Summer! It’s happening on June 21st! The season of our dreams is (almost) here for the taking and it’s up to us to not screw it up.
We’ve spoken here about whether to savor or squander it (the answer’s obvious), and remember that time back in 2020 when we spoke about not ruining the longest day of the year (when The Plague was trying so hard to ruin everything)? Yes. We’ve been through this season before, a few times. Summer remains special. We must treasure the sunny, sweaty, sticky moments in ways that we just can’t or won’t when the car won’t start in the frostbitten, snotty-nosed, freezing cold.
How to Not Let 92 Days Go by and Feel Like You’ve Wasted the Best Season Out of Your Dwindling Summers-Left-to-Live:
Idea 1: Celebrate the longest day of the year. This is a symbolically amazing day to stuff in as much as you can. How about planning a day that begins with watching the sunrise, and ends with watching the sunset? What you fit in between those oodles of hours is up to you, but I encourage you to make them memorable &/or joyful &/or ideally playing hooky from work. If you’re reading this after June 21st, well, that ship has already sailed, pal (*sigh*). Your summer isn’t off to a super start, is it? It’s still salvageable though. Keep reading.
Idea 2: Create a “Bite-Size Bucket List.” Yes! We spoke about this whole concept here. An epic summer won’t just happen to you—you have to dream it, design it, then do it. Map out “The List of All Things Summer” to shift from good intentions into great action. Examples of what to put on the list? Do-able things like, “buy an ice cream bar from the ice cream truck,” “find a carnival in a small town and ride the Tilt-a-Whirl,” “read a trashy summer novel,” “fall asleep in a hammock,” “take a road trip to see Grandma,” and “skinny-dip in the day.” (Please keep those last two points separate.)
Idea 3: Plan to live wider AND deeper this summer. We make our lives wider when we infuse our days with pleasurable experiences, and we make our lives deeper when we infuse them with meaning. Are you balancing the roller coasters with a fabulous community clean up? Planning amazing s’mores parties while also learning and growing by visiting museums? Summer is usually a hedonic binge, and while I will have zero judgment for you if all 92 days are full of funnel cakes and tubing, I suspect at some point you’ll want to feel some substance. Maybe get into meditation as you lounge lakeside? Catch a rivetingly informative documentary while nursing your sunburn and cocktail? Listen to a meaningful podcast on your way to Six Flags?
Idea 4: Use scarcity to your advantage this summer. Create a countdown calendar to create a sense of urgency and priority. 92 days to go might feel luxurious at the start of summer, but you’ll likely get a move on when you see there are only 23 days left. Make it visual! If you’re up for it, count down how many summers you have to go until other big-time milestones—like until you turn 50, until you retire, until you enter the assisted living center, UNTIL YOU DIE. Key point: count this summer and make this summer count. Your time’s ticking and I will never be accused of not over-regularly reminding you of that.
Idea 5: Refer to the “peak-end rule.” This is a fabulous psychology hack. We tend to remember key events (like summers) at two points: the point of peak emotional experience, and the ending (as we discussed here). How can you design this summer to have a highlight peak moment AND an intentionally dazzling ending? All the other bullshit in between will be filler (as far as your memory goes), but man—the high point and the ending—those memories will last a lifetime. What might you plan?
So there you have it. When it’s September 23rd and the leaves have started to crisp and fall, how do you want to look back on this summer of your life? Let’s savor every snow cone—they’re way easier to appreciate than snowflakes.