Did you get the most out of summer?

For those of you with kids, summer can be a crazy time. The are very few routines and the kids are off doing some activity or another while you continue working. Or perhaps you had some time off and managed to get away or had a supposedly relaxing stay-cation.

The big question, however, is: Did you have fun? Did the kids have fun?

We don’t have kids, but my holidays are always in August each year, so while I don’t have others relying on me to plan and deliver on fun times, I always reach September and ask myself whether I took advantage of the time off I had, or whether I could have gotten more out of the time away from work.

In July before finishing work, I came up with a list of possible things to do in August. With thirty-one days to fill, I wanted to have something to do every single day if we felt like it. Of course, we allowed ourselves to say “no way, not today!” and spend the day in bed, by the pool or reading a book in a nice patch of sun, but what I didn’t want to happen was what has happened all too often when we both have time off together.

Husband: What do you want to do today?

Me: I don’t know. How about you?

Husband: No idea.

(We both go back to our smartphones and surf around social media.)

Me (an hour later): So what are we going to do?

Husband (looking at the time): We have to go grocery shopping and then there’s that pile of laundry over there…

And nothing fun happens. It’s just another day.

So, to avoid this issue, I came up with thirty-five different things we could do. Some were one-off events, others were repeatable depending on how much we liked them, the weather, and who we were with.

We knew who would be visiting us when and who might invite us out on day-trips or weekends.

I thrilled to tell you that it was a total success. We’ve never had a better summer and it was a sort of stay-cation. Normally we go away on some big trip where we exhaust ourselves squeezing fun and sun out of every second, but this year we divided our time between our two apartments. We went to the beach, took bike rides, put on the rollerblades that have been collecting dust for the past ten years, and visited little towns that we’ve been talking about for ages about seeing. We also made time for friends, including those we rarely get to see except when everyone has time off.

Most importantly, we relaxed with intention. That is, we made the conscious decision to do nothing some days. Rather than falling into a lazy day by accident and feeling like we were missing out on the summer.

And now, I’m ready to go back to work and routines refueled and refreshed.

How about you? What sort of summer have you had?

2 Comments for “Did you get the most out of summer?”

  1. posted by Adam @ Minafi on

    I like the relax with intention side. We tend to wake up many weekends with the same “what now” attitude. The weeks that were packed with activities allow for an intentional refresh. Planning that ahead of time is a good idea.

  2. posted by AinOakPark on

    As a stay at home mother, in my younger years we had a summer activity chain. I’d brainstorm with the kids (who had a limited idea of what they wanted to do), then do a bit of thinking and research on my own, and get a list. As you said, some of those things would be repeats. We always went to the beach on Thursdays (so that was a given and not on the chain), with any friends who were available, meeting at a specific spot. Another was a swim at the community pool (for anywhere from a half hour to a full afternoon). One time things included local play parks (in the AM before it got too hot), local historical sites, museums (art, science, natural history), a day at an amusement park, park concerts, picnics with friends, cookie baking, berry picking, the zoo, etc. I made strips of paper with those items written on them, which we then made into a colorful paper chain. At the end of one week, each of my two children would be able to break off one link. We would do those two things (plus the beach on Thursday) the following week. Then we’d break off at least one more (one at a time) to see what else we’d do. It kept things fresh and generated anticipation. Of course, if new opportunities came up, we’d add those to the mix as appropriate, so that sort of thing would make day four or five. We did a lot of different things and had a great time! My one rule for museums (which we started attending at an early age) was that, no matter how long it took us to get there (and back), we had to leave the museum before any child started whining. That meant that they’d enjoy going each time because they hadn’t been overwhelmed/tired/whatever on a previous trip.

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