A few weeks ago, Gretchen Rubin and Elizabeth Craft discussed “designing the summer” on their podcast Happier. They spoke about how their days of a three-month-summer-vacation are long over, but somehow, summer still feels set apart from the rest of the year. Perhaps more accurately, they long for it to feel set apart from the rest of the year, and regret that often the season just passes them by without actually being any different, despite the mental feeling that it is different from the rest of the year. Together, they “designed the summer,” each naming specific things they would do to make summer feel set apart and special (for an example, Gretchen will devote two hours each summer morning to re-reading some of her favorite books).
The topic resonated with me, especially considering the fact that this is the first year that I don’t have some sort of official “summer break.” I’ve actually felt a bit glum entering the summer, mourning the fact that the days are longer and the weather is golden and I still have the same work obligations. I have always looked towards the summer as a time to relax, rejuvenate, travel and have some fun, and I want summer to remain a time for all of these activities whether or not my day-to-day life differs as drastically as it did when I was a student and had summers “off.”
Listening to Gretchen and Elizabeth as they brainstormed convinced me that the antidote to my grieving the loss of an extended summer vacation is to design my summer, to come up with a few activities that will make summer feel like summer. My season was kickstarted this past week during a beach vacation with my in-laws, and as I sit here in the Charleston airport, returning home, I feel truly in the summer state of mind. I’ve mulled over various ideas these past few weeks and am settling on these five, effective immediately.
Designing my summer
- Take a day trip to a new location each week that doesn’t involve some other sort of travel
- Eat/drink on the deck/patio of a new (to us) restaurant each non-travelling week
- Talk to an old friend on the phone/facetime/skype every week
- Write one blog post each week
- Complete a few projects that have been on my list for ages:
- Learn how to use Caleb’s camera
- Create a photo wall to display recently taken pictures
- Complete a writing project
- Buy and fill in a birthday calendar
- Hang artwork that has accumulated