The belt buckle tightening time of the year is upon us once again (fiscally speaking, of course; you’re going to be doing the polar opposite of that come Thanksgiving dinner). As you plan out your budget in anticipation of a pricey holiday season, you realize that you are definitely going to have to cut back on some of the more extravagant elements of your lifestyle. That certainly doesn’t mean that you need to stop having fun. In fact, the opposite can be true, yet again. Delving into some new, adventurous, absolutely gratis activities will have you feeling like you’ve just won the Lottery of Fun. Read on for some no-cost enjoyment!
Lights, camera(phone), action!
Have a camera with video function on your phone? Of course you do. Get a group of your friends together and shoot a movie! Either write it out beforehand, with storyboards and all that jazz, or just wing it and improvise the whole thing. You may be surprised at how creative you end up being, Fellini-like friends. Can’t find any willing participants? Channel your inner nature documentarian and film some indigenous sparrows and squirrels, as they frolic tither and thither. If that gets boring, just start photo-bombing your own production.
Speak your mind.
Whether you strive for the spotlight or shun it like Gollum, there are endless opportunities for you speak in public. Either throw together some corny jokes for Open Mike Night at your local comedy club, or a few choice mellifluous sentences for a poetry reading OR break out the ole six string and soulfully strum away at a volunteer music venue. This will be goofy fun if you are comfortable in these situations. If you are like most people, and are inherently shy about voicing your opinion in a public forum, then this will be a splendid chance to tackle those fears head on and prove to yourself that you can overcome anything.
Call your loved ones.
Face it, there are some people that you care about a tremendous deal, but you hardy ever communicate with (a “merry x-mas” text doesn’t count). Speaking directly to your parents, distant relatives or old college chums for a few minutes can be truly rewarding. Yes, this can seem like an absolute chore in some cases, but the more difficult/awkward the task is, the better you will feel about yourself for having done it once it’s over.
Get a pen, pal.
In keeping with the theme of reaching out to someone, there is yet another means of getting in touch that can be really satisfying; writing a letter. A hand written letter is a real rare commodity in these modern times that we live in. The cool thing about writing a tangible letter is that you can scribble little drawings in there, tape cut-outs from magazines, add scents; whatever quirky little thing you like. Those on the receiving end of the letter will be treated to a delightful surprise. Don’t have anyone you want to send warm messages to? Well, this is a splendid opportunity then to send some anonymous passive-aggressive tips to to a deserving foe, or even a fun ransom note.
Volunteer and spread cheer.
Volunteering your time doesn’t have the same somber association that it once did. Perceptions about what this means have shifted; it’s not about being ‘stuck doing something – just to be nice,’ as there are now tons of milieus to choose from. A quick Google search will provide you with oodles of different types of activities in your area that you can engage in, from face painting for kids to planting trees to cleaning up a garden to helping people with their resumés. Just pick something that speaks to you and have fun with it. The people running these programs, as well as anyone who benefits from them, are typically so very grateful to have you there. Bottom line, you’ll feel great about contributing; it’s a win-win.
Spend a day away from all forms of technology.
This may not sound like ‘fun’ to most people; it’s really more of a challenge for yourself. If you really commit to this, and do not go near the likes of a phone, tablet, laptop or any other conveyance of contemporary, digital content, you will be amazed at what you find yourself up to. Listening to vintage records (or that “Mmmbop” cassette single), reading that book you never got a chance to, pouring over old photo albums, exploring new parts of your world; the possibilities will soon reveal themselves to be endless.
Many people out there already have a preferred way of transporting themselves from place to place (via what is known as an ‘automobile,’ or in some colloquial circles, a ‘car’). Did you know that you can travel on a self-propelled device that also has wheels? It’s called a bicycle. Get out there and do some cycling today – no matter the season (minus the 30 degree below weather days of January, naturally), a brisk bike ride is invigorating and helps you clear your mind – and, in staying with our free theme, doesn’t cost anything in gas! Already an avid biker -or- just don’t have access to a bike? Find some alternative wheels. Rollerskates, blades and skateboards are readily at your disposal (if you don’t own already, just ask to borrow some – everybody’s got these things just collecting dust in their garages, attics or storage units). Oh, just be sure to wear a helmet; you don’t want this free-fun activity turning into a costly E.R. trip.
Go through all the items in your refrigerator and find things that you never use (‘What is this wasabi infused, mesquite bbq sauce doing here?’) and some other items that don’t have such a long shelf life and will have to be thrown out soon. Take said items, find a recipe that incorporates them and BAM! Become Emeril or Rachel Ray – that part is totally up to you.
Getting rid of old stuff can help clear your closet as well as some much needed headspace. It’s fun to go through these preterite things and reminisce about where they came from. The best part about this task is when you put a magnanimous spin on it and donate the articles to a charity. You’ll feel zen-like about having more room, a fresh start and the knowledge that you helped pay-it-forward to someone else.
Just say “Yes!”
…to free things. The concept of having a day/night where you say “Yes” to every question posed to you (meaning ones that require an affirmative or negative response, not “Hey, what time is it?”) is not a new one. There was a “Frankie and Grace” episode about this very subject this year. The twist here is that you employ this mantra, but only in relation to things that do not cost a penny. Depending on where you start off, this can lead you down some interesting/exotic/flat out weird paths, but hey, as Mao Zedong once famously said “YOLO!”