everyone else did in, like, middle school. But I’ve never done it and I want to do it at some point just to have done it. So there.

  • Go camping

I’m like 80% sure I’ll hate camping. But I want to do it anyway. Plus, I might surprise myself and love it. There’s always that chance, that I’ll do it and it will exceed my expectations and become one of my favorite activities.

  • Go to England, Ireland, and Scotland and tour old homes and churches and the countryside, especially the Cotswalds and Kent

God, yes.

  • Learn how to wear makeup

I only know how to wear lipstick, eyeliner, and mascara. I’d like to learn a little more than that. I probably still won’t wear it most of the time just because makeup is time-consuming, but I would REALLY like to know how to wear it because then at least I have the option of wearing it.

  • Go kayaking

This looks so fun.

  • Trek the rainforest

I imagine that this would be one of the most beautiful places on earth.

Minus the bugs.

  • Do a coal walk

You know, where you walk on hot coals. I really want to try this. Will I die if I do this? I REALLY WANT TO DO THIS.

  • Watch a live rocket launch

Goddamn budget cuts, gutting NASA. Still, they do rocket launches for private individuals so at least there’s that. If I’m in the area I will try to catch one. It seems like it would be a cool thing to see.

  • Actually do something on the fourth of July

I haven’t even seen fireworks on Independence Day in forever. And I’ve never even attended a July 4 BBQ! I’d like to change that.

  • Vacation in the Maldives

They just look so gorgeous.

  • Give more speeches/lectures

I love being invited to do this. So fun.

Basically I just like to hear myself talk.

I’m sure all of you are SHOCKED.

:|

Shut up.

  • Do a silent retreat

Really, this could be Itikaaf, which is when you spend the last five or ten days of Ramadan in the masjid, on a retreat, basically. You just pray and read Quran and avoid your worldly commitments (within reason, obviously, and this isn’t feasible for everyone so it’s not a requirement by any means). I just want to do this once, just to see what it’s like to sit around and not say anything or say very, very little and just kind of withdraw for a little while.

  • Be a spectator at a runway show for a major fashion house

I’ve been at fashion shows before – plenty of them. But none for a major fashion house. I’d like to go to a Chanel show. Or Zuhair Murad.

  • Take a case to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. 

If the family is willing to retain us, we might very well be appealing one of our federal cases to the 7th. As it is, we’re awaiting sentencing on it currently.

  • Then take a case all the way to SCOTUS.

Wouldn’t this be awesome? Me and Raymond before SCOTUS?

  • Get hypnotized

I have such a difficult time giving up control, particularly control of or over myself. Being hypnotized, the way I see it, is the ultimate exercise in giving up control.

I wonder if I’m brave enough to actually do this. That’s why it’s on the list.

  • Be met at the airport by someone who cares about me

Flying is a pain in the ass. I very rarely fly but I plan to do more of it in the future, what with various conferences and other commitments nationwide. And I’d love, love, love to be met at the gate by someone who cares deeply for me. I imagine it’s one of the most comforting feelings in the world.

  • Go sky-diving

I already know where; it’s just a matter of scheduling this.

  • Own a first edition of To Kill a Mockingbird or the Little Prince (English first edition)

I love these books.

  • Have a gown or a few day dresses custom-made for me

I would love to stand in a shop and be draped in fabric as some seamstress/designer pondered over the perfect look for me. I just think it’s important to have someone make your clothes who knows your body and knows the best cuts for you.

  • Go golfing

I’m like 80% sure that I’ll find this boring. But I want to do it anyway.

  • Be in a serious relationship without scaring myself out of it.

This is a big one.

I’m terrified of relationships, co-dependence, intimacy, and showing vulnerability. But I’ve slowly been working through those fears to the point that they don’t seem quite as terrifying anymore.

I’d love to be able to cross this off the list. I’d love to not sabotage myself willfully, knowingly, consistently, by basically emphatically telling any man who gets too close a whole laundry list of reasons (some real, many made up) as to why he shouldn’t get too close to me.

I’d love to just stop doing that. I think I’m at a place in my life where I’ll be able to, and I’m looking forward to proving myself right.

Things I’ve Already Done

Even though this list is a relatively new creation, I’ve been very diligent about putting it into practice and not wasting time. And I’ve had some great results. Most of these things are small, but I’m managing to fit them into a pretty crazy work-and-gym-and-social schedule, so I’m still chalking it up to many little wins.

  • Leave a 100% tip

Tipping is important. Waitresses and waiters rely on the kindness of patrons to make up the difference for a $3/hr wage. I’m not the wealthiest associate on the planet, but I can occasionally afford to leave a 100% tip when I go out to dinner.

  • Swim in Lake Michigan

Done and done several times. Even though I don’t swim – I basically just get in the water and hang out and go as deep as I can without freaking out, which is usually up to my neck. Love this so much. Water is so restorative.

