The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Hart to Heart

Take a second to think back to when you were in grade school. It was a different lifestyle, one devoid of cars, jobs, Facebook or any substantial amount of work (aside from beating the Elite Four in Pokemon, of course).

A kid could wake up at 7 a.m. on a Saturday morning, catch an episode or two of “CatDog,” and then head out into the world for what seemed like an eternity. So why is it that, as college students, we’re so hard-pressed to find new things to do?

I think the best way to keep things fresh is to take some advice from kids, the people we used to be. All of the best things happen somewhere in between point A and point B, and kids are the masters of uncovering this mysterious point X.

As we hop into our cars and speed across the Water Street bridge toward wherever we need to be, a group of youngsters surrounded by tipped-over bicycles skip rocks beneath it.

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While we’re swiping our almost-empty credit cards at a Holiday gas pump, there’s a high-voiced middle schooler buying Sour Patch Kids with a handful of quarters. It’s obvious that we can’t just shrug off all of our responsibilities to support a candy habit, but I see no reason the idea can’t remain the same.

I decided to put some effort into a new sort of lifestyle during this past summer. Instead of driving to places like the grocery store and my job with the Eau Claire Express baseball team, I decided to bike. Seems like a pretty minor change in my routine, right?

It turns out that the bike ride itself wasn’t so different, but the things it caused me to notice are what made all the difference. As I pedaled my way up Clairemont Avenue to get a backpack full of groceries, I spent some time considering the contents of a pawn shop that I had only noticed in passing before. I wondered, do pawn shops have any good deals, or are they just trying to rip me off?

Two days and a ton of research later, I had a respectable PA system for a more than respectable price. My roommates and I even hosted a couple of  basement shows with some great local bands and made a ton of connections with interesting people.

On my bike ride to work, I noticed all of the contented-looking fisherman on the shores of Half Moon Lake and thought, “What’s stopping me from being that content?” So I bought myself a $20 fishing pole and caught an impressive amount of very small fish. My friends and I even caught enough legal-length bass to make a stunningly mediocre fish fry (bass aren’t the most palatable fish in the lake).

My point is that it’s easy to get stuck in a rut, but we should take some time every once in a while to look around and see the world through different eyes. It may not work out every time, like my severe case of inner-thigh poison ivy as a result of an adventure down some abandoned railroad tracks, but you can’t benefit from what you don’t try. In other words, the journey holds infinitely more potential than the destination if it is approached with an open mind.

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