In San Francisco there are more readings, plays, drag shows, movies, concerts, and art exhibitions than I can possibly attend or consume. If I add friend’s parties and work happy hours to the mix—I now have a social calendar that would require 30-hour days and five-day weekends to achieve.
This is true in many cities and, as winter turns to spring, the number of things to do will only increase. Unfortunately for me, the more things there are to do, the more likely I am to hit the “nuclear option”: book nothing, eat popcorn in bed, and play the Sims. Nights in are necessary too, but I might not always live in such a vibrant place, so I tend toward pushing myself to get out and about.
But for a long time, short of piling a million things onto my personal calendar, I wasn’t sure how to remember all the things I was curious—but not yet committed—to attend. How could I keep track of events that I didn’t seem to hear about until they were over? Or the tricky repeating monthly ones? Knowing a nearby comedy night only takes place “every third Thursday” wasn’t a detail likely to stick in my brain.
Enter: My “Culture Calendar”
Once I started adding things to a separate “Culture Calendar,” I was overwhelmed by options (in a good way). The bar that has jazz every second Tuesday? Trivia every Monday? The house party that I don’t know if I want to go to yet? The life drawing class in the park every first Saturday? The exact happy hour hours of my favorite bar? An interesting movie or play or art exhibition that’s been running so long I’ll never prioritize it? Everything I’m the vaguest bit interested in goes on my Culture Calendar.
Now, when I have a date with a friend or lover and we don’t know what to do—I click it and am reminded that a café I like has live music on Thursdays, or that it’s the last night to see an exhibit at the SFMoMA. On weekends, it’s nice to wake up and see that there’s a hip-hop dance class and an indie foreign film at the same time and get to check my vibe at that moment. And when I don’t want to look at what the whole city is up to—I just click it off.
Our collective leisure time may be dwindling (a problem for another time), but now I can fill mine with activities that surprise and interest me instead of always defaulting to what I know (unless I want to). My culture calendar has enabled me to spend less of my brain space remembering happenings—or regretting that I never do—and more time appreciating the liveliness that drew me to this city in the first place. A blessing.
You can add your own extra calendar through gCal, name it whatever you want, and start tracking. It takes some time and effort to get it started, but after a while it will become second nature. You can also share a calendar among a group of like-minded friends and all contribute to it to make a robust social directory.
Have you ever done anything like this? Or have another trick for making the most of your free time? I’ll be waiting in the comments.
A note from the Man Repeller team: We’ve created a NY-based Culture Calendar for the month of March—if you’d like to add it to your Gcal, click here!
Graphic by Lorenza Centi.