1. Stop worrying about that “perfect summer body.”
You want a bikini body? Babe, it’s simple. But a bikini on your body. Or a one piece. Or a giant T-shirt. Or hell, go straight up skinny dipping. I know this is easier said than done, but each time we jump out of comfort zones just a bit, we push ourselves to expand our own perceptions of the world, others, and often, ourselves. Summer is a bit of a shit show when body shame is at an all-time high. And. It. Sucks. You can’t go anywhere without a magazine headline blatantly screaming “TIPS TO GET THAT PERFECT SUMMER BOD” and it’s kind of the worst. And why a “summer” body? Do you lose corporeal form when winter hits and go all Patrick Swayze a la Ghost? December rolls around and it’s like, uh-oh, I guess I’m an ethereal spirit again. Here’s to summer when my actual body comes back! Ridiculous. Own that body of yours! It’s the only one you’ve got.
2. Call up the friend you’ve been flaking on.
We are all occasionally flakes. It happens. Some of us are flakier than others. This is my confessional — even though I’m allergic to gluten, I’m a goddamn buttery croissant. I could blame my introverted nature or the fact that being alone in my bed is just so appealing, but I gotta own it and say: “My name is Ari Eastman and I’m a flake. I’m sorry.” Comedian John Mulaney has a bit where he says, “In terms of like, instant relief, canceling plans is like heroin.” And it’s so true. BUT you gotta push past it. Contact that friend. Make those plans. And when that little voice pops up that devilishly whispers: “Caaaancellll. You won’t have to put on paaaaants.” Tell it to kindly shut up. Put on pants. And go hang out with your friend. Because relationships are two-way streets. And you don’t want to realize summer is over and you barely saw the people you really love.
3. Host a nostalgia movie marathon.
Popcorn, Red Vines, and for the extra classy, wine in coffee mugs because the glasses are too far to reach in the cabinet. Invite the people you actually enjoy being around and dive into a serious trip down memory lane. Mary-Kate and Ashley VHS tapes or BUST.
4. Face one of your smaller fears.
I’m not suggesting you go head-to-head with your number one phobia because like, that doesn’t sound fun. And maybe something you want to consult a therapist about first? But damn right you can tackle one of the smaller ones. Clowns creep you out a little bit? I don’t know, go find a clown and grab a drink together. Learn about their childhood. Why are they a clown? Have they ever been in love? Eh, okay, maybe just leave clowns alone. But each time we do something that scares us the necessary amount, it’s a good reminder that life is here for living. Looking for ways to not let the small stuff hold us back is hugely important.
5. Pleasure yourself.
Take this however you want. Treat yo self. Maybe that means frozen yogurt. Maybe that means locking your bedroom door. YOU DECIDE.
6. Unplug for an entire day.
Put your phone away and actually leave it. Listen, you might feel itchy at first, but I believe you can do it. STEP AWAY FROM SOCIAL MEDIA. Honestly, some of my favorite summer days are those when I accidentally left my phone and just had to be totally present. Go for a walk! Go people watch at a local coffee shop. Write in a journal. Just whatever you do, put the internet on hold for 24 hours. It feels really refreshing.
7. Listen to the perfect playlist.
8. Apologize to someone you really hurt.
While sometimes it is too late to fix things, it’s never too late to try. Summer is all about being sweaty, having fun, and making a few mistakes. So why not add clearing your conscience to the list? Take a deep breathe and reach out. It does the soul some good.
9. On the flip side, forgive someone.
Holding onto a grudge, even if it’s an understandable one, can create a very toxic situation. The art of forgiveness is a tough one. I think the biggest misconception people have is that forgiving someone automatically means you forget. And obviously, that’s just not true. But reaching a place of moving forward, accepting an apology, and not letting it fester inside you is an incredibly liberating and freeing feeling. 2015 Summer, the summer you forgave that person who (almost) destroyed you. Seriously. Give it a shot. It helps.
10. Go to an open mic.
Poetry, comedy, music — open mics are awesome pockets of creativity and community. The best part? You could go up and vent to a group of strangers about your day for 2-3 minutes if you felt like it. Open mic. Open. Choice is yours.
11. Have a big ol’ classic barbecue.
Invite your buds, family, people you haven’t seen in a while. Maybe even throw your neighbors an invite, so long as they aren’t the annoying ones who complain EVERY DAMN TIME your dog barks. And if you don’t have a grill, bribe a friend who does. Someone will have one. I guarantee it. Let’s be real, barbecues are the perfect excuse to drink and gorge on summery foods with people you adore.
12. Construct a list of things you want to accomplish this fall.
It’s always nice to have things to look forward to. Especially if you are feeling a little sad at the thought of summer coming to a close. Don’t let that Lana Del Rey Summertime Sadness get you down, enjoy the present but also think of all you have coming. Life is best when we’ve got a nice combo of planning and spontaneity.