  • Beach days

Beach days are the best. I’m sad that most of the summer passed before I could schedule some, but we had a summer chock full of trials including a huge federal one so I was rather short on time. Next summer, this will change.

  • Go to a symphony, ballet, and opera

I’ve been to all three. I want to repeat this. Often. I went to the CSO when Boulez was celebrating his 80th birthday, and the orchestra played Happy Birthday, and I’ve been to other performances; I have seen Swan Lake, and I saw the Nutcracker when I was a kid, plenty of times, but I don’t count those because they were so long ago; also, I saw Lucia di Lammermoor, and liked it quite well.

  • Eat at a restaurant alone

I recently ate out at one of my favorite restaurants, Meson Sabika in Naperville. It was lovely. A little boring to be by myself but great for my first time eating alone. I had a wonderful time and intend to repeat this.

  • Relax in an outdoor hot tub in the middle of winter (with snow on the ground)

This.

Is.

Fantastic.

  • Get a massage

Rolly tables are the best. I actually just bought a Groupon for a massage and adjustment and stuff, so I just have to schedule that to be able to cross this off again. LOL.

  • Send flowers to friends in need of cheering up

I don’t like flowers (except sunflowers, which I LOVE), so I don’t really think to send flowers when people are sad. I usually send cookie arrangements. But I’ve made an effort recently with flowers because lots of women love them, even if I’m not that crazy about them.

These are some roses I recently bought for someone else.

These are some roses I recently bought for someone else.

  • Break out the fancy wine glasses on an ordinary day

This is nice.

  • Hot air balloon ride

These are okay. It’s pretty cool being that high and moving that slowly.

  • Drink coffee at sunrise

This is surprisingly relaxing, and it’s just so great to watch the sun slowly come up.

  • Have a run-in with a dangerous wild animal; live to tell about it

DONE. Mama Black bear and her two cubs at around 25 feet. Pretty crazy. How am I not dead?

  • Milk a cow

Their udders are so soft. :)

  • Be a bona-fide regular at a bar

I just accomplished this and I gotta be honest, it feels pretty great. There’s this great bar where I’ve been going with a good friend for about a year. The owner, Chris, is a sweetheart. He would put bacon strips on my cheeseburger, but immediately stopped when I very regretfully had to send it back and explain that I’m Muslim and can’t eat pork. He made me a new burger instead of just taking the bacon off, which was so sweet, and which I should have asked for but didn’t – he just did it on his own.

And he does lots of little things like that for me. He’ll hang out with me if I’m there early, before my friend arrives. When I walk in, he hands me a root beer and the remote. The other night, unbeknownst to us, Chris was throwing a party at 8PM for the fourth anniversary of the bar, and we got there around 6 but there wasn’t any food ready, so while he was prepping the food for the party, he fried us up a bunch of mozzarella sticks and chicken tenders and onion rings and all kinds of goodness. Other patrons who arrived early didn’t get the same treatment, but then, they didn’t seem to mind.

We also do impromptu movie nights at the bar, since we’re sometimes the only patrons there (although the bar does quite well; we just manage to be there at quite times). Chris has actually sat through a VH1 airing of “Honey” just because me, Jen, and the other waitress/bartender there (who’s such a sweet girl) wanted to watch it.

:P

Hah.

I love that I’ve found a wonderful little bar with great food and wonderful people that I can call my own. It’s quite nice to have a little hangout spot where you’re comfortable and feel like you belong.

So these are the things I’ve managed to do so far, and though they may not seem like a lot, I’m quite pleased.

Soliciting Input

I’ve left a lot of items out of this post. Some are redundant – after all, a lot have to do with travel and various experiences I want to have in foreign countries. There’s no need to list every single one of those. And many of the items are rather personal and I don’t feel the need to share those.

But I’m nonetheless interested in suggestions. I’ve shown the list to Nicole and Jen, and my mom has seen a small part of it. Both Nicole and Jen have offered some suggestions, which I’ve added to the master list.

And if you have any, I’m totally open to hearing them! They might very well already be on the list, but so what? Suggest away!

Some people have reported difficulty leaving comments. I’m not sure why that is, but if you have any trouble, just tweet me – @huma_rashid. I’m always interested in knowing what people want to do, what inspires them, and like I said, I’m open to more suggestions.

Also, you want to know something weird that I literally just realized yesterday?

Back during Bar prep, I got really into romance novels. They were so easy and fun and didn’t require a lot of mental energy and they were the perfect escapist tool during that stressful time. And yesterday, I found a copy of Nine Rules to Break To Romance a Rake, which is a delightful novel by Sarah MacLean, and was the first romance novel I read during Bar prep, and THIS IS THE PLOT. The heroine makes a list of things she wants to do, experiences she wants to have, and then sets about doing them.

I realized that yesterday and just groaned. It was kind of funny, though, that little coincidence.

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