Wednesday, June 4, 2014

25 Ways to Live a More Interesting Life

 I come from a small town. Actually, it's a really small town 'almost' in the middle of nowhere.  As if that weren't enough, there's not much to do at all here by  way of culture/arts.  Over time, I have learned a few tricks to help keep me intellectually inclined (and entertained) so I won't have pack my bags and run away (or just go crazy staying here).
These actually are things you can enjoy rather you're from a small town, or from a cultural capital in a larger city.  They have helped me a lot over the years by way of learning, and continuing to grow, particularly in an area that doesn't really appreciate progress!

Some cheap, and simple ways, to live a more interesting life:

1.  Go to the movies more often.  Actually, watch more films in general.  Good movies are a lot like good books, you'll learn something, see things from a different perspective, and be well-entertained.

2.  Go to the bookstore.  Check out the new releases or dig into the used section, I always find a gem or two there from an unknown author, particularly the vintage books.  Check out the section from local writers.  Say hello to other patrons.  No better place to meet interesting people than a bookstore!

3.  Take a daily walk everyday and see the outside world for a bit.  You're bound to be bored and feel stifled and restless if you're always cooped up inside.  Even if it's only around your own neighborhood.  Say hello to friendly faces, take in the scenery, allow yourself to relax and enjoy the nature/life evolving around you.

4.  Try new food!  There's no rut like eating the same TV dinners or junk food day after day.  Look up some yummy recipes online that you've never tried.  You'll have fun learning how to cook and it will be most rewarding to enjoy a meal you created for yourself.  If you're not up for all that work, try a new restaurant or a dish you've never tried at a favorite restaurant.

5.  Have coffee and dessert at a coffee shop (or a local eatery, if there's no cafe nearby).  Take a notebook with you and people watch.  Take notes.  Look for interesting people or conversations to observe.

6.  Go thrifting.  Thrift shops can be an interesting, and fun experience, especially because you never know what you're going to find.  Check out their art, books, and might find a rare treasure.

7.  Find interesting Pod Casts or online radio stations to listen to.  There are so many available on an endless variety of topics, and most are free.  If you like poetry, classic literature, psychology, whatever your current interests (or if you're looking for a new one) Pod Casts are informative and entertaining!

8.  Take up a new hobby.  I've probably touched on this in a previous post, but it's important.  People who have hobbies are least likely to be bored, depressed, and to have health issues like high blood pressure!  Rather it be chess, art, PC games, scrabble, or collecting something...find something that peaks your interest and dive in!

9.  Read magazines, books, and articles that you might not otherwise.  This will stretch your mind and broaden your intellectual horizons.  And you just might find that new hobby/interest!

10.  Visit the local library.  Any library is a treasure trove of resources.  From magazines to books to articles to newspapers, even movies and music.  Libraries usually have book talks, workshops and free classes as well.  Lets not forget the thousands of books (paper, digital, audio).  Have fun and learn while you relax, and the best thing is that libraries are totally free!

11.  Do fun crafts, even if they seem silly or purposeless, the fun is in the doing!  Make flower pots out of painted yogurt cups, make puppets out of paper bags.  I recently bought a book full of silly crafts that I plan to do with my seven-year-old daughter...just because it's fun, and an excellent source of bonding and quality time.

12.  Plan a mini road trip to a museum, thrift shop, restaurant, historical building, or just merely to sight-see in a town you've never visited.  Every town (yes even small ones) have a few culturally-rich experiences to offer rather it be an antique shop or live music.

13.  Watch the sunrise (or sunset).  I have always found the sunrise a tranquil, calm experience.  It is a time when everyone is usually sleeping and I can take a few moments alone, with nature, to be thankful and grounded.  Take pictures if you'd like, or just merely watch and be calmed by the colors.

14.  Make friends with interesting people.  This might require you to leave your comfort zone.  I have found my most interesting friends in places like cafes, libraries, bookstores, or in online social groups like artist trading card forums or online book clubs.  I think it's important to figure out what interests you, then find people with the same interests (even if they are online).

15.  Revisit your inner child.  What kind of a kid were you?  What hobbies did you enjoy, what books did you read?  What did you want to  be when you grew up.  Take a look backwards and appreciate who you were and where you've came from, how you've grown over the years.

16.  Attend poetry readings and book talks.  You'll be introduced to new interests, meet writers, and learn new things.  Many of these also offer refreshments, this will give you a chance to loiter a bit and meet others.

17.  Read biographies of interesting people who have led fascinating lives.  What did they do?  What can you learn from them? 

18.  Be a tourist in your own town.  Even if you've seen them a million times, spend some time visiting historical sites, places of geographical note (lakes, old cemeteries), mom and pop restaurants and places that host live music, antique shops, art galleries, museums, etc).

19.  Go to as many local festivals and events that you can.  Oftentimes you'll have the chance to meet interesting people or see some local (and sometimes even semi-famous) talent, not to mention the unique food stands and local art, the arts and crafts and flea market stands.  Even a small town festival has a lot to offer.

20.  Attend live music.  Rather it be a concert you have to travel out of town to see, or something local and simple.  Even if you wouldn't particularly listen to the genre of music (think classic piano or bluegrass), it's still a good learning experience and it's cheap entertainment.  Remember that in stretching your mind, you make yourself more mentally available and creative!

21.  Go on a weekend trip.  This doesn't have to be too awful far away, it could be as simple as throwing up a tent and roughing it at the nearest camping ground.  Or go rock climbing/hiking.  Maybe travel to some interesting, near-by town for a nice getaway. 

22.  Find new, and different, music to listen to.  Rather it's from your favorite genre or if you're trying to branch out.  Try downloading spotify, which has a feature that allows you to search similar artists to what you currently enjoy.  Or you can do your own research via the net.

23.  Listen to TED talks.  I absolutely love TED talks.  Not only does the website have a variety of excellent talks on many different subjects, I always come away feeling a bit more enlightened and inspired.  Whatever your interests or vocation, I am sure you can find a TED talk that is relevant (and interesting).

24.  Join  This is a lovely web-based TV channel where, for a small monthly fee, you can review inspiring (and educational) documentaries as well as yoga classes.  It's an excellent platform for personal growth and well worth the investment!

25.  Take a night class or workshop.  Always wanted to learn about gothic literature or astronomy?  Want to hone in your writing or artistic skills?  Classes are the way to go.  If you want more human interaction, try a night class at your local resource center or college.  If you like learning and working independently, try an online class.  Google search 'free college courses' and you'll come up with hundreds of websites and thousands of free classes on almost any topic!