I grew up in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere. It is one of those places that no matter how hard I try to explain it, no one ever really understands just how small and remote it was. To put it in perspective, you should know that the closest fast food place was a Dairy Queen 20 miles away. The closest McDonalds or Wal-Mart was 80 miles away, and the nearest mall was three hours away. If you needed something from a grocery store after 5pm, you were out of luck. It was a completely different world than most people grow up in. Was it terrible? Not at all, it gave me an appreciation for convenience, and taught me the value of maximizing trips and time. Unfortunately, one lesson I didn’t learn is the value of going out and experiencing the place you live.
In the 15 years that I lived in Westby, I barely experienced anything. Granted I was a dumb high school kid, but there was a museum in a town 20 miles away, which though small and not overly impressive, was something that I should have checked out. There was a site called Writing Rock, which was a rock with pre-Columbus drawings on it. I vaguely remember going to see when I was very young, but never visited when the memory would have stuck. Sitting Bull was captured somewhere near my hometown yet I never bothered to try to visit that site.
I left for college in Grand Forks in 2001 failing to take advantage of my environment. Once again, I failed to experience 90% of what the city had to offer. I never attended the catfish tournament. I didn’t go see some of the best high school hockey in the country, and I only went ice fishing once. Why? I couldn't tell you, but things are going to change.
This coming February I will have lived in the Minneapolis metro for 2 years. Yet I have hardly experienced anything that the cities have to offer. I've been to a Twins game and went to the Frozen Four. But haven't seen the Timberwolves, the Lynx, the Wild, or the Saints. Let alone experienced the ridiculous amount of culture that is available. This is something that I've decided I have to remedy. I will no longer spend my weekends wondering what I could be doing. I'm going to get out and experience the city I live in. Even heading into Minneapolis or St. Paul to try out a new restaurant would be an improvement.
To kick-start my initiative, I plan to post a list of 50+ things that I want to accomplish in 2009 on New Years Day. Along with my post of things I should experience, I’m declaring my New Years resolution to be “Experience my city”. It may not be about improving my health or another generic resolution, but I will not be bored in the city I live in.
I would love your input, what do you think I should try and experience in 2009?