Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Perks of Being a Wallflower: Changed my Life, What about Yours?

As an avid reader and passionate English major, you would think that I would have read Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower prior to my senior year of college. Unfortunately, I have to admit it took me this long to finally sit down and dive into what has now become one of my favorite books of all time. When I say this book changed my life, I honestly mean that it opened up doors in my heart and soul that I thought were shut forever. Chbosky’s words are not just read; they take a life of their own and actually speak to the readers, guiding them on their own self-discovery. By commenting on specific quotes from the book that I found extremely profound, I will illustrate the significance of this book’s impact on my view of the world and myself as a human being.

One of the most important quotes in my opinion is when Bill asserts, “Charlie, we accept the love we think we deserve.” While this is in reference to Charlie’s sister’s abusive relationship with her boyfriend, this quote put love and relationships into perspective for me. Prior to this book, I found myself in relationships that consisted of me dealing with unnecessary drama and negativity simply because I felt that I couldn’t do any better. However, this quote opened my eyes and heart to new possibilities. I was accepting a relationship that I thought was the love I deserved, but the truth is that I deserve more. I found more. I found more bliss and comfort in a man who truly does give me what I deserve, and I could not be any happier.

Another quote that hit home for me was when Sam says to Charlie, “It’s great that you can listen and be a shoulder to someone, but what about when someone doesn’t need a shoulder. What if they need the arms or something like that? You can’t just sit there and put everybody’s lives ahead of yours and think that counts as love. You just can’t. You have to do things.” One of my major flaws is my sensitivity and strong urge to put the happiness of others before mine. Yes, it’s great that I want to help others be happy, but sometimes you have to find satisfaction and happiness within yourself in order to find it within others. This quote also showed me that I can’t just sit back and wait for good things to happen in life; I have to get out there and make them happen.

Finally, the most significant quote for me, but also the most popular out of the book, is when Charlie recognizes a brief moment of complete ecstasy and says, “And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.” I honestly can’t devise a better phrase to sum up that amazing feeling of genuine joy, acceptance, and comfort you find in those rare, brilliant moments with your friends. As graduation quickly approaches, I remember times in which I felt that infinity, and I let out a sigh. I let out a sigh of accomplishment because if I can recall at least one of those precious moments, my life is, well, pretty great.

While these are only a few memorable quotes from the book, I have to confess again that the book as a whole did more for me in 213 pages than others have done for me my whole life. For that, I am eternally grateful towards Stephen Chbosky.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Find Your Buried Life...

Every Monday night at 10pm, thousands of people across the country tune into MTV to watch one of the network’s most significant and intelligent shows in years: “The Buried Life.” For those who have no idea what I am talking about, here is a quick synopsis. The show is a documentary that follows for young men as they prove to themselves and the world that anything is possible. How did they start this adventure? They all sat down with a piece of paper and asked themselves one simple question:

What do I want to do before I die?

With a camera crew and a massive bus, they tackle their list of 100 dreams. From playing basketball with Obama to delivering a baby, these four guys truly show us that there is nothing out there stopping you from reaching your dreams. Here’s the best part about the show: For every dream they achieve, they also help a stranger on the street knock off one of the dreams on their list. With hilarious obstacles to beat and heart-wrenching stories behind each person’s dream, “The Buried Life” proves that MTV has not lost its credibility and value as a network.
As a result of falling madly in love with this show, I decided to go out into the Ursinus community and ask students the same question: What do you want to do before you die? As you read the following dreams of your fellow peers, take into consideration your own goals. Who knows, you may even find a new dream!

“Run an ultramarathon. Barefoot.” – David Darmon, 2010
“To write an inspirational and memorable song that will motivate and encourage young people to take interest and gain appreciation for music education and music in general” – Ron Stanix, 2012
“Create an astounding abstract art piece that ends up in a gallery and makes elementary school kids say, ‘even I can do better than that” - Kaitlyn Vanderlaan, 2013
“To visit all the Seven Wonders of the World (Natural Wonders, Underwater Wonders and Industrial Wonders)” – Brendan Walsh, 2010
“Become a performer in Walt Disney World” – Danielle Chmelewski, 2011
“To go canyoning in the Swiss Alps, where you can hike up to the top of the mountain, ride down the man-made waterslides in water suits, and jump off mini waterfalls into deep holes” – Sarah Ebling, 2010
“To live on a boat for a month” – Ernest Constantine, 2011
“Meet Danica Patrick and race in the Daytona 500” – Audra Lins, 2012
“Punch Sydney Crosby in the face” – Peter Lipsi, 2010
“I think it would be pretty satisfying if I could knock out traveling by going to every continent and knock out making others happy by doing some community service task that could change the lives of the unfortunate on each of the 7 continents” – Carolyn Martin, 2010
“Learn to dance” – Nicholas Ferrante, 2012

My obsession with this remarkable show got me thinking how often we all waste the time we have on Earth. Life is never guaranteed. I am sure all of us have heard the phrase, “Live each day as if it’s your last.” Now ask yourself: Do you? When you see that girl in class and think of how you want to ask her out, do you? When you watch someone skydive on the television and tell your friend next to you that you want to do that one day, did you ever make plans to actually follow through? Sometimes, we let the busy tasks and responsibilities of our everyday lives blind us from what our hearts are really telling us to do. My hope for you is that you uncover that ambitious life you’ve hidden and let it free. Find your buried life, and let it live.