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7 ways to celebrate summer

 
 
"Summer afternoon, summer afternoon --
to me those have always been the two most beautiful words
in the English language."

Henry James

 

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

  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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!"  

  5. 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. 

  6. 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."

  7. 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?

Comments

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Love that picture of the watermelon - talk about perfect! You are so right - we look forward to summer but wow, if you don't get OUT there and enjoy it, it can be over. I, too, have the computer and that "other" electronic device I shouldn't be paying attention to - some days if it wasn't for taking the dog outside..........well, I missed the day! My remedy is to go up to the lakehouse where I have no internet and just veg on the porch, go for bike rides and take cruises in the boat. We have campfires at night and this year have a great telescope for star gazing. Being up there just says vacation. When I am here, I tend to work too much!

Dani,

LOVE the picture of the watermelon!

I'm a big fan of taking time off...I believe that my time is mine to do so as I choose. I am fortunate that as an employee in "contractor" status, that I don't have to "ask" for time off. I also don't get paid for time off. I make more than enough money, so for me it's a matter of banking $$ rather than time. It's easier to bank $$ because with time, there are no rollover minutes. I can't bank 86,400 seconds today to use next month.

In my lovely neck of the woods, we suffered through the wettest, coldest June that I can remember. You can bet I'm taking advantage of the sunny, warm days we're having now.

Great post!

Peggy

Suzen - Isn't it a great pic? I was so happy when I found it! :) It sounds like I need to find a spot that's internet-free. Being disconnected is probably the best way for me to force myself to enjoy the beautiful summer days! A telescope is another great idea. I love stars and it would be a great way to embrace the clear summer sky.

Peggy - I love it too! It's a great visual for summer. Great point about how there are no rollover minutes with time. You can't save it up for use later like you can with money, which is why it's so important to use it wisely and spend time doing what you love (and enjoying the warm, sunny days!).

Hi Dani,

Not to make you completely crazy, but we can do all of this YEAR ROUND in California :). HAHA. I'm about to head out from my parents house to hit the beach and spend the say surfing. But, I have lived in cold weather before and a summer is something that should never be taken for granted. I've taken the beach in California for granted all these years and now I go every single day that I can.

I'm a big big big fan of summertime produce! I get especially overjoyed when strawberries start to actually taste like strawberries again and when cherries make an appearance for a low price in the grocery store or farmers' markets!

I am originally from South Jersey, so summers to me mean beach, boardwalk, water ice, lounging, convertibles and sun tans! Though I really don't feel too much like we've had much of a summer--here in DC the weather has been pretty mild this year. I'd love to have it be warm enough to sit out at the pool and soak up the sun!

Dani,
I am a summer girl born and bred so savoring each and every summer is important to my well-being. What else do I do? I sit and gaze, a lot! I heighten my senses and try to soak in all the beauty I can. I watch the birds that flit through my garden. I also attempt to garden. (LOL) We always try to eat our meals outdoors, which makes for many wonderful mealtime memories, especially when hummingbirds come to visit. I work in the morning and take afternoons off (as a writer who works at home, I can do that.:-) I drink my morning coffee on the porch sitting in my wicker rocker, instead of inside, even if it's cool and I have to wrap myself in a blanket.

"These are a few of my favorite summer things." Did you hear the voice of Julie Andrews come through here? Summer hugs of warmth to you and everyone!

I always like to do, what I can uniquely do, when I can.

You reminded me that I haven't been sitting outside at restaurants enough, and now is the unique time to do it.

Ahh...got to love the Summer! What a fun post to read, and I bet you had a great time writing it. I currently do just about every one of the suggestions you have written here. The warm days and long, beautiful twilight evenings are my favorite and it is what I think about when the dreaded long cold winter season is here. :)

Thanks again for the great post!

I'm going out to buy a summer watermelon and try to capture a picture like that. :-)

I do almost all those things you mentioned. We live in the city so I can't enjoy the stars. However in a couple weeks we're going camping and I can hardly contain my excitement as I think about lying in a field and looking up at the starry sky and listening to the cayotes. I smile and smile just thinking about it.

A great post to remind me to be thoughtful and intentional about all those summer things I love.

Wearing as little clothes as possible.

That's my favorite part.

What a fun post!! I live in Canada where we have very, very cold winters of -15-20 degrees and I try to love those days too. Through a variety of winter sports, life can be awesome in the winter because if I didn't enjoy those days, I would have too many days that I was wishing away. When summer arrives it is such a joy. We are currently enjoying about 90 degree weather and the evenings cool off just enough to sleep well. I love it!!

