Flint, MI– If you’re like me, you’ve probably been anxiously refreshing the election results page on Google since Tuesday.
Like, Nevada, what’s good?
I even found myself waking up in the middle of the night and checking my phone for updates.
Unfortunately, the election anxiety we’re all experiencing might not be going anywhere for a while. Absentee ballots are still being counted in some states, and North Carolina has until Nov. 12, to finish counting theirs.
As I was doom-scrolling through my Facebook feed, I came across a status from a friend that said, “Worrying about something means you suffer twice.” Although it’s natural and completely valid to worry about the outcome of the election, people deserve to take a break.
It was 65 degrees outside and the sun was shining, so I shut my laptop and decided to spend the day going around Flint, finding ways to de-stress.
First stop: Buckham Gallery, 121 W. Second Street
Buckham Gallery, located in downtown Flint, has a free show going on entitled “Serious Play.”
It features Flint artists Andy Hill, Timothy Kranz, and Sifus J. Thompson.
Fun paintings of iconic childhood imagery lined the walls, and robotic figurines stood proudly on display, like an army of vintage toys. It was hard not to pick one up to wind its gears and see if it would talk or light up.
But the work wasn’t all whimsy and nostalgia. According to a pamphlet from the gallery, “the artists are touching on relevant issues of a disposable culture, isolation, and identity in pop culture.”
But even that was better than waiting for states to switch colors on a map. I decided I wanted more.
Second stop: Flint Institute of Arts, 1120 E Kearsley St
I had never been to the FIA before and was shocked at how big it was, with more than 20 rooms and exhibits. You could spend hours at the museum wandering around, reading about the artists, and being mesmerized by the art. For free.
What better way to stop worrying about the future than by marveling at work of the past?
I stood in awe of the sculptures in the Art of Africa exhibit and vases from the Art of Asia exhibit.
I giggled at a figure of a rat holding a cookie, and accidentally got too close to one intricate painting in the Renaissance and Baroque Art exhibit.
Spring Flowers by Albert-Emile Artigue caught my attention. Six women in poofy floral gowns threw petals into the air and played in a lush grassy landscape.
Inspired by the painting and fully aware it was no longer Spring, I made my way to a park once I reached the end of the museum.
Third stop: Max Brandon Park, 3606 Dupont St
I’m from Florida, so the ground being covered in orange and brown leaves was very exciting to me, although I can’t imagine the crunch crunch crunch under your feet as you walk across them ever gets old.
I traipsed through the park dazzled by the falling leaves around me, and just how many trees there were.
There was nobody out, so I swung on the swing set and slid down the slide meant for kids ages 5-12. It felt like I was living in my own little reality. Nevada, who? I’m 12!
Instead of thinking about the election, I brainstormed other ways to relax and de-stress while we wait for the results:
- Buy some of the big Grandma’s Gingersnap cookies from We’re Dough Flint and have dessert for dinner.
- Go to Churchill’s Food & Spirits to listen to live music.
- Drink beer and try yoga and meditation at Tenacity Brewing for their “Equilibrewum” night.
- Stay in (with the cookies) and watch a free virtual planetarium event online hosted by the Longway Planetarium. Tonight they’ll be talking about black holes! What more of an escape could you ask for?
- Channel the nervous energy into creative energy: paint, play an instrument, cook, write.
- Take a walk through Stepping Stone Falls park, or ride a bike through Glenwood Cemetery.
- Go on a mural hunt around the city.
- Read a book or watch a movie to worry about someone else’s reality for a while instead.
As the sun started to set, I decided to head home, kicking up the leaves on the way to the car with the same glee I felt when I saw snow in Michigan for the first time a couple weeks ago. On the drive back, I reflected on the natural and artistic beauty I was surrounded by all day, feeling grateful, amazed and inspired. I allowed myself one election results check (still too close to call) before closing my laptop for the night.