Here Comes Summer
MAY 28, 2008Susan Scholl, HappyNews ColumnistIt has finally arrived —the season we love— summer. We often think of summertime as the time of year to wind down our work activities to a lesser level and relax a bit. Let’s make this the greatest summer ever.Have you ever had the thought about summer being the season you will do something really special and then before you know it, Labor Day has arrived and you haven’t followed through with it? I think we all have, so how about taking the time now to make some solid plans before time slips away to fall. Get them on your calendar sooner rather than later.Summer brings something exciting for everyone including those who are single and those who have families. I’ll just bet that if you take a half day and brainstorm over one thing you would really like to do this summer, you will come up with something great. Whether it might be a trip elsewhere in the world or in your own backyard, let your ideas flows until the right one pops up. Then immediately make some plans and get it on your calendar.I remember as a child I loved to attend various types of events such as a Vacation Bible School or a day camp focusing on one of my favorite hobbies or sports. As a child, they were so fun. Now that I’m an adult, I realized I can still participate by bringing my grandson or a neighbor child to these events and be present as a helper. It’s like having that kind of fun all over again as I watch the children play.How about those books you have been meaning to read? What a great time to sit outdoors or on your patio in a comfy chair reading that book after you have finally dusted it off and opened the cover. I had a great time last summer finally starting the Harry Potter series and will be finishing them this year. Pick a book you will really enjoy—something with fantasy, romance, mystery or whatever your heart desires. Take a venture to the library or book store and just browse and see what jumps out at you.Do you have some parks that offer free concerts during the evenings? How fun it is to pack up a picnic, take a blanket and just enjoy the warm evening filled with magical