I do all of the things you mention on your post. I also try and connect more with friends in the summer. Whether it be on the golf course, at the beach, around the pool or just a neighbourhood BBQ it is great to connect with people who are often too busy in the other seasons of the year.

Another thing I love to do is really connect with nature during this time. Not only do I spend time in nature but I try to be really conscious of the beauty around me, notice the miracle of flowers and how intricate they are, notice the birds chirping etc. By really tuning into the sights, sounds and textures of my moments in nature, I develop that deeper connection with myself.

Once again, amazing post and enjoy your summer moments - as you said, they are gone before you know it. All the best.

What a photo. We raised acres of watermelons on our farm. We had to pick them and we'd purposely drop them so we could eat them with our hands! The juice dripped down our chins but as kids we didn't care. I just bought a watermelon yesterday and it had a sticker on it that said "Melon Up." I sent it to one of my sisters so she could share in the happy watermelon memories of our childhood.

The photo alone made my day!

Oh that picture is awesome...I may need to try that!

I feel like I am really enjoying this summer. I have slowed down on blogging, spending more time outside, eating watermelon & grilled foods. I have a good trashy book and am taking the kids to the pool and the beach a lot. For the first time in a long time I feel like I did when I was younger...free!

Thanks for your comment, its been awhile sense ive written sadly so your comment deffinatly inspired me. As always your writing is wonderful, and I love reading your blog.

Srinivas - That DOES make me completely crazy because I used to live in California and I miss it! Haha. But, yes, you can and should do that year round because you're so lucky to live there!

Lauren - Oh yes, summertime produce is the best! Fruit especially is so great in the summer. YUM! Lately the weather in DC has been really warm and no rain but I haven't been taking advantage of it like I should have been. Today I made a point to spend a lot of time outside and I'm glad I did!

Jan - It sounds like you do an excellent job of absorbing as much of the summer as you can. It's so important to embrace it while it's hear and one of the most important things we can do is be attentive to the world around us, which it really sounds like you're doing!

J.D. - I haven't been sitting outdoors enough either and writing this post reminded me to do it too because before we know it it'll be much too cold!

Dayne - That's so great that you do most of the things I've written here. The summer is a great time of year and too often I find that I let myself just stay indoors, behind the computer screen. Today I went out and made the most of the beautiful summer day and I felt great about it!

Valerie - Awesome idea! I love the picture and I'm sure it would be delicious to create. ;) It's great that you're doing a lot of the things mentioned and that you get some time to see stars even if you're in the city most of the time. Just thinking about something that makes you so happy can be almost as good as seeing the thing itself!

Nicole - I agree with that! Tank tops, sandals, shorts, bikinis! Love it!

Gerrianne - Connecting with friends is a great addition to this list. BBQs are such a great way to connect with other people and they're obviously a very summertime thing. Thanks for sharing your insights about the summer. It's great to know that you're embracing the season!

Tess - Wow! That sounds great! I love that you shared that story hear and that the picture brought it to mind. What a wonderful summertime memory!

Diggy - That totally makes sense. It's easier for me to be negative but more and more happiness is starting to become a habit. Positivity is coming more easily to me these days, which is awesome! Check out my post "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" to see what I think about that quote you mentioned.

Caroline - You should! I bet it's not too hard to do. It's great to hear that you're getting outdoors and enjoying the summer. It only lasts so long so enjoy the sunshine and the freedom while you can!

Allen - You're welcome! I really enjoyed your post today and it was good to see you writing again. Thanks for the compliment about my blog and thank YOU for leaving a comment. :)

Ok, can I just tell you how perfect that picture is? Love. It.

Hayden - Isn't it?! When I found it I was like PERFECT!! It's the best summer picture in the world!

We do all of these and what a great list of things it is. I also move into summer wear and take advantage of light clothes and dresses... perfect. I love sitting outside until the humidity is too is too high. The berries and peaches... delightful!

My daughter and I note the changes in the seasons and throughout the summer - different flowers, birds, berries, it is all something to appreciate.. and all gorgeous!

Hi Dani - You know, I had the sense the other day that I was missing too much summer, that I wasn't enjoying it enough. So this post is just in time! The long days, for me, is probably my favorite part. I feel so much more energetic when the sun is out longer.

I think I do all the ones on your list, particularly the being out in the warm nights. Summer nights are especially pleasant here in Florida.

Great list. Thanks!

It sure sounds lovely from where you come from. I would love a visit again. I was last in California years and years ago. My visit was in spring. It will be wonderful to catch your part of the world in summer! Thanks for sharing! The watermelon sure looks juicy!

