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As summer ends, let’s get back to school

Do you remember how, as kids, we dreaded August coming around because that meant we soon had to go back to school?

Isn’t it funny how several months can change our perspectives? Being off-work, stuck at home suddenly has become a real drag (to use a term from an old “seasoned” guy).

Well, as adults, let’s get back to school. Make these next weeks as productive and positive as they can be. Challenge yourself to learn something new this late summer and into fall. (There are only so many pine needles and oak leaves that one can rake and feel productive.)

I’ve got some ideas for you:

Play that dusty guitar or even more fun, learn to play ukulele (it’s a lot simpler and Denise Leslie is a great instructor.) Do some art. Many of our graphic designers have pivoted, so they’ve returned to their first passion of painting pictures and might even offer classes. You too can paint the red cliffs.Explore brewing beer. I don’t want to limit you visiting our local craft brewers, but exploring home brewing is an interesting exercise that will truly give you an appreciation for the beers produced by our local breweries.Take an online course. Be it a new computer program (Excel for me), or learning a new language or more, it can give you sense that you’re moving ahead and not just stagnating, rumbling around in your house, sweeping up dog hair dust bunnies every morning. Hone your cooking skills. Yes, we are encouraging everyone to still support our restaurants – please support our restaurants either at the outdoor eating areas or with take-out – but it’s still fun to explore new meals. It’s an adventure to consider recipes and shop and cook something new once and a while. (Remember, we’ve got all our fresh ingredients at the Durango Farmers Market right now.) Check with your favorite restaurant, they might send you home with all the fixin’s and you cook it.

And speaking of fresh ingredients, now is the time to can. I bought a book on the subject, so I’m going to test my talents. For example, if you haven’t noticed, we have a bumper crop of apricots. They’re little and wicked, but I’ve learned that they make great jam or syrup. (OK, I confess: Cherie, my wife, made it).For mental (and physical) health, learn yoga or Tai Chi. These disciplines often involve meditation and learning how to breathe. Can we all agree that we probably need to do a little bit of that right now? And there’s nothing wrong with working off the calories from all the great food we’ve now learned to cook.And what about breathing on the river? Learn to fly fish. It’s one of the most tranquil activities, and we have some of the best places in the world to indulge. Sew. True, that’s not going to be me, but we have great quilting stores in this town with amazing fabric. You can create art with fabric. Or make your son or daughter a quilt out of old sports or activities t-shirts.These are just a few ideas. There are numerous local teachers and business owners who can help you with all of the aforementioned and more to get you off the couch (and binging Netflix).

But if you want to stick to the couch ... I admit, I am not a big reader, but challenge yourself to read a book a month. It doesn’t have to be work- related. Some I enjoyed: Dean Koontz’s “Intensity,” Michael Crichton’s “Airframe,” local author Dr. Phillip Duke’s “The Village,” and a couple semi-work related, Tommy Spaulding’s “It’s Not Just Who You Know” and “The Heart-Led Leader.”

Also, The Chamber will be offering a variety of virtual courses, as well as our Lunch & Learn and Tuesday Coffees, online for now. Visit www.durangobusiness.org for upcoming chamber sessions.

I’m sure all of us whined sometime during our youth about going “to school.” I bet your kids are itching to go back right now, and I can’t blame them. Let’s make the best of it and do our own personal “back-to-school.”

Jack Llewellyn is executive director of the Durango Chamber of Commerce. Contact him at jack@durangobusiness.org.

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