by Kevin Evans, Senior Center Lead – Houston Senior Center
Spring is finally here! The bunnies are hopping, the birds are chirping, and the bears are starting to look or food…as evidenced by the holes in the top of my metal trash can. If the bears are coming out of hibernation, perhaps it’s time for us to break out of our winter dens as well. A couple of months ago I realized that I had a problem with hiding in my ‘den’. I turned on my beloved TV to watch something on Netflix but I had already watched ALL of the episodes of ALL of the top 10 shows. I needed to get out.
I had taken a class recently that led me through the steps of creating an action plan. So I grabbed some paper and a pen and got to work. I jotted some ideas down on the things that I enjoy doing. From there I started researching things to do in my area that intersected with my interests. I decided that I wanted to get out at least once a month and do…. something. My list turned into a trip to see holiday lights with my grandkids, a couple of classic rock
concerts, a touring Broadway show, a trip to a botanical garden, and a trip to see a grandchild perform in a dance competition. Sacrificing a few TV shows have been worth the enjoyment I get from these outings.
Others have discovered the same need in their lives. Recently, I spoke with a group of people who got fed up with their sedentary activities. Three of them decided to get together on Monday nights to play a game or watch a movie together. After several weeks they decided to start exploring Missouri State Parks. Now the group has grown to seven ranging in age from 60 to 75. So let’s make a plan. Jot down a few of your interests and start exploring opportunities. Here are some resources to get you started.
1-Hiking nature trails – Check out www.mostateparks.com or call 800-334-6936. Use the “Find Your Park” link to view accessibility information and find out more about the different parks in your area.
2-Museums – Missouri is rich in museums! Art museums, Toy museums, Local Battle museums, Famous bandit’s museums, even…vacuum museums. Wherever your interests lie you will probably find a museum to explore. Check out www.visitmo.com or call 573-751-4133 to find out more information on local museums.
3-Gardening – Missouri offers some world class botanical gardens. St. Louis, Kansas City, and Springfield offer opportunities to see some of the most beautiful gardens in the world. Another option is to join a gardening club in your community. Contact your local MU Extension office for information on local opportunities.
4-Music – If live music is your jam, look no further than www.jambase.com. Also, keep an eye out in your local newspaper. Whether you are looking for classical, big band, classic rock or country, there is a band playing a short drive away. There are also free concerts offered in many parks and small venues. Check your local paper for more information.
5-Historical Sights – Missouri is full of great historical places to visit and explore. From Mark Twain to Historic Battle Sites, you will find opportunities to immerse yourself in history. Most are accessible for different abilities too. Check out www.visitmo.com or call 573-751-4133.
Take these suggestions and run…or walk…or drive. Getting out and active can improve your physical health as well as benefit your mental health. If you have spent too much time over-wintering in your den, use this Spring as your reason to get out and enjoy the world around you. Don’t forget that you can always stop by your local Senior Center for activities and opportunities to visit with (or make new) friends.