I love summer too, and living in Canada, they are way too short. This summer, my best friend and I are chartering a sailboat for her birthday and are going to sail Lake Superior for the day. Can you believe I have lived with the lake 5 minutes down the hill from my house and have never sailed before? Then we are going tubing, and kayaking and hiking and climbing the mountain in town and swimming...Yes I plan to pack the rest of this summer with fun times. Thanks for the great post and the reminder to shut the computer down and get outside!

The Exception - Summer dresses are the best! It's so nice to wear summery clothes when the weather turns warm. I agree that there's something to be said about all of the seasons. Fall is actually one of my favorite times of the year and I really look forward to it!

Amanda - Me too! The long days make SUCH a difference in my life. When it gets dark before 5:00pm I feel like I just want to crawl in bed and sleep so I really do try to make the best of the summer days. I don't think I've been taking advantage of the long days as much as I should have been so I plan to make the most of the rest of my summer!

Kaushik - Good to hear that you're making the most of summer. It's so great to be outside in the warm summer nights. Such a great way to take advantage of the nice weather!

Evelyn - Where I love is pretty great in the summer, but it's nothing like California. I used to live there and I loved it! It was so great -- all year round! I hope to go back for a visit sometime soon.

Shannanigans - Sounds like you have some great plans for your summer and it really sounds like you're going to make the most of the nice weather. It's hard sometimes to disconnect and get away from the computer, but I'm sure you'll have a blast during all of your summertime adventures!

Sumemr is full of opportunities to experience love, truth and light. Choose to focus on the good in where you are. Everything is changing. You can be proactive or not. The longer you wait to change, the more weight or burdens you may feel you need to unload.You can always learn to balance the sides of your brain and unleash the inner fire power of your authentic self.

Mmmm....watermelon!!!!:)

That picture made me instantly crave it!

Summer of course too, I'm on the other side of the world where it is mid-winter with snow on the mountains:) And this year, since im going to europe in december, im going to miss out on my summer and have an entire year of winter and autumn:) I'll better get some watermelon to get into the feeling of summer!
hehe

Very nice post, take some days off like you say and enjoy some sun and summer!

Toodles:)
Diggy

Hi Dani .. great post .. watermelon in South Africa was great .. here it's not always that warm! The pic is brilliant and matches your twitter rainbow quite well ...

Raspberries and Cornish cream, picnics in the sun at home, or on the Downs in Sussex, or on the beach in Cornwall, home made Cornish pasties - warm in the cooling down of the day. Smell the flowers, the leaves, watch the buds unfurl .. wonderful days .. listen to the garden birds, to the waves, to the gentle surf on the beach ..

and daylight - long daylight .. makes it all so wonderful .. long daylight days .. long walks .. smile and brighten everyone's day ..

Lovely words and story board bringing summer to life in your part of the world .. fire flies! bats on the summer night flight out -

Thanks Dani .. from a blustery, showery 'cold' day in England .. it is summer I believe .. let the depression go away (the weather sort!) .. Enjoy your Sunday relaxation ...

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters

Liara - What great insights you've shared in your comment! I particularly love this: "Summer is full of opportunities to experience love, truth and light." How true that is!

Diggy - Wow, that's brave of you! A whole year without summer! I suppose you should save this post for when you finally connect with summer again. Or change the wording a bit and think about all of the winter things you can celebrate!

Hilary - I know! I love how much the images match today. :) I'm a big fan of matching. Your ideas of summer sound wonderful. You've brought so many beautiful images to mind! Fireflies and bats are two of the greatest! I do hope it gets a bit warmer in your neck of the woods so you can take in more of the joys of summer.

Hi, Dani!

Getting outside more this summer has been the one way I've savored every moment. Like you, I used to label myself "indoor girl" and still have days when that's where I stay. When I do get out, though, my energy changes --- it's like I'm renewed in this beautifully big way.

What a fun list and how great to know you're finding ways to enjoy yourself during your favorite season!

Keep on!
Megan

Hi Dani,
Summer...it reminds me of relaxing days and enjoying the great outdoors! So, this past weekend we were out for lunch, and chose to sit outside (and everyone had goosebumps!)...I think summer forgot about Wisconsin this year!
It's all good though. And I love your list - things that all resonate with me too.
I also think cookouts, ball games, water activities (beach, swimming, water balloons, etc.).

Enjoy all the days of your summer, my friend...

Megan - I'm glad you enjoyed reading the list! I agree that when I force myself to get outside and do something I really do feel refreshed and revived afterward. It's a great feeling!

Lance - You've mentioned some wonderful summer activities. I hope it warms up for you in Wisconsin so you can enjoy them all. Congrats on your great mention over on Quest for Balance today. :) How wonderful!

