Weekender

TALK DOESN'T COOK RICE: And don't say there's nothing to do

I’ve lived in State College for a long time, and I’m fairly certain I’m not alone in admitting that I’ve complained time and again, “There’s nothing to do around here.” Of course, I eventually figured out that, in reality, it’s not true.

That’s how the idea for this column evolved.

When I was in college, I went to football games, volunteered at a campus organizations and did the weekly night out with friends, indulging in the occasional cocktail and new wave (that’s music, for those of you who missed that era by a decade or two). But even then, I was looking for more.

For years after I graduated, while I dabbled in things such as local political events and music, I never organized those activities in such a way that they became a regular, cohesive part of my life. Sure, I did some “stuff,” but it was a random meeting here or a hesitant attempt there. Until I learned how to take my interests and mold them into something that I could incorporate into my life regularly, the same old complaint would occasionally rear its head: “There’s nothing to do.”

Some people know what they like and stick with it for a lifetime. Others know what they like but wonder whether there’s something out there they’d like even more. Often, what we think about and what we most want to do are things that we assume are out of our reach because we don’t know how to get started, don’t know if we can do it or aren’t sure we’ll be welcomed.

There’s a Chinese proverb that goes “Talk doesn’t cook rice.” It reminds us that thinking and planning and wondering — and talking — about something won’t get us anywhere. We need to take action. That’s where I hope I can help.

My goal here is to introduce activities that you might like to incorporate into your lives in meaningful ways, along with ideas on how to get started and some local resources. Some ideas will be for groups or clubs that you can start, some ideas will be for things that you can do on your own as a regular activity, and some will be ideas for already existing clubs that you can join by yourself or attend with a group that you’ve organized. I’ll also sometimes highlight local events that might be related to those ideas.

Every other week, I’ll be covering everything from starting or joining a bike club to being part of an astronomy group to organizing an opera club.

The possibilities are endless. I’ll provide the information; you provide the action. Remember that other famous proverb: “Talk is cheap” — oh, and it doesn’t cook rice either.

Sherry Coven can be reached at cdtweekender@centredaily.com.

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