so part of my plan for a happier 2012 (which is going really well, actually...thanks for asking..) is to expand my mind. (please save the wisecracks!) i want to step off the path and explore more of the world around me - and find more of that happiness that comes through the process of learning.
so in january i started a project along these lines that i read about in a book last year. (i kind of took it and adapted it to my life and my plan for increased happiness in 2012...and it works for me!) i went to my local barnes & noble and i stood in the magazine section and i chose 3 magazines about things that i know nothing about. nothing. and i spent the rest of the month reading them...like i was a subscriber who just got their long-awaited new copy of that month's periodical. but aside from that, i spent the month telling people about this new project and not only talking to them about how it fits into my plan, but about the things i was learning in the magazines.
i am going to do this once a month...and thanks to the generosity of some friends as a birthday gift in january, i got a couple of gift cards to help out with the first couple months. (your average magazine is gonna run you $5-$8, so it's not a CHEAP plan to increase happiness...but i feel like it's a worthwhile investment.)(gift cards to B&N are always accepted here at the manderson report....)
so let me tell you about my january start. i had a couple of set backs when i first went to get my magazines, because the line was long and i was meeting people and couldn't wait...so i quickly replaced 'LaCrosse International' and 'Metal Jewerly Making'...and when i returned a couple of days later, i couldn't find them! (were they bought? cancelled? misplaced? I will never know!) so i stood and waited for something to speak to me, and eventually, i walked out of B&N with: Track and Field News, Moment - Jewish Politics Culture Religion, and Backyard Poultry. (you can see all 3 below.)
i don't really know what i expected to learn...so my bar was pretty low going into it. but this exercise of stepping off the beaten path of my life was a fascinating, informative and really happy experience.
-TRACK AND FIELD NEWS taught me all about the collegiate recruiting world of track around the country, as well as the argument in the sport of the 3-per-nation rule competing at world and olympic events versus the truest top athletes in the world (it's a HUGE debate!) i also learned who to watch on Team USA for this summer at the london 2012 summer games. AND i ended up with a poster of dwight phillips (triple jumper?) fold out, if anyone wants it.
-MOMENT was named by elie wiesel after a vibrant independent jewish magazine (Der Moment) in warsaw, poland from 1910-1093. It was the most fascinating find to me because of two articles i read in it: one that was an inside look into the lives of jews living in iran today (a photo essay that was so interesting) AND an incredible article/story about a catholic priest who has made it his "holy mission" to travel across eastern europe - mostly in the ukraine - to identify the unmarked and sometimes unknown graves of more than 1.5 million jews murdered during world war II. his story is remarkable, as he searches out people who lived in the area who are still alive and will finally, after 60 plus years, tell what they saw or know. amazing reading.
-BACKYARD POULTRY i decided would be a fun laugh...but was maybe more eye-opening than the other two. WHO KNOW this world existed? the sub-line on the magazine says it is "dedicated to more and better small-flock poultry." the edition not only gave owners tricks and helpful hints for winter egg production, but there was a fascinating look at the fight to legalize chickens in your community and what you can do. my favorite of these suggestions on the legalization article was tip #12: have a few gorgeous mellow hens that can go to neighborhood and community meetings to show off. sold. "my that's a gorgeous hen. and so mellow. i vote yes!"
january was full of lots of learning, in so many ways....but particularly with this journey. like i said, i didn't set out to LEARN anything specific...but was open to whatever came along. and in the process of doing this, i'm not looking to become an expert in any of these things. but i just wanted to step out of what i know to learn about what i didn't.
next time you're in a barnes & noble or a grocery store magazine aisle, take a look at the vast world represented there. vast amounts of knowledge exist...and many of it is printed on a monthly or bi-monthly schedule...and it is yours for the taking. just make sure to pay for it first!
up in february: VELO News 2012 Olympic Cycling Preview, Popular Communications (Shortwave Listening, Scanning, AM&FM, Radio History), and ODE Magazine - for Intelligent Optimists. feel free to join my magazine revolution!!!!