Summer is all at once both glorious and terrifying. Glorious because the warm air invites you to adventure, to swim, to play. Terrifying because it feels almost over even as it just begins. I’ve had an eventful summer myself, dear reader, and I thought this would be the perfect time to share with you the seven lessons I’ve learned about both enjoying and getting through summer.
7. Summers are not unlimited.
You get a finite number of real summers – summers where you can watch TV all day, summers where your chief concern is coaxing Chad D. to make out with you in the never-used gym space of your performing arts camp in upstate New York, summers where you are just free to be a friggin’ human. You know? Like to drift, dream and to roam like the grazing animal you are. We spend all year cooped up in our little home boxes breathing in filtered dusty air or chained to our desks or locked behind counters trading our time for money and…is anyone else getting angry, here? WHAT ARE WE DOING? YOU TELL ME. Summer gives you the chance to just be a person. Savor it.
6. The ultimate sign of a good summer is genuinely forgetting what day it is.
5. Do the summer reading.
It will pay off years later when you can casually reference Gene jouncing the limb in A Separate Peace at a (hip) party or when you realize that a solid understanding of The Giver offers you real credibility in certain circles. Doing the reading will also save you from keeping up a lie three summers in a row that you devoured all of the books in the Goosebumps series when in fact you only owned a Goosebumps branded t-shirt and had never read the actual books. Whoa… It really feels good to come clean on that one. Do the reading so you don’t spend your adult life lying about doing the reading.
4. White pants work for some people.
And to those people I say, “La. Di. Da. Must be nice.” For the rest of us, those who have the gut feeling that white pants are not in our destiny, I say: stay strong. There is no pressure to give white pants “another try.” Your inability to wear the pants does not say anything larger about your character. It does not say that you are sloppy or have body image issues. It simply says you are a practical and reasonable person and white pants on you – no matter what – end up stained with coffee the FIRST time you wear them. Even if you are not drinking coffee.
3. If you are backpacking through Spain with your best friend and it is approximately 100 degrees outside and the town you thought was going to be a burgeoning artist enclave is in fact a bus stop, a dirt path and the lighthouse where the Battle of Trafalgar was fought, your new best case scenario is to locate and then inhabit the convenience store that sells “helados” or as we call it – sweet, delicious, cold, life-affirming, ice cream. You are allowed to eat as many “Magnum” ice cream bars as you well please.
2. Going to the beach is never a bad idea.
The same goes for any body of water. Lie by the lake, wade in the surprisingly cold water of The Pacific Ocean, luxuriate in the pool. Making time to simply dip your body in liquid is never a mistake. Unless you just got a bikini wax and the body of water in question is The Dead Sea. You need to avoid that scenario. Also, re: Dead Sea, consider wearing sandals in the water. What they don’t tell you is that the great expanse of white that frames the blue water is not in fact fluffy, perfect sand but is in fact rocky, crystalized salt that is about to mangle your feet. You should probably invest in aqua socks.
1. Let your dad take you to the lake he grew up on for your obligatory family ride down memory lane…
… Even though you are sometimes offended by how boring his stories can be (“Oh really? This is the rock where the old theater camp used to be until it burned down?”). Let him take you on this trip because your dad, for all of his flaws, is a loving and devoted father and he’s trying the best he can and he just wants to share a happy time in his life you and that’s actually really sweet. And you know what? You love your dad. Also, you will have no moral authority to impose this kind of family fun torture on your children if you do not suffer through this now.
Bonus Lesson: Mosquitoes love everyone, not just you.
You are not the first person to be bitten by a bug. I love you and it’s unfortunate you have been bitten, but no, we are not moving the picnic. It was really hard to coordinate all of our schedules and to meet up here, and frankly, I stopped caring about this bite the moment you said, “mosquitoes just LOVVVE ME.” To be clear: Mosquitoes don’t “just love you,” they love all of us. It’s not like there’s something extra special about your blood that makes you so much more attractive to mosquitoes, or like, so much better than me. Au contraire, I am COVERED in mosquito bites – they have gotten through my long, black leggings and I can feel dozens of small mouths on my legs and it’s disgusting and I am on fire with itch – but you! You are not better than me. *Drops the mic, rips off pants, and jumps in body of water – but not The Dead Sea*
Have any summer lessons you want to share? Tweet me — I want to talk to ya. Or tell me in the comments, why don’t you?