Socializing About Town

March 1, 2018

By Megan Bryant Photos Kimberlee Miller

Feeling a little stir-crazy? Fear not! The Boise metropolis is thriving and there are loads of cool things to do to get out and fuel your soul, no matter the season.

Google the health benefits of being social and mingling with friends and friends-you-haven’t-met-yet, and you’ll see that it’s not only fun to be out and about, but it’s necessary for our psychological well-being.

Studies include a wide range of work-related stressors that create ongoing issues for pretty much all adults: not feeling valued, working long hours, not being included in decision-making processes, inadequate social support, and unclear work objectives.

We spend so much of our waking hours fulfilling some sort of obligations, yet there are many people who are employed in less-than-ideal environments, and there are documented trends of high absent/sick rates by people who are unhappy with their supervisors and lack of positive workplace culture.

Of course, there are many factors to consider when we are talking about emotional and psychological well-being. It’s critical for us to take a personal inventory of our lives to make the best decisions for us.

What gets your heart pumpin’? What kind of people inspire you? Do you spend more time with real people, or clicking “like” on social media? Do you eat well and get enough sleep? We are blasted all day every day with ideas, products, demands of work and family life and essentially live life in a general state of overwhelm. Let’s slow it down a bit and focus on hand-picking things that can bring harmony to your soul. We don’t need science to prove to us that we will feel better when we do fun activities with people we enjoy.

Recently I went out to watch an old friend perform with his band at Pengilly’s Saloon in downtown Boise. I’d never heard the Oliphants play before, but I was open to a new experience. The setting of this watering hole is energetic, with an old-timey style, and a funky-fresh vibe. The band’s genre of Acoustic Americana Jam (a delicious musical blend of folk/jazz/worldbeat influences) quickly swept me in and I felt myself bobbing in my seat. I looked around and saw that I wasn’t the only one. The room was full of people. Relaxing, grooving a bit amid conversation, laughing, and erupting in applause at the end of each song. The bar was dimly lit, yet bright with the spark of intentional interaction.

I caught up with the band a few days later and fed off their love for the art of music. Lead singer and skilled guitarist/harmonica player, Lee Penn Sky, playfully coined the term, “Trunk-adelic” to describe The Oliphants. “Playing music makes me a better human” Penn Sky stated matter-of-factly. He was a founding band member and writes most of the songs they play. Other band members include Jake “Gizmo” Engelhorn on Percussion/Cajon/Djembe/Conga/Bongos, Guitar/Vocals by Dan Costello, and Standup Bass wizard Troy “Rosy” Ferguson.

From the group’s perspective, there is an important connection made between the musicians on stage and the audience. When people come in for a show and start to move with the music, enjoy a drink after a long week, and settle in for the evening they can feel the energy of the collective.

Costello, a self-proclaimed “Musicianalist,” describes music as a fully developed language that bypasses all other linguistic barriers. “[We can] communicate things with rhythm or the tone of your voice,” he says, “Most people from most cultures can decipher the meaning of the music even if they cannot understand the words or needing other cultural references and transcends all other human endeavors.”

The power of music and socializing can help us overcome challenges of communication, it has the power to heal, to help us understand emotions, and to heighten our enjoyment of so many things.

While I was out, I bumped into Speaker, Author, and Global Live Streaming Expert, Jennifer Quinn, “Jenny Q”, and I pulled her aside to talk social life. She lives in the virtual world of social media, as do we, for hours a day, but she had this to say about why she gets out off the screen and into the community. “Even though I interact with people regularly through live streaming and connect digital eyeball to digital eyeball, I find that there is something different that happens when sitting across the table or sharing a space with someone. Even just going to the coffee shop to work and having a casual conversation with strangers is a different interaction and it’s a biological social need that simply can’t be met any other way.”

The quality of our relationships will far outweigh the quantity. I wouldn’t suggest that any of you introverts should feel pressure to get out and constantly meet new people and be “on” when you just need to recharge. Surrounding ourselves with people who are supportive, self-aware, and aspire for a healthier, more balanced lifestyle can help us stay on track with our personal goals. We should avoid negative space that can be harmful, whether you are hanging with a couple close friends or a room-full of acquaintances.

Getting social really IS good for the soul, and you can tailor it to fit your refueling preference.

Maybe music is your jam, but if not, the Treasure Valley nightlife is booming. Taking time to fill your life with great beats, delicious food, theater performances, or loads of laughter is vital for us to feel those synergetic vibes from other mingling humans.

Our community is never in short supply of enticing options for socializing. Here’s just a sampling of ideas to get a little more creative with your upcoming calendar.

1. “Boise is one of America’s fastest-growing cities and with that, there’s an exciting culinary emergence along with craft breweries and a burgeoning wine industry,” boasts US News & World Report. Swig some local brews at one of over 17 active breweries in Boise, Meridian, and Eagle. Find your flavor and follow the flow of recommendations for local beer, wine, and spirits with Guide 208 on Facebook.

2. “Move. Dance. Love. Be born.” Idaho DanceSport, founded by the wildly talented Tabish Romario, offers dance lessons of all levels in Ballroom, Salsa, African Tango, Brazilian Zouk, Country Line dancing and more. Check them out at IdahoDanceSport.com

3. Like to laugh? Liquid Laughs is in the heart of BODO and is the only full-service comedy club in town featuring local, regional, and national acts all week long.

4. Antsy for something artsy? The Visual Arts Collective doubles as an art gallery and a venue for performing arts. Their calendar is chock full of unique shows featuring music, variety shows, and adult-themed entertainment. They have a great bar and an uncommon, yet comfy environment.

5. There’s live music all over town. Hit up Pengilly’s Saloon, The Sapphire Lounge, or The Olympic Venue for local and touring bands almost any night of the week or snag your tickets to catch the Oliphants opening for the Young Dubliners at the Knitting Factory on March 3rd, starting at just $15.

And not to mention, Greenbelt Magazine hosts a variety of fun events all year long! Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to stay up-to-date! And check out the calendar on www.greenbeltmagazine.com!