Sure, I probably should make resolutions for diet and exercise, but the Humanities Resolutions are better for my worldview and, frankly, a lot more fun to accomplish.
This is how I accomplished 2015’s Humanities Resolutions…may you be inspired by my journey to begin planning your own.
1. Read a Classic Work of Literature
I read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn written by Betty Smith in 1943. It was not an action packed page-turner, but I enjoyed the themes. We should all aspire to be better than we once were.
2. Attend a Festival That Celebrates a Different Culture
I did not attend a festival of any kind, but I did read every single post from Humans of New York, a photo and story-telling website that focused on refugees from Middle Eastern countries this year. Muslims are in a precarious position right now, but the more we know the less we fear. It should seem logical that all humans are after the same things in life and accomplish those things in much the same way, but I still felt like I came a way with a greater understanding of the human condition the world over.
3. Choose a Topic You Feel Passionately About, Find Somebody Who Disagrees With You, and Listen to His or Her Point of View
It’s easy enough to find a passionate subject, but not so easy to find a good debate. It’s a lost art, and for that I am sorry. I wrote an opinion piece on Bright Above Fargo, my Midwest Radio blog, shortly after another school shooting last year where I took a stand against guns. Some agreed, some disagreed, and those who disagreed went to great lengths to convince me that I was completely wrong to be anti-gun. I knew I would have dissenters, and I was even open to altering my opinion, but the pro-gun information and opinion I received was so scary that I gave my opinion a big old hug and planted my feet firmly on anti-gun territory. I am pretty sure I lost friends that day, and I’m sorry that weaponry was the hill our friendship died on. I re-read my piece today and I’d make a few minor changes, but the opinion still stands.
4. Explore an Historic Site or Museum You’ve Never Been to Before
Our family traveled to Bismarck and we visited the newly opened North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum. I learned quite a bit about North Dakota’s history through a variety of mediums. It was quite impressive.
5. Write a Letter to the Editor About a Public Issue
I wrote another topical opinion piece on Bright Above Fargo taking a stand against alcohol sales at collegiate sporting events. The issue has since been resolved and alcohol is NOT sold at any games. Jack Sunday, KFGO radio host, was very proud of my work on this piece and shared it around his circles. A mayor even commented on it!
6. Collaborate with Somebody Who Has Different Interests and Experiences Than You
I collaborated with another blogger, PrairieStyleFile, but I wouldn’t say we share different interests. I’ll have to add it to this year’s list.
7. Listen to a Genre of Music That is New to You
I’ve been a news-talk junkie for the last 10 years, working in radio and all, and decided late last year to dive into music instead. I’ve written about anxiety on several occasions, and thought a break from 24-7 news would do me good. I have my Pandora account on shuffle most days. Half the fun is wondering what will come next! I am most surprised by how much I like piano music.
8. Ponder Two Works of Art – One You Love and One You Don’t – And Identify Why You Feel That Way About Each One
I didn’t exactly stand in a museum and pick two works of art (but I will this year when I visit Washington D.C!), and I find it difficult to “not like” art because I know how much effort goes into each piece. If it’s a matter of just choosing something to go in my home, that’s easier then. Sioux Falls, South Dakota, has a sculpture walk. I only photographed ones that I loved, but if I had to choose a type of sculpture to dislike it would be the vague, nonsensical ones I have to “interpret.” They serve their place for those who love to understand art on a deep, emotional level, but I want to look at something and have an immediate feeling, then move on.
9. Learn Five Sentences in a Different Language
I read a book that interchanged English and Farsi and had to make some guesses on meaning, but I DID learn how to say mom and dad in Farsi. bâbâ = dad, mâmân = mom. They even sound comforting in another language!!
10. Go To a Theatrical Performance
Mary Poppins at Bluestem Ampitheatre.
11. Try Your Hand At Writing a Poem
I cannot share the whole thing because it’s very…personal, but here is an excerpt. Keep in mind that poetry is not my thing.
The heart aches
The heart longs
My head in my hands
…gone only moments…
12. Visit a Religious Service of a Faith That is Not Your Own.
Does a Catholic funeral count? No? I didn’t think so.
I feel like humans are losing a grip on humanities, but they play an essential role in our never-ending development. I am able to involve my kids in all of the activities, as well as increase my own knowledge of the world around me. Art, music, and theatre are soothing for the soul. Books can take us anywhere. Understanding other human beings is our greatest and most fulfilling undertaking, and should be one of our most important tasks on this earth.
Who wants to join me in 2016?