I remember how the last day of school felt. My body was buzzing with excitement and I could barely stay in my desk as the teacher droned on and on. My eyes darted between the clock over her head and the window, as I waited for the final bell of the school year to ring. Then…freedom! Two whole months of bike riding, building tree houses and exploring the woods seemed like an endless paradise. A few years later ;), I know how short summer is and how overscheduled even our kids’ summers are, so if you share my happy summer memories, read on.
Here are a few suggestions to go old school this summer:
1. Turn off the TV! I guarantee you that House of Cards and Game of Thrones will be there waiting for you after the summer. Take advantage of the long, warm days and spend more time outside working in your yard, running around with your kids or spending time with your friends. Maybe join a running or cycling group and work on your social and physical fitness. I bet you can’t recall one significant memory you’ve made on your couch.
2. Play! Unstructured play is an important component of a child’s development and I’d assert that adults need it just as much for stress relief, creativity and happiness. There are certain things you cannot quantify and I’d say some of the most successful businesses in the world agree. If you’re familiar with the corporate campuses of companies like Google and Nike, you know that “play rooms” are in the buildings. These companies know that productivity is enhanced by time away from work. So, get out there and ride your bike, play tag and chase fireflies until your mom makes you come inside.
3. Grow your own garden. It’s not as hard as you might think. In fact, most nurseries offer kits, which include seeds and soil ready to go – just add water. You don’t have to spend days digging in the dirt, but who knows, once you’ve eaten your first fresh-picked tomato or once you sprinkle fresh cilantro from your garden on your fish taco, you might want to do more.
4. Meet your neighbors. Isn’t it ironic that we are more “connected” than ever to the world, but don’t know our next-door neighbor’s name? Spend a little time outside and say hello to the good people around you. If they seemed locked in their air-conditioned boxes, knock on their door with a gift of vegetables from your garden and a hello. (I love the corny stuff J)
5. Leave your phone at home. Technology is a wonderful servant, but a horrible master. Until the robot overlords compel us to serve them, step out of your comfort zone and walk around the block, hike in the woods or have dinner on the patio without your phone by your side. Your social media accounts are not going anywhere and you may find some of the joy and peace you remember from summers past.