I don’t know when exactly, but not too long ago I realized summers would never be the same. Do you remember waking up as a kid on a summer day? Hours stretched out in front of you, no plans? I would explore, play in my treehouse, ride bikes with my friends, and definitely play in the sprinkler at least once a day*. As an adult, I remember first feeling very grown up that I had to work through the summer: “No big (awesome) break, for me guys, the job needs me.”
Now I miss the simple joy of a lazy summer afternoon spent rocking in a hammock or playing with the dog. Of course I’m grateful to have a job, but that doesn’t make the loss of freedom sting less.
I may not get those 10 weeks off, but I realized I can still have carefree fun as an adult. Here are some things I love doing in the summer:
Picnics – they are so under appreciated! I love picnics. They should consist of the following:
1. good food and too much of it. Make sure there is something at least a little indulgent (cupcakes, ice cream, a cheese plate, etc).
2. relaxing location. We like to picnic at Green Lake or Magnuson park because of the water and space. It’s easy to find your own peaceful patch of grass.
3. Activity. If bocce or croquet are your jam, sweet. We usually bring sketchbooks, games, and/or the dog.
4. Creature comforts. Remember the bug spray, extra layers for when it starts to get cold, and whatever you need to eat your picnic food easily (I tend to forget sharp enough knives and napkins).
Campfires – with s’mores! If you want to feel fancy, buy the good chocolate (Theo Chocolate’s ghost pepper and dark chocolate bar is my fave) and make your own graham crackers, but I am not a food snob. Thus I am completely content with Hershey chocolate, Honey Maid grahams, and Jet-Puffed marshmallows. Are they really puffed by some variety of jet? Or is this a carry-over name from the sixties, intended to sound high tech and space age? At any rate, they are soft and wonderful.
Play with a dog. I am such a crazy dog lady, but for me this is a reminiscent activity. My childhood dog was a German shorthair pointed named Maddie and I remember spending summer evenings sitting with her and my dad in the yard, or playing with her all through the day. Now, as an adult, I take my dog to a nearby park that just opened and is almost always abandoned. Summer evenings are long and especially relaxing when spent outside.
Outdoor music/movies – Here in the PNW we get so little sunshine, I really do try to soak up ever single second of sun I can. Wanna watch a movie? at least see it outside!
BBQ - I’m not much of a meat eater, but if I’m going to eat it, I really prefer it from the grill. Pizza and vegetables from the grill taste superior too.
Here are some summer activities I have no intention of participating in:
Music festivals – I think I’m about 10 years too old for this one. Coachella? no thank you.
Camping – I’m high maintenance. I want a shower, a soft bed, and hot coffee. I am a resort vacationer, not a frontier woman. God knew this about me, and that’s why had me be born in the 20th century.
Water sports – Not my thang, folks. Getting drunk on a boat, frying in the sun, and freezing in the snowmelt water don’t sound fun to me by themselves, but put them together and you’ve really got a recipe to keep me away.
Hiking – mostly I’m not a fan of the really long drive there and back. If someone else is driving me, it’s suddenly fun!
So while I’m still wearing toasty socks today, and probably a sweater tomorrow, I’m dreaming of sun-drenched days, iced tea, and lots of outdoor time – even if it has to come after a long day in an office.
*my mom was a math teacher and neither of my parents really believed in unstructured time for children so I spent summers with chore lists involving stimulating activities such as math (workbooks that were 2 years ahead of my grade, always and inexplicably), memory work, house or yard work, and exercise. The injustice! I was allowed freedom once my chore list was complete, but as a child these lists seemed insurmountable, destined to swallow up every second of every summer day.