Wake up, drink coffee, read paper, go out, come home, eat dinner, watch television, go to sleep. Lather, rinse, repeat. The trappings of routine can be both a comfort and a constraint. Routines keep our lives running smoothly, but variety and the unexpected keep us sharp and energized. Escaping your routine, even for a day, is also a must for meeting people outside your usual circle of friends and colleagues.
It may sound obvious, but taking even a brief escape from your tried-and-true schedule can provide an invigorating boost for mind, body and spirit and are a way to surround yourself with new and interesting friends. Here are three easy ways to flee the boredom of your old routine in just one day:
Learn a new trick
We're all capable of learning new tricks, even if memories of the classroom are confined to those dusty yearbooks in the closet. Going back to school has never been more fun and is a great way to connect with people who share similar interests. Consider a class at a university or community college in a subject you already love or a topic you never had a chance to explore. Learning doesn't have to be by-the-books: Adult classes in creative fields—arts, dancing, cooking, sewing, theatre—may be the start of a new hobby and some promise the chance for romance with fellow students. Consider the Viking Cooking School (www.vikingschool.com), which offers a variety of group cooking and baking classes in locations across the country. Many of these classes are affordable to try once as an adventure or as a welcome addition to your weekly routine.
Make yourself at home (away from home)
Are your weekend-getaway accommodations routinely limited to impersonal hotels or air mattresses in your children's living rooms? Avoid mass-produced wall art and sore backs and head to a romantic bed and breakfast. B&Bs offer a unique and homey atmosphere and opportunities, such as afternoon wine and cheese or board games, to meet and mingle with fellow guests. You'll also meet local proprietors who, on top of serving up a home-cooked breakfast of their favorite dishes, are a vast source of inside, local knowledge. Check in with your hosts on which restaurants require reservations or which tours are worth your money. Consider the 1895 Inn (www.the1895inn.net) of Savannah, Georgia. Owners send a personalized e-mail upon receiving your reservation with a list of local favorites and tips for enjoying the city, making you feel at home before you even arrive.
Be a tourist
You don't need to pack a suitcase, hang a camera from your neck, or head to famous attractions to be a tourist. Chances are some small, lesser known sights, historical landmarks, and museums are close to home just waiting for you to pay an overdue visit for a day. When you find an interesting spot, consider volunteering as a tour guide or docent to share little-known facts about your area with visitors and meet other volunteers who share your appreciation for local history. Consider museums dedicated to celebrities located in their hometowns, like the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center (www.lucy-desi.com) in Jamestown, New York. You'll strike up conversations with a constant stream of people from near and far and will add "local historian" to your repertoire.
Start by setting a goal to try one new day escape each month. With a little research, creativity and planning, you'll challenge yourself to branch away from your comfort zone, adding new friends to your social circle and anticipation for your next escape from routine.
By Fay Sigler of SingleEdition.com for SeniorPeopleMeet.com
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