How many times growing up did you think you lived in the most boring place on earth? Maybe for some of you who grew up in the Big Apple, there was always something to do, but many of us from small- to mid-sized town America didn’t have the luxuries of the City That Never Sleeps. But as it turns out, our hometowns didn’t suck after all. We just weren’t using our heads to get the most out of the experience. If you’re still stuck in the rut of being stuck in a rut, then try these 6 Ways to Have More Fun with the Place Where You Live, and see your boring old town come to life as you’ve never seen it before.
Growing up where I did, all I could think about was how we never had anything cool to do. Never anything we could be proud of. I didn’t realize that just on the other end of town, there was a historic district with landmarks and memorabilia dating back to the days of the Old West. As I grew older, I learned my town was home to the “Hangin’ Judge” Isaac Parker and the U.S. Marshals Service. And of those Marshals, my town was the home-and-hunting ground of Bass Reeves, a slave-turned-lawman, who arrested more men than any other Marshal in the history of the service (even his own son, for murder). Over the years I’d walked the very streets of Parker and Reeves and a whole slew of renegades and outlaws. From here, a gateway opened up that led me to my town’s museum of history and all the other artifacts that were hiding under the surface of what I thought was a boring place. Every town has a history, and as you learn about yours, you’ll develop a whole new appreciation for it.
Think your town is made up of nothing more than mechanics and rednecks? Think again. Even in the least expected places, you will find a society of people, who embrace artistry in all its many forms. I realized that to be the case when it came to my attention that my little town was home to an award-winning painter and a Daytime Emmy-winning production house. None of this, however, would have ever come to my attention had I not started at my town’s art museum. If you don’t have an art museum or center within the city limits, then it’s most likely you have one within driving distance. One thing is for certain – you shouldn’t have to board a plane to get some culture, and if you do, then you’re not looking hard enough.
What’s so great about volunteering? For starters, there is something inherently fulfilling in the knowledge that you have brightened someone else’s day. Maybe you’d rather sit on the couch all day eating what’s left of the Twinkies and watching Netflix, but if you are honest with yourself, then you will admit there is a degree of satisfaction to be had from volunteer work. But aside from the warm fuzzies that it gives you, there’s another reason why you should consider this activity. You’ll meet some amazing people that you didn’t know existed. It will change the way you think of your fellow man and tear down some of the prejudices you once had. You may even make some new friends out of the deal and, believe me, that’s hard to do after you hit 30.
Live in a town of 50,000 to 100,000 people? Then you may be astounded by how many outdoor recreational opportunities there are in the form of walking trails and city parks. Maybe you know of a few – perhaps even five or six. That’s the boat I was in until a few weeks ago when I decided I wanted to run outside, but wasn’t sure which park was closest to my house. Imagine how shocking it was to pull up my city’s website and see not five or six, but 23 total parks within the city limits! Take the time to expand your understanding of the services and recreational opportunities that your city has to offer, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Football, basketball, soccer, and even rugby, may not be unusual finds in your city. Check with your city’s parks and recreation department to see if there are any organized leagues around your specific sporting interests. No one said that just because you’re not in high school or college anymore that you can’t still compete. If there isn’t a rugby league, for example, but you enjoy rugby, then hit the social networks and see if you can find some folks who’d be interested in joining in if you were to organize one. Ask some of your existing friends and co-workers. Sports are a great way to bond, meet new people, have fun, and take pride in the place where you live.
As you’ve seen to some degree in all five of the previous examples, taking ownership of your city is important to getting the most out of it. In keeping with that spirit, why not share your expertise or passion with the world, either by taking (or teaching) a class? MMA, Zumba, writing, building a website – you will be in good company no matter what side of the proverbial podium you’re on.
Those are our suggestions. What are yours? What things have made your city come to life for you? Share your thoughts below.