"Summer is going to be over before you know it!" This was the statement my friend made yesterday as we discussed the first day of summer.
"Thanks, Debbie Downer," I replied, trying to push the thought of a fast-moving summer out of my head.
Summer does seem to be fleeting though, doesn't it? We seem to long for summer on those days when the mercury dips below zero and we are scraping snow and ice off of our cars to make the commute to work.
It's on those cold and grey days that I think about the lure of summer. Drinking wine on the porch, sand in my toes, the sun on my face, the summer breeze through my hair, and polite sunsets that wait until well after 8 p.m. to occur.
We start off every summer the same way; planning our vacations, vowing to get to the beach, promising ourselves that we'll stop and smell the proverbial roses, or at least the nostalgic scent of suntan lotion.
But do we really do these things?
Most people I know spend Labor Day weekend lamenting the fact that they haven't done much to enjoy the summer season. It is that feeling of not having enjoyed the time that makes it seem so fleeting.
Summer is really no different than any other season. It comes and goes in much the same way that spring, winter, and fall does, but somehow there is more pressure to enjoy summer, yet we never seem to reach our goal of summer nirvana!
Are you looking for a magical summer? Do you long for a summer filled with so much fun and relaxation that you won't found cursing the first falling leaves in autumn?
Here are 15 simple summer somethings to help you make the most of the weeks ahead.
1. Read for fun! Put away the business books, grab a juicy novel, and read for no other purpose than that of pure enjoyment.
2. Spread a blanket out on some grass, throw on an old tee shirt or tank, and eat the juiciest, messiest fruits you can find. Think watermelon, oranges, and mangoes. Don't worry about the mess, that's what washing machines are for.
3. Invest in a fabulous bottle of wine, or mix up the most delicious pitcher of sangria and drink it over a magnificent sunset. Want to up the fancy ante? Throw on some classical music while you sip.
4. Walk for fun. Forget the exercise for just one day and amble around like a bunny. Leave the Fitbit at home and don't worry about your heart rate. Don't worry about 10,000 steps, and don't try to get anywhere; just walk to see the sights, smell the air, and feel the sun.
5. Do that one thing in your area. Whatever your city is known for, be a tourist and experience that thing. Live in Philadelphia? Go see the Liberty Bell. Are you in Maryland? Eat crabs. Residing in San Francisco? Ride the trolley. Learn to appreciate what you have in your own back yard.
6. Go to the beach. Nothing screams summer like a day at the beach does. Feel the sand in your toes, appreciate the sound of the waves, and let the salt air fill your lungs and your soul.
7. Do the things you loved as a kid. Go out at night and look for fireflies; chase after the ice cream truck; take your shovel and pail to the beach and build a sand castle; ride your bike up and down the block with your friends.
8. Jump in a puddle. It's bound to rain at some point this summer. Grab a rain slicker and a pair of boots and get outside. Leave the smartphone at home and don't be afraid to get wet.
9. Have a real picnic. Grab a blanket and some friends and family, pack some great food, and find the perfect spot to lounge, eat, and relax. Institute a no technology rule. Spend your time together playing games, swapping stories, and of course, feeding your face.
10. Stop obsessing over your diet. Eat the ice cream, drink the lemonade, have a piece of funnel cake. Don't do it every day, but do it, and when you do, don't obsess about it. Enjoy every lick, sip, and bite!
11. Adjust your schedule so Monday and Friday are as relaxing as they can be. If you work a regular Monday-Friday, 9-5 job, you may not be able to take off, but do what you can to make it possible to ease into Monday and slack off a little on Friday.
12. Keep everything simple. Don't cook complicated dinners. Don't plan complex home projects. Resist the urge to take on any new projects at work that aren't absolutely necessary and time-sensitive. It's the frenetic pace of life that often makes summer feel like it's wasting away.
13. Take a road trip. Pack up the car, pack up the kids, and get on the road. Pack fun snacks, play fun games; remember punch buggy? Use the travel time to bond with the family. Getting there is half the fun!
14. Give yourself time and permission to do nothing. Take lots of naps. Daydream. Doodle. Buy a coloring book and actually use it.
15. Learn to appreciate everything. Enjoy the sunrises and sunsets; don't fret over the sand in your shoes; listen to the frogs croak and listen to the crickets sing; go back to seeing the wonder in everyday things. Learn to appreciate everything, except maybe the mosquitoes; it's okay if you never acquire a taste for them!
Here's hoping you feel the sting of the bees, instead of the sting of regret; the feel of the ocean instead of the feel of missed moments; and the wonder of the season instead of the wonder of where time went.
Here's wishing you a safe, happy, and magical summer.