Summer: A State of Mind
It’s mid-July already and I have no plans to go away for any sort of vacation. In fact, I have no plans to consciously go out and play on a staycation either. In part, my time and energy are not available for any sort of “’cation,” given a long-term project I am involved in. In part also because I am working to settle some family matters that need day-to-day attention for the short term. But mainly, I have decided to just have fun and act like I am on vacation!
You see, I figure summer is really a state of mind, regardless of weather and time off. I live in Bakersfield, California, so summer means heat, temperatures typically hovering around 100 degrees or higher. But those numbers stick around through September. When I think about “summer,” various connotations come to mind. Summer means rest and relaxation, extended time with family and friends, carefree days, long often cool nights, spontaneous play, and lots of good food.
When I really think about summer, I realize it does not matter so much if summer is simply one day off a week, a three-day weekend or an actual week or two off from work. It is what you do with the time you have that makes it feel like summer. It is the attitude brought to the activities!
So, with the few weeks left until fall semester starts, I am trying to use my time and attitude well—and enjoy my summer. With my virtual vacation, I do not get bad sunburns, sand in my shoes or shorts, or itchy mosquito bites. I do not waste time standing in long lines and fighting crowds. I do not spend more money than budgeted because something unexpected comes up on the road. I am not exhausted getting back from my vacation but needing to get back to work anyway.
This year, I am enjoying my summer by doing the following:
Enjoying some wine or a cold beer or a margarita with friends, as we talk into the wee hours—it is just that we are on the phone not face-to-face. Long conversations with old friends are always a treat!
Sitting outdoors at night to watch the night stars and hearing the brook babbling through my apartment complex and the croaking frogs that have taken up residence there. There are no lightning bugs in California (except in a ride at Disneyland), but they are nice evenings nonetheless.
Enjoying the sweet luscious ripe delicious fruits of the season, such as watermelon, peaches, strawberries and black berries. The avocadoes are good too, and the tomatoes. Yummy. I am making salsas and fruit salads and loving every bite.
I am not getting out to movies or ball games or visiting gardens or national parks, but I am re-visiting past activities end enjoying them all over again via some of my photos. The Arboretum is close by but Valley of Fire State Park and Monument Valley are great places too!
In the evenings I am staying up to watch movies and read fun escapist novels. I just saw Casablanca again! I have some of my other favorites to re-watch lined up and ready to go as the mood strikes: Victor/Victoria, A Knight’s Tale, Fried Green Tomatoes as well The Fugitive and Die Hard. I will rent some that I have not seen over and over again too! And lately, I’ve re-discovered Janet Evanovich’s fun novels about Stephanie Plum, the unlikely bounty hunter living in Trenton, NJ. Of course, these indulgences are possible any time of year, but they are more typical for me during summer’s down time, so they feel like summer vacation fare whenever I do indulge.
Sleeping in is always a treat, not just a summer extravagance. But in the summer, after long nights up till the wee hours of the morning, sleeping in is so much better. Given this summer I have Fridays off for the most part, I am able to stay up late and enjoy the morning with no alarm clock. And naps! Naps are always a treat, especially on lazy summer afternoons.
The flowers of summer are great too. Lingering wild flowers as well as roses, sunflowers, and daisies are evident around my complex and throughout the city whenever I do head out to work or play. Bringing the flowers indoors is just an added bonus.
Finally, I plan to treat myself to a souvenir. I typically like to buy jewelry, maybe something in turquoise or onyx—some natural stone. I do not have to be out and about to do that!
Okay, I know that this list does not sound like a thrilling summer. But I can either relish these little activities or I can complain I am not getting a summer vacation this year. I choose the former. And I am hoping and planning that next year at this time, I can be taking an actual trip. But I bet I will enjoy these activities then too.
So what are the everyday summer activities that remind you of the fun and spontaneity of the season?
What are you doing to make the most of the rest of summer?