There were days this fall when I felt completely disconnected from the world after working in the home office too long. That feeling of “Do I actually exist?” Once that particular thought pops into my head, it’s a sign that I need to get out of the house more often.
I’ve discovered that getting out and about in my community doesn’t have to be a major undertaking. It can be as simple as being a repeat customer (i.e. a patron) of a locally owned restaurant or coffee shop.
My dictionary tells me that a patron is someone who gives financial or other support to a person, organization, cause or activity.
Lately I’ve found two Mom & Pop restaurants I frequent regularly as a patron to get myself out of the house and support my local economy. I’ve also discovered a fabulous local tea room, the St. James Tearoom in Albuquerque, to go to on a special occasion that gives me wonderful ideas for stories. And then there’s Satellite Coffee for regular tea and coffee breaks.
I am also getting out more often to non-writing arts events in my community. It’s a wonderful mental break to simply go out to an event to appreciate another artist’s work without feeling like I have to network or do market research.
I also encourage people to consider finding 2-3 local charities that they’d like to contribute to as a patron on a regular basis. Even if one can only afford a few dollars a month starting out, it’s worth it–and it gives one an incentive to work harder so that one can donate more in the future. Lately I’ve been worried about homelessness in my community, especially with the holidays coming, and found two local homeless shelters that I could support with regular donations.
Anyways, patronizing locally owned restaurants, local artists, and local charities can be a great way to feel less disconnected in the world. Hmm, reminds me of that old saying to “Think global, act local.”