I love all seasons, summer is especially nice because here in Oregon we can actually swim (other times of year the water is too cold for my tastes) I love to enjoy all of outdoors wonders year round, but summer is also nice because it is time to harvest medicinal plants, vegetables, and fruits. The sun is so amazingly restorative and uplifting to me. I also love the campfires and gatherings of summer. Great post!

Great list! Another thing I always do is wear lots of dresses. Nothing like a dress to make me feel good. :)

Angie - Thank you! I appreciate your comment. You've made some great points about the joys of summer (especially about the sun!)and I hope you're enjoying the warmer months in Oregon!

Meream - Dresses are the best! There's something about being able to wear one thing and have that be a completed outfit that's just wonderful. :)

Thanks much Dani! Know that I think you're doing some really wonderful things, not the least of which is how supportive you are of so many. And it means the world to me!

Dani -- As usual, great suggestions. I don't know if I agree you about the summer birthday. When I was kid, I never had parties because my birthday is a week after July 4th and most people were on vacation!

But I do agree about summer. As a matter of fact, I'm going to act on your suggestions. It's time for a break. I think I'll go sit outside, read a book, have some cold lemonade and watch my birds eat at the feeder.

Have a great summer weekend:~)

Lance - You're welcome! Thank YOU for supporting my blog! :)

Sara - Oh yes, I hated that too. When I was a kid everyone was always at the beach for my birthday. I guess it's been awhile since those school days so I sort of forgot about that. I hope you had a great, summery break! :)

Great list! I love going to the park and laying out on a blanket to watch the stars. The mister and I load a bag with snacks and just sit back and talk for hours. The temperature is perfect warm, but not too hot.

I love the long days of summer. I usually get up earlier, stay active later, and still find that I have more energy. Who needs sleep? I hybernate so much in the winter that I think I have stored energy to burn in the summer :-)

One of the great things about living in SoCal is the weather. For so many days of the year, it feels like summer, but your make use of the long days is a great one.

I just finished an article about free concerts, and although we do have great weather all year long, we don't have free concerts all year long.

So one items I would add to your great list is the idea of taking full advantage of the free programs offered locally, of which there are many. Most locations have lots of summer freebies. :)

Dani, I love summer. I live in Houston TX and we have warm (hot??) weather much of the year. Even in the winter, especially lately, there are often warm days. Last winter my Hibiscus bloomed the entire year, even in the depths of January. Some people like the seasons, but I would rather travel for the seasons!

In any case I think your summer thoughts apply to all of life. Don't let any moment of any time slip away. I spent 25 years glued to my computer and work and I'm not going to let the next 50 be that way. I'm NOT going to miss out! :-)

Shannon - That sounds wonderful! I love the idea of looking up at the stars. I live near a city so there aren't too many but I love when I'm out in the country somewhere and there are MILLIONS of stars. So beautiful!

Lori - That's great! I love the idea of sleeping less in the summer (though I did sleep 10 HOURS last night -- whoops!). Winter is the time fo hibernating.

Lisa - So jealous that you live in SoCal! I love it there! You've made a great point about the freebies. There are tons of summertime activities around where I live that are free and outdoors and I should definitely take advantage of them before they're over.

Stephen - I completely agree with you about traveling for the seasons. While I did miss the seasons a bit when I was in Cali, I would have been perfectly fine living in warm weather forever. You make a great point about how the points can be related to life in general. Like you, I've spent a lot of time inside, being antisocial, in front of computer and I plan to embrace the summer (and life!) and get out more!

I loved this post Dani. I'm passionate about summer just as you are and I feel the same way about the long cold winters (especially in the city of Chicago).

During the summer, I like to read books that I'm not able to read during the school year. I took pleasure reading for granted when I was in high school. That's all change in college :)

John - I imagine that you definitely appreciate the summer a lot living in cold Chicago! Reading non-school or work books during the summer is a great one. I love to read and as a kid loved that I had so much more time in the summer to read what I wanted. For whatever reason, I read a lot more during the summer months and I love it! :)

Hi Dani

Great idea to reminds us to enjoy summer. I just did few days in the sun, it was great fun...but I forgot sunscreen. Still it was a GREAT TIME. :-)
Giovanna Garcia
Imperfect Action is better than No Action

Giovanna - Gotta remember that sunscreen! ;) I'm glad you got to enjoy a few sun-filled days. That's what summer's all about!

Dresses, watermelon with greek feta for dinner,traditional tavernas by the sea with octopus, ouzo and good friends,swim in the most beautiful seas.
This is my Greek Summer.
Here: http://pinterest.com/despinakosta/made-in-greece/

Dee - Ooh, that sounds like a wonderful summer! I'm looking forward to checking out your Pinterest. I've always wanted to go to Greece!

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