I was getting a haircut the other day and struck up a conversation with my stylist about her interests. During the course of our conversation, she commented that she wished she could “move to a big city where there’s stuff to do.” Startled, I commented that we always seemed to have more activities and events than we had time for. I asked her if she’d visited the nearby farmer’s market, which has free performances every Saturday. The local ballet, symphony, or theater company? One of the free performances in the local area parks? The ridiculously huge flea market down the road? Each time I asked her, she nervously laughed and shook her head. Then I asked her how long she’d lived in the area. Her reply? TWENTY years.
One of the first pieces of advice I was given when I entered military service was to view each assignment (location) as though it is your best ever. Time and again, I have heard from fellow service members that this is true–oftentimes, a base with a reputation for being “crappy,” “desolate,” or “boring,” has ended up being one of their greatest assignments ever, either due to professional opportunities, new friendships, or the discovered charm of the locale.
No matter where you are, there are activities and events. They may not be flashy galas or benefit balls, but pick-up basketball and hockey leagues, poker or chess clubs, local church choirs and Bunco nights can provide just as much fun and entertainment if you give them a chance. The key is to get out there and explore your town or city. Maybe you’ve lived there all your life and think you know everything that goes on or maybe you’ve recently moved and feel bored and restless at home. First, turn off the television. To find local happenings, one of the best places to look is the “Life & Arts” section of your local newspaper. We often find out about festivals, temporary art or museum exhibits or free performances (like the Free Shakespeare performance of Merchant of Venice, pictured at right) that way. Some towns have websites that list these activities and events, or have an events calendar. Also check your local library’s bulletin boards; sometimes smaller groups publicize this way. My husband has taken a couple free classes that were only publicized via brochures at the library. Coffeehouses and bowling alleys also often have community bulletin boards. The online site Meetup is a great resource for finding groups of like-minded individuals. I found a writers group that way. If you don’t find what you’re looking for or truly aren’t interested in the offerings, consider starting a group.
Whether you live in a bustling metropolis or a one-stoplight town, there are things to do, places to see, and people to meet. Life is short–get out there!