As I mentioned in my post Why Summer as an Adult is a Joke, our summers aren’t quite the same as they were when we were kids (or even in college). Why? Because summers as an adult rarely live up to the expectations we’ve imagined. We never quite get to do everything we want to do, and the days and weeks seem to pass us by. In the blink of an eye, we’re trading our tank tops for sweaters and have nothing to show for it.
This year, my husband and I wanted to change that. So, we’ve been on a quest to make the most out of summer. Here are a few tips that have worked for us.
In January, Andrew and I made a goals list for 2018. In addition to big goals for the entire year, we added smaller goals and activities for each month that were much more concrete. We hung it on our fridge and there it has been ever since! This list holds us accountable and gives us something to look forward to every month. With that being said, we’ve actually checked everything off our list so far! As you can see, some of these activities are very minor (as small as lying in the hammock together), but these sweet moments are ones we will remember for years to come.
Establish a Routine
If you know me, you know that routines are what make my world go round. I’m telling you – actually committing to a schedule makes your day so much more efficient, giving you time to enjoy the things you want to do this summer. For me, it involves getting up an hour earlier to listen to a podcast, get some chores done and sit outside on our balcony before I have to go to work. I also use my lunch break to go to the gym. This way, by the time I get home from work, I’m ready to enjoy my evening with the hubs.
Now, our evenings are free to explore new restaurants, hang with friends, jump in the pool, read for fun or grab a Redbox movie to watch on the couch. Yeah, it was tough at first to change our sleeping habits and front load our day with the hard stuff, but it makes getting off work that much sweeter because we get to spend quality time together for the rest of the evening.
Be a Tourist in Your Own City
In college, I had this internship at the Missouri Division of Tourism. I got to spend the summer traveling across the state, promoting different attractions through my photography and blogging. As someone who, at the time, was new to Missouri, it inspired me to really explore everything my state, and even my city, had to offer. You’d be surprised how many adventures you have yet to discover – whether a mile down the road or an hour or two away.
Here are some tips to exploring where you live:
- Check out your local Convention & Visitors Bureau website for a calendar of events, list of restaurants and bars, and attractions.
- Look up your city on Instagram under the “locations” tab and see what other people have done. If it’s ‘gram worthy, it’s adventure worthy!
- Get on the highway and just drive. You’ll likely run into something interesting, whether it’s a cool antique shop or a conservation area with a breathtaking view.
- Plan a day trip to a destination a few hours outside of town. Pick a certain attraction, restaurant, park, winery or anything that interests you and GO!
- Make a restaurant or bar list to tackle during the summer and check off one place each week.
- Ask your friends and coworkers! Long time residents of your city (or even newcomers) can give you a different perspective when it comes to where to go and what to do.
Go Back to Your Roots
Remember that fun activity you looked forward to every summer as a kid? Recreate it! You’d be surprised to know that indoor picnics and pillow forts are just as fun at 25 as they were at 7. Loved a neighborhood game of dodgeball or hide-and-seek? Just add alcohol and you’ve got yourself an adult sport! 😉 Experiencing your summer doesn’t need an elaborate plan, though sometimes it does involve some creativity pulled from your childhood.
Don’t Compare your Adventures
I’ve come to realize there are always going to be people who are doing it BIGGER and better than you – and that includes summer adventures, too. You go to Florida… your friend goes to Paris. You find the perfect Instagrammable ice cream cone, your cousin goes to New York and posts a picture of the most photo-worthy milkshake from Black Tap. Listen: Do. Not. Compare. Yourself. To. Others. Say it with me. Your adventure is YOUR adventure.
This is something I have to remind myself of all the time. It’s so important to enjoy the life you have, and that includes blocking out the things that make your own accomplishments and adventures seem subpar. If you’re having fun, that should be enough. Kay? Kay.
I hope that our summer bucket list and random assortment of summer activities inspires you to experience your summer in a way that you’ve long forgotten since childhood. We can’t bring those times back, but we can change our perspective to honor them. We can acknowledge how amazing summers used to be when the question “what do you want to be when you grow up?” resulted in answers such as “ballerina” and “astronaut” instead of Accountant or Project Manager. Do me a favor, all you ballerinas and astronauts, enjoy your summer through new eyes and a renewed sense of adventure.