Do you ever feel like your life is on rotation? That you did the same thing today as you did yesterday? Wake up, get dressed, go to work. Even after your workday is complete, what do you in the after hours? Go the gym or to a bar? Sit down in front of the TV or watch Netflix on your laptop? There is a general monotony that can settle on your everyday living; it happens subtly and discreetly, and for the most part we become comfortable with a routine that never excites or stretches our minds.
But what if you aren’t content to just watch yet another season of the Bachelor? What if grabbing a beer at the local Applebees isn’t enough anymore?
Flashback to this weekend: I sitting in my grandparent’s house, enjoying a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the workweek. I have a collector’s edition of JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit in my lap, a cup of Sumatra Blend in my hands and Chopin’s Ballad No.3 is playing from my Omi’s Bose. Hanging from every wall is fabulous artwork, treasures that my grandparents collected from their extensive world travels. Everyone now and then, my grandmother passes by inquiring if I need more coffee or perhaps a little candy. I am in, in a word, heaven.
It was at that moment that I had a revelation. I should indulge myself more often. I should make time to read good books, and listen to incredible music and admire fine paintings. I should make the time to do these things because while I might consider them a just weekend treat, experiencing these things elevates my very soul.
Shouldn’t we all want to experience the same?
Brace yourselves- I’m going to reveal 3 things that are necessary to inspire the mind and stir the spirit; let’s call them Elevated Indulgences
Literature: Throughout high school, I was on the accelerated reading list; that meant I read a lot of classical literature written by people who were most likely dead. Austen, Lee, Fitzgerald, Bronte, Tolkien, Lewis, Dickens, Hawthorne, Twain, Shakespeare, Dostoyevsky, Stowe, Tolstoy, Hamilton, Voltaire: I have read them all and many more besides. And though it was a long time before I could look at any Dover Thrift edition without cringing, I owe much of who I am to those grubby paperback books. Through their words, my little world expanded….through their ideas, my imagination and comprehension grew. This doesn’t mean that you can’t glean anything worthwhile from a book whose author is still living (example: Eat Pray Love) or fictional books written for both adult and child audiences (Harry Potter). You can find many wonderful truths in many different books (and ultimately many movies, if the books were super successful). However, I firmly believe that your reading list should not be confined to that of Oprah’s Book Club or the next 50 Shades of Grey trilogy. Selectively invest in your mind and indulge your senses- pick up a classic. If you don’t know where to start, check out this awesome reading list.
Music: Music is such an amazing thing. It can pull you up or push you down. It can bring forth a memory from the recesses of your mind or it can sooth a buzzing head so that you think of nothing at all. Music is a privilege and making time to listen to it should be on your indulgence list. Check out what’s going in the music world- does your town or city have any musical benefits coming up? Are there any concerts coming to your local fairgrounds? If you’re unsure where to start in terms of musical genres, allow me to recommend my personal favorites: jazz and classical. I can remember as a very little girl sitting on the floor of my grandmother’s galleria, drawing or reading Amelia Bedelia books while Smooth Jazz or Classic King played on the radio. Today, listening to classical or jazz not only soothes my mind, but it helps me focus.
Where it’s at: Benaroya Hall (located in downtown Seattle) often hosts the masters of classical music, the world renowned Seattle Symphony [Click here to visit their homepage]. If Jazz is more up your alley, the little city of North bend hosts a semi annual Jazz Walk, one taking place in October and the other in April. Fifteen different venues located in the heart of North bend open their doors to the public for one amazing night filled with food, friends, and amazing music.
Art: Just as music and literature provide an escape from the day to day drudgery, art offers a window into the imagination of someone else. Art has been one of the most basic forms of self-expression man has ever been gifted with. Sculpture, oil, watercolor, pencil, Impressionist, Realism, Abstract, Conceptualism- the mediums and genres are endless as is the creativity used along side them. Through their work, artists are able to communicate their thoughts and feelings to people like you and me- so let’s not disappoint! Let’s check out some art!
Where it’s at: If you are uncertain were to start, look into what’s local; most towns or cities put on art fairs or gallery events. Seattle is full of private and public galleries, museums and exhibits. A couple of my favorites are the Seattle Art Museum, (more commonly referred to as SAM), Roq La Rue, and Chihuly Garden and Glass.
Socrates once said that “an unexamined life is not worth living”. I think I can expand on this quote and add that a repetitious life is not worth living either. Literature, Music, and Art add color to a black and white world. They stir something in us- not just excitement or contemplation but the whole range of human emotions. Simply put, they are part of humanity and should be sought after.
Go ahead, indulge yourself.