On the way back from my most recent visit home, it began to dawn on me (and this wasn’t the first time) that though I often cite the benefits of living in such a large and diverse city as Toronto, I don’t feel I take advantage of them often enough. “There’s so much to do, I don’t end up doing anything” is how I decided to persuade my sister to consider moving to Hogtown.
While hiking with the family around Fanshawe Lake, I was reminded how much I loved being outdoors and just wandering around, yet never do. My mother must’ve been on the same wavelength, because at one point she asked me if I ever go to the trails near Glendon, and I guiltily replied that I hadn’t done so since I left residence (two years ago).
I always joke when giving tours and presentations that it’s possible to walk all the way to the waterfront from Glendon using those trails, but I never have because I’m too lazy. As I told my mother this detail, I silently reprimanded and promised myself to do it as soon as I could.
My father asked if I had any plans for the week as we drove down the highway and I described going to catch Tom à la ferme the next day at the InsideOUT Film Festival happening in Toronto. My friend Sarah had planned to see as many of the films as she could, and though I admired and envied her zeal, could not fit that kind of commitment into my schedule or budget.
For some reason, in the silence following my lengthy vocalized adoration of Xavier Dolan’s filmmaking talent, out of the blue, I thought “Maybe this should be the week I FINALLY go to the AGO”. Yes, a combined 3 years of living in Toronto and not once have I stepped foot in the Art Gallery of Ontario (and only once did I go to the ROM – for about 15 minutes during Nuit Blanche). And that’s when it hit me: I’m not bored of my life or the things I do, I don’t need a change of scenery or anything. I’m just bloody boring, because of the lack of things I do.
No wonder I could never write a decent description of myself for work or fill out an online dating profile. Sure, I love indian food, watching movies, and exercising serious self-control when there’s free coffee around – but what do I do with my spare time? Where do I go?
Previously, I’ve blamed the clash of my student budget and the cost of trying to go on new adventures every weekend. When I returned from exchange, I constantly groaned about the ridiculous prices for museums, galleries, and transportation, yet I should’ve been making the last year of having “student discounts” (petty as they are in a lot of places) worthwhile. Spoiler alert: I did not.
Now, I blame my ignorance. Doing things doesn’t have to kill a budget. There’s this great new thing called the internet where it’s possible to read about everything you can do in the city for free (BlogTO is THE best) or all the festivals happening over the summer. For the things that do cost money, there’s often discounted days of the week or memberships available, if you have the commitment to visit often enough to make it worthwhile (ahem, hello HotDocs cinema).
Earlier this spring, I loudly boasted about the benefits of having a job with regular hours, living downtown, and my plans to explore the city as much as possible this summer during my off-time. I claimed I would spend every weekend in parks or the islands and only go to parties in the west end (to get to know the area better and to stop going to the same places I went for the past 4 years). May has just come to an end, and I can count on one hand the amount of my goals I’ve checked off the list. But this is going to change.
I refuse to be bored and I’m not going to be boring.