Bucket List Road, Part 1: Intro

5 minutes
Content Warning This post includes mentions of suicide and depression, which some may find disturbing. If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255, or message the Crisis Text Line at 741741. Both programs provide free, confidential support 24/7.
The white board in Editor in Chief Nathan Gunter's office is a road map to discover places and sights he's missed in his first decade at the magazine.

The white board in Editor in Chief Nathan Gunter's office is a road map to discover places and sights he's missed in his first decade at the magazine.

As I write this, it has been 3,663 days—ten years, three Leap Days, and ten regular days—since I walked into Oklahoma Today for the first time as an employee. After a ten o’clock staff meeting that first morning, I stood in my office at First National Center in downtown Oklahoma City and tried not to scream with excitement.

Even now, I often still feel that way, and I’ll tell anyone who listens that I have my dream job. But any span of ten years is going to present its rises and dips in spiritual elevation, and any job, no matter how beloved, comes with challenges, steep learning curves, and bad days. It’s been my love of the work—and even more so, the people with and for whom I’m blessed to do it—that’s brought me through.

When COVID-19 hit, I was reeling from a decade of personal disaster: Between April 2010 and the onset of the pandemic, ten people I cared about died suddenly—some from sudden and unexpected illness; others from suicide. And those were on top of a whole bunch of other upheavals: In those ten years, I or people I love dealt with depression, anxiety, career challenges, infertility, addiction, marital struggles, losing parents, chronic illness, and more. At the end of 2019, nearing the age of forty, I felt like an old washcloth that’d been rubbed threadbare and wrung out.

Then COVID happened, and—well, you were there. You know. Call me crazy, but I’m no fan of this pandemic.

The past ten years weren’t all bad, of course, and I remind myself of that every time I stare out of my tenth-floor office window. The truth is, having a job like this one—work I love, readers like you, and coworkers like these—has carried me through. But I have, for the last couple of years, been struggling to find joy, peace, happiness, excitement.

Then, one day a few weeks ago, I started looking at the state map I keep on my office wall. I started to think about all the places I’ve yet to go. “Go find the Happy,” I thought to myself. I started making a list: I wrote down as many places as would fit on my white board, names of cities, towns, attractions, state parks, museums, and scenic spots where my work or life have yet to take me. Some (Medicine Park) are places I’ve technically been—my body has, at one point or another, been located there—but that I’ve never really explored. Others (The Will Rogers Memorial Museum in Claremore) are spots I’ve no excuse not to have seen before now. And still others (the town of Hollis, for example) are places that are meaningful to people I care about (in this case, my friend K.C., whose ancestors settled the area and whose son is named, appropriately, Hollis).

I wrote until the white board was full. Now comes the task of crossing things off. Welcome to my new online adventure, Bucket List Road. This list represents much (but not all) of what’s left on my Oklahoma Bucket List. Few things bring me as much happiness, centeredness, and peace as exploring my home state via its backroads, and now you’re all coming along for the ride. Let’s shake off the dust and go see what’s out there.

Written By
Nathan Gunter

Nate is an enthusiastic runner and cyclist and frequently can be seen making his way by foot or pedal through Oklahoma City streets. When not working, Nate is reading, writing, watching movies, playing video games, working in his garden, attending concerts, or taking off on road trips.

Nathan Gunter
Previous Blog

"Weekly Events Calendar, August 23-29, 2021"

Next Blog

"Weekly Events Calendar, August 30-September 5, 2021"

You May Like

Weekly Events Calendar, January 24-30, 2022

Looking for fun this week? Oklahoma's got gardening, opera, and space rebels fighting against an evil empire, among much, much more.

Looking for fun this week? Oklahoma's got gardening, opera, and space rebels fighting against an evil empire, among much, much more.

By Greg Elwell | 4 min read Read BLOG

Tuesday Trivia: January 18, 2022

Extra! Extra! Read all about today's Tuesday Trivia question by clicking on the link!

Extra! Extra! Read all about today's Tuesday Trivia question by clicking on the link!

By Greg Elwell | 1 min read Read BLOG

From Our Readers: A 77-County Tour

Thanks to Tom and Lola Rogers for sharing their letter about exploring Oklahoma.

Thanks to Tom and Lola Rogers for sharing their letter about exploring Oklahoma.

By Nathan Gunter | 11 min read Read STORY