I’m not a fan of January. It’s cold and wet and windy, and it just makes me want to stay inside, curled up in a ball, until April gets here. But alas, I have bills to pay. And so, your humble blogger sits behind his desk, anxiously awaiting the return of the sun king from beyond the cosmos. Sorry, got a little wistful there. Anyway, whatever are we to do while we wait for spring? Aside from work and classes and lunch and whatnot? Here are some fun activities you can do alone or with friends to liven up this gloomy season.
1. Go Bowling
One of the best ways to blow off steam during the year’s worst month is to go out on the town. Find your neighborhood bowling alley and set yourself up for a good old game of nine-pins. (Technically that’s an entirely different game, but I think you get my point.) Bowling is a time-honored American tradition combining two things we as Americans love the most: drinking and not moving very much. Bowling can provide a great excuse to hang out with friends and commiserate over the sorry state of the weather.
2. Make New Friends
Meeting new people can be tricky. You open yourself up not knowing if you’ll be well-received. Still, it can be fun to get to know new people. Visiting dance clubs or restaurants is one way to go about it, though the loud music can hinder honest conversation. Making friends in class or at work can be tricky as well, since you never know how close those bonds really are. Still, proximity does help in forming relationships. Make sure you have some ideas for potential ice-breakers and topics of conversation to keep things lively and interesting.
3. Experiment with Food
Atlanta is a city rich in diversity of culture. As such, there are dozens of markets and restaurants catering to cuisines around the world. Some of us are already familiar with those regions of Doraville and Duluth, where Latin American restaurants and Korean markets dominate, but did you know that Ellis Street provides cuisine from all over the world just a short walk from Aderhold? Plus, the dining halls often offer world cuisines on a weekly basis, sometimes daily, featuring fare from China, Korea, India and the Caribbean. Try something new today and give your taste buds something to rave about.
Volunteering is a great way to help your neighbors and improve society, all while giving you the dopamine rush one only gets from altruism. Mmm…altruism. There are numerous homeless shelters around Atlanta, as well as opportunities to volunteer at animal shelters, soup kitchens and more. Georgia State’s Office of Civic Engagement has more information if you’re looking for specific non-profits.
5. Explore New Places
Getting on a bike or taking a train to some heretofore unknown corner of the city can be a fun way to expand your mind and gather new experiences. Walk down the beltway, take a ride on MARTA, and see where the road takes you. Obviously, you don’t want to go anywhere dangerous, but it’s always fun to see new places and experience new cultures you weren’t aware of. Metro-Atlanta is covered in neighborhoods with rich histories, cultures and cuisines all their own. Try a few and see what you like.
6. Engage Your Body
There are plenty of opportunities to exercise your body right here on campus. Besides the obvious trip to the gym or running laps around the football stadium, you can always go for a nice walk or bike ride down the beltline. Play some ultimate frisbee down at Piedmont Park or visit the north Georgia mountains for a hiking excursion. There are plenty of options for the daring adventurer on the go. Exercise doesn’t have to be a chore. You can combine it with exploration and accomplish something meaningful.
No matter what you choose to fill your days with, be sure to find something that invigorates you and speaks to your deepest self. For some people that’s exercise. Others prefer movies or books. Personally, I like to put on a homemade cape and hang around my local Dave and Buster’s. Use your imagination, and I’m sure you’ll find the world is still full of fun and adventure, even with all the negativity in the news. Get out there and create your own memories.