During my childhood summers in Ontario, I’d bolt out of bed and check the red line on the thermometer outside the window, hoping it had crawled high enough for shorts. Summers used to be an endless glory of rolling down hills, jumping through sprinklers, and sucking on blue Mr. Freezes. Now, I’m more likely to start the morning by burying my face in the pillow, hoping to postpone the day’s busyness for a couple minutes longer.
One of the sad realizations of adulthood is that work days crowd July and August like ants swarming a scoop of ice cream on the ground. If we aren’t careful, we can spend ten months of the year waiting for summer to come, just to keep up our hectic schedules, blink twice, and watch the geese fly south. So, here are a few tips for savouring summer, even if you have to work overtime while the boss is on vacation.
Summer is about slowing down, giving yourself permission to sit on the deck and feel the days slip into bath-warm nights. You don’t have to take a week off work to slow down, you just need to be strategic. Here are a few tricks for shifting into a more relaxing gear:
- Instead of checking Facebook after dinner, go for a walk around the neighborhood.
- Friday night, drive to a lake with friends, lay on a dock, and watch the stars.
- Buy a hammock for Sunday afternoon naps on the patio.
The best part of summer used to be playing all day long without school getting in the way. Now, unless you’re a teacher who’s opted out of summer school, the season’s glory lies in its weather, not so much in its empty days. So, take advantage of warm mornings and late nights:
- Pick up breakfast and have an early picnic at the park.
- Rent a canoe and spend the day fishing, paddling, or tipping the boat and climbing back in.
- Get a projector and watch The Princess Bride on the back wall of someone’s house.
Whether it’s a slushy from the gas station or that half gallon of ice cream in the freezer, nothing says summer better than a frozen dessert. So, revisit some of your favorite childhood treats:
7 Dig into a nerd blizzard from Dairy Queen.
8 Slurp down a root beer float.
9 Bite into a snow cone at 4:00 pm. or, up the maturity:
10 Make watermelon agua fresca.
11 Visit every frozen yogurt bar in town.
12 Buy a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Oatmeal Cookie Crack… I mean, Crunch.
Soak it up
Before you spend the next two months perfectly chilled in your living room, hunched over your iPhone or laptop, soak up a few sensations that are only available in the summer:
13 Walk barefoot in the grass.
14 Wander outside in your pajamas before dawn–if getting up that early won’t make you angry–and listen to the cicadas whirr the neighborhood awake.
15 Wait for a sunny afternoon, then wash your car by hand, making sure to get thoroughly soaked in the process.
Rediscover your carefree spirit, the one that made climbing trees, sloshing down a slip and slide, and whistling a piece of grass between your thumbs so magical. If you’ve outgrown those activities, find another way to indulge your playful streak:
16 Buy a bocce ball set and throw a wine and bocce party.
17 Find an empty field and twirl until your fingers tingle.
18 Play beach volleyball. If there isn’t a beach nearby, visit a local club.
With a little planning and a couple hours each week, you can make sure to get the most out summer. You’ve survived too many cold months waiting for the sunshine, so don’t just stand there watching July and August melt off the calendar.