Warm breezes, hot pavement at night, long days. It’s almost summer. Time with friends makes it feel like it was always summer (and winter was a million years ago). This is the best time of year to do things together. Fine, yes. But it’s also time to turn inwards and reset. Spending time alone, in quiet, in solitude, is pure magic that can calm your mind. Let it.
1. Drink tea and watch a summer storm roll in.
On your porch, in the late afternoon. Feel the pressure shift as the barometer rises and the cool air from a thousand feet above suddenly drops and rushes downward. Breathe in and smell the wonderful damp earth. Watch lightning strike. Hear the thunder. Don’t say anything.
2. Read your favorite book. Again.
It’s your favorite book. You know how it ends. You fell in love with the characters. You are the characters. But every time you visit it—the dog-eared pages, the dusty smell of the book jacket, the underlined quotes—it’s different. You can read it again and no one can tell you not to. You learn something new each time. And you can do that fan-freaking-tastic thing where your eyes drift off the page and you go off into your head for minutes at a time. So good.
3. Take a walk downtown and regard the sidewalk.
Head downtown for lunch, only this time? Put some headphones on, leave the uber and lyft apps off and go for a stroll. Take it in, notice the weird nuances of the street signs. The strange character of the buildings you miss when you drive. Take. Your. Time.
4. Sit alone in a cafe and stare out the window.
People watching at its finest behind the safety of a panel of glass. Notice how people move when they think no one is watching. When they assume everyone is.
5. Play the guitar and be terrible at it.
Because it feels good to learn your favorite Bowie song. Play until your fingers hurt and mess up again and again. Sing out loud. Badly.
6. Make something. By hand. Just for yourself.
A hand-bound book or a watercolor painting. Just to work with your own two hands. Go out and take pictures of your dog in a park. Build a birdhouse on a random Saturday when everyone is out of town. Cook brunch.
7. Listen to your guiltiest pleasure playlist. LOUD.
Your favorite 90’s jams, loud angsty teenage music, whatever you’d hide on your playlist. Turn it up and sign along.
8. Try on your fancy clothes and go absolutely nowhere.
That dress. You know the one. Try it on again and admire it.
9. Throw out your old things.
Into a big, big bag. Take them to the thrift store and drop them. If you haven’t worn it in a year, put it in a pile and toss it. Clear space. Reorganize and empty an entire drawer. Breathe in.
10. Throw out his old things.
Just do it. You don’t need that energy in your space.
11. Press wildflowers.
Press the flowers neatly between paper towels and inside the pages of a big, old book. Stack the book under a table and leave it for a few weeks. When ready (and completely dry) you can use Elmer’s glue (it dries clear) to arrange the flowers onto paper.
12. Sit alone in silence.
First thing in the morning or on a lazy afternoon. Pay attention: do you normally surround yourself with tons of white noise like the television or radio? Are you filling the background to distract your mind? What happens inside of those quiet moments?
13. Read your old journals.
See how far you’ve come. Do you recognize the person you were 10 years ago? Are you proud of who you are now?
Every day. Because it feels good. Send a letter to your friend. Write a letter to yourself in the future. Start a blog. Share what you’ve learned (even if you feel like you’re simply not an expert). You know more than someone in something. Share it. Write it.
Get to know yourself this summer. And when you do? Enjoy it.