The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

December 7, 2012

Life is good, so go out and get yourself more of one

Point Blank column

By John Blankenship
guest columnist


Work alone does not make a person human. Sometimes we are limited by experiences instead of guided by imagination.

The biggest complaint that I hear from my colleagues and other professionals is that they are bored, lack creativity in their lives, don’t know what they want to do, are too busy to enjoy life, and can’t take time out to really have fun.

Bull! We have no one to blame but ourselves when we complain about the lack of inspiration in our lives.

We have to blame ourselves for watching too many TV shows with little or no regard to the enhancement of our gray matter: Babe shows. Butt-kicking cop shows. Space alien shows. Bash the politician shows. Courtroom-know-it-all shows. Silly-people-trying-to-prove-how-witty-they-are shows.

Why not set out to break the mold with some new, unusual, creative, fun, relaxing, healthful, emotionally rewarding activities?

No one is going to live better for you.

Here are some suggested activities and workshops that might help you become human again.

- Ride a bike. If you don’t have one, get one. Get out on a mountain biking trail and put some fresh air in your lungs.

- Take a hiking trip along the trails of the New River Gorge near Fayetteville. Check out the scenery. Find some hiking trails within a few minutes of your home. Take some kids along for inspiration. See what you’ve got.

- Write every day for a month. Keep a journal. Write stories, write letters. Stringing words together is what writing is all about. You’ll be amazed at what it does for you mentally.

- Take up archery, golf, tennis, bird hunting or fly fishing. Go camping with a friend, or try a weekend at a local state park: Pipestem, Hawks Nest, Twin Falls.

- Go to a coffeehouse or restaurant and order an Espresso, or drink tea (something herbal or Oriental). Be different. Try something new. Talk with someone you’ve never met before. Spend the day without mentioning your job once.

- Take an ethnic cooking class. Cooking is therapy, but you need to know how to cook, don’t you? No more snacking on leftovers or frozen cardboard-like meals.

- Map out a family tree. You’ve always been meaning to do it anyway. This can be consuming, but going through old family albums is extremely rewarding. You’ll learn a lot about yourself. There will be boxes of pre-digital camera images to restore. You might wind up with a truly beautiful finished book of family history.

- Paint, draw, or make collages. Besides the joy of learning something new, you’ll be surprised how relaxing it is to draw.

- Learn to play a musical instrument (or bring out the unused one in the closet) or join a church choir.

- Take a bag of bread to a nearby pond or lake and feed the fishes, birds, chipmunks.

- Adopt a dog from the pound. Dogs are fantastic friends. And they’ll love you for just being yourself.

- Learn to bake bread. Make some cookies with the help of a young family member, niece or nephew.

- Take turns reading out loud from a favorite book or play with some children, or someone you love.

- Plant some flowers. At least start an herb garden in the kitchen. Fresh herbs are light-years ahead of dry, old packaged herbs.

- Go for a drive along the back roads of southern West Virginia. Check out the hills and hollows. Talk to the citizens. Find out what they are like. Take pictures of them and send them copies.

- Fly to a city in the U.S. that you’ve always wanted to visit. Check out the landmarks, the restaurants, the people, the buildings, and their history.

- Take a dance class. Try something exotic. Or take a part in a local theater production.

- Go horseback riding. Get to know your horse. Talk to the animal and observe the response.

- Take an elderly neighbor to a matinee.

- Make a list of your faults. Then tear up the list. Now make a list of your goals. Do something you’ve always wanted to do. But do it.

There now.

That should keep you busy for the next few days.

Do something. Even if the weather is turning cooler: Go for it.

Be good to yourself. Bring some humor into your life. Loosen up.

And remember, vitality comes from within. Work alone doesn’t make you human.


Top o’ the morning!

— Blankenship is a columnist for The Register-Herald. E-mail: