I think it’s a travesty that we don’t get summers off as adults. Who needs the break more than us, I ask you? I get grumpy in the summer when all I want to do is go to the beach but my endless list prevents it.
Remember what summer was like as a child? All those marvelous days stretching ahead of you with absolutely no responsibilities, and the only “to do” was have fun! Let’s try to incorporate some of that feeling into our lives this summer. Whether it's for an hour, a day, a weekend, or even a glorious week, craft a plan to release yourself from the tyranny of adulting. Do absolutely nothing or go have some totally frivolous fun.
Play hooky from work, play hooky from home, take everything on your list and give it to someone else—or procrastinate like a student facing exams. It will all be there when you get back. Turn off the phone, turn off the computer; be as unreachable as if you were in one of those over-the-water thatched bungalows in Bora Bora. (Better yet, actually go to one of those over-the-water thatched bungalows in Bora Bora, lol!)
What do you miss most about childhood summer days? Lying around? Reading all day with no interruptions? Napping? Going to the movies? Going to the beach? Getting ice cream? Do whatever your heart yearns for.
Think of the activities you did that made you feel free and full of promise and possibility. Or, think of what you wished to do but never got to. Go rollerskating or bike riding or swimming or camping. Set up a Slip’n’Slide! Go to a playground, swing on the swings, and eat Popsicles. Get some art supplies and do some wild and crazy finger painting, play with clay, or create Jackson Pollock-style splatter art. See if you can round up some friends to play kick the can or sand volleyball. Meet up in a park and have a picnic. Have a picnic all by yourself! Rent a boat, kayak, canoe, or paddle board and get out on the water.
Maybe you miss sleep-away camp. Two summers ago, as I was planning my son's summer, I found myself feeling jealous. “I want to go to camp,” I thought. “I want to make art and swim and hang out with other girls and have campfires!” I posted that thought on my Facebook page—and amazing life coach Carla Robertson replied, “I could make that happen for you!” She actually created a weekend “camp” with several other women at a group of little cottages in St. Francisville, Louisiana. We made crafts, hiked in the woods to some beautiful waterfalls, and relaxed. We also enjoyed marvelous individual coaching and treated ourselves to Prosecco with sorbet, which was a nice grown-up twist! Maybe you can create something like this for yourself and a few friends.
Last year, I Googled “art camp for women” and discovered Lucky Star (which is held in early November but since it’s in Texas it still feels like summer)! I immediately signed up, and it was the quintessential camp experience—only way, way better (gourmet food and you could bring your own adult beverage!). Held at a gorgeous historic girls’ camp on the Guadeloupe River, it was incredible from start to finish. I will go into more detail in a future post about the healing power of making art, but I immersed myself in art classes, yoga, horseback riding, sitting by the river, and late-night campfires with singalongs—and I got to share it with about 100 new friends. It was magical, and I highly recommend it! (Lucky Star is in Hunt, Texas, in the hill country; 2017 dates are November 1-5: www.luckystarartcamp.com.)
Whatever you did in your childhood summers that made you happiest (or whatever you wanted to but couldn’t!), try to do it or something similar now. At the very least (and perhaps this would do the very most good), spend an afternoon lying on the grass in your backyard with some lemonade and good music, watching the clouds and listening to the birds. Enjoy doing nothing; imagine that you have absolutely no responsibilities and the entire glorious summer lies ahead, full of promise. Repeat as often as possible, and I bet you start to feel like a kid again!