"Summer afternoon, summer afternoon --
to me those have always been the two most beautiful words
in the English language."
I love summer. Always have. As a child, I loved the warmth and the freedom and the fireflies. I loved knowing that my birthday is coming. As a teenager, I loved the freedom from school and the long, lazy days spent by the pool. In my youth, summer always symbolized freedom.
And even now, as I look longingly out the window at the beautiful June day, summer is freedom. Summer is freeing. There is more time (longer days!) and more happiness (how hard it is for me to be sad when the sun is shining!). There is tanned skin and sun-kissed hair. There is warmth and joy and a slowness that calms everyone just a little bit.
Though the season hasn't technically started (hard to believe, with these 90-degree days!), I want to make sure I make the most of it when it arrives. Here's how I plan to embraced this much-loved season . . .
7 Super Ways to Celebrate Summer
- Spend a lot of time outside. It's hard for me to tear myself away from my computer, my TV, my indoor comforts, and go outside. In general, I'm an indoor girl. But summer is the time I need to go outside and take part in outdoor activities (even if by "activity" I mean laying by the pool and reading...). Just this weekend I rationalized it was perfectly fine to spend a beautiful Saturdays indoors because I had "things to do." Sure, I was very productive, but nothing I did was a necessity and I wasted a perfectly sunny day sitting in front of the computer. This weekend I won't be making the same mistake!
- Pay attention to nature. Just the other day I noticed some of the leaves falling from trees and thought to myself, "Wow, summer will be over before I know it!" I need to pay attention to the season before it passes me by. I need to look at the bright blue sky and feel the warm sun on my arms as I'm driving. I need to make note of the green, green grass and all of the beautiful flowers still in bloom. As much as I love the rainbow of colors in the fall, summer has some great things to offer nature-wise and I need to open my eyes and take in all of the summer beauty.
- Enjoy summertime foods. There's nothing quite like summertime foods to remind you of how great summer is. There are certain things I eat during the summer that I rarely have any other time of the year -- watermelon, corn on the cob, and fruit salad being three of my favorites -- and I need to eat more of those while they're in season. It could be another year before I'm likely to eat them again so I need to take advantage of them now, enjoying them in all of their summertime glory!
- Sit outside at restaurants. During the summer, most restaurant hosts will ask you when you arrive, "Inside or outside?" I often hesitate. Outside seems like the logical choice, but it is awfully hot out there. I need to put my wussy little "it's too hot" whiny self aside and remember that only during a few months of the year do I have the opportunity to sit outside. It might be warm, but it's refreshing and freeing to sit outside and eat. There's something about dining al fresco that's liberating. Next time a host asks me where I want to sit, unless it's rainy, you better believe I'll be responding, "Outside, please!"
- Appreciate the warm nights. When the nights are warm and I'm wearing flip-flops and shorts to walk the dog, it's easy for me to forget about all the nights in winter where I had to bundle up in a big puffy jacket and boots just to take a quick, freezing stroll around the block. In the summer, however, I just slip on my flip-flops, grab the leash, and go. I need to remember what a joy it is to have the freedom to leave the house without a jacket, to know I won't have to brace myself in preparation for a cold blast of air when I open the door. So while I have 'em, I'm going to appreciate the warm summer nights.
- Take a day (or a few!) off. Now that I work for myself, it might seem like I could easily take the day off to enjoy a beautiful day, but it's much harder to vacate from my "office" when my time off isn't paid. Even so, life's too short not to enjoy the beautiful season of summer. Hard as it might be to step away from my desk, I'm going to take a day or two off this summer to just relax and enjoy the season. It might seem lazy and even wasteful, but I doubt I'll ever look back on my life and say, "Wow, I wish I hadn't enjoyed that summer day so much."
- Make good use of long days. When I finish work in the winter, it's dark. When I get back to my apartment, I don't feel like doing much of anything. Darkness, to me, signals time to sleep. The nights after work in the summer are different. It doesn't get dark until hours after I've dragged myself away from the desk. There's little desire to sleep when the sun's still shining. For the rest of the summer, I'm determined to make the most of these long afternoons. I'm going to do things after work (instead of just sitting on my couch, which seems to be my current preference). I'm going to get out there and make myself enjoy the long days!
Depending on what you like do and what kind of person you are, your ideas of enjoying the summer might vary greatly from mine (which, as you've probably noticed, fail to include anything too strenuous, nature-oriented, or expensive). No matter what you enjoy doing during the summer, you should do it. The days seem longer, but the season always comes to an end much sooner than we realize. Make the best of it and start celebrating your summer!
What do you do to celebrate summer?
How do you make the most of those long days?