By the time you read this—at least if you have young children in the family—the gifts have all been opened and the excitement of Christmas 2010 is on its way to being a memory. Now it's time to turn your attention to the next task of the season: making those New Year's resolutions.
Resolutions can be a touchy subject. Too many of them seem more like a list of things you can't do with hidden negative implications:
- "Lose weight," which means give up a lot of the things you like to eat
- "Save money," which means quit spending money on the things you enjoy
- "Exercise more," which means spend more time doing what you don't want to do and less time doing the things you really want to do
Instead of taking on resolutions that plunge your life into austerity, why not make positive resolutions that enhance your life? How about resolutions that you can keep? Instead, try resolutions like this:
- Learn something new
- Try out a local venue you have not experienced in the past
- Return to the past through a hobby you dabbled in years ago
Let's look at how you could carry out (and keep) these resolutions.
Learning new things is fun which increases the likelihood you will actually keep one of these new leaves. Maplewood and Brentwood offer plenty of options for learning. Here are just a few:
- Sharpen your photographic skills at Studio Altius. The studio offers a variety of classes and workshops in January, including a manual photography workshop, 6-8 p.m., Jan. 18; a studio lighting workshop, noon-4 p.m., Jan. 22; and a six-week advanced digital photography course 6-8 p.m., Mondays, beginning Jan. 24.
- Take a class at the Brentwood Recreation Complex. The parks department offers classes like calligraphy and Zumba.
- Learn traditional dance at Focal Point. You can take your pick of several, including Irish folk, English country or Cajun/Zedeco dancing.
Trying new places—be it a restaurant or an entertainment venue—is a great way to blow away the winter doldrums. Here are a few suggestions:
- Check out the art at Norton's Fine Art and Framing. The holiday art exhibit, Something Small for the Holidays—a display of original oils, watercolors, acrylics, pastels, photography, glasswork and jewelry—will run through Jan. 22.
- Enjoy the free live music Monday through Saturday evenings at Stone Spiral Coffee and Curios or take in open mic night showcasing local writers, poets and musicians on Wednesdays.
As the years tick by, you may actually find you have more time to devote to pastimes you may have tried years ago and abandoned. Since I've been writing this column, I've been impressed by the number of people I've met who are rekindling an interest in a hobby or musical instrument they trifled with years ago and for one reason or another gave up on.
- You can rekindle (or learn anew) a variety of skills at Folk School of St. Louis. Upcoming classes include those on dulcimer, clawhammer banjo, blue grass banjo, two-finger banjo, fiddle, electric and classical guitar, bluegrass mandolin and upright bass. Not into playing? Sign up for a singing class. Among upcoming classes are ballads and harmony singing.
- If your creative side leans toward the visual, visit Artmart for your supplies. The store has supplies to cover just about any artistic bent, and workshops to introduce you to more options. You can learn water colors at a workshop from noon-3 p.m. on Jan. 19.
- Did you dally in poetry in college? Then visit Focal Point every third Wednesday of the month for a poetry slam or head to Stone Spiral for that open mic night.
In short, the new year is an empty canvas. Go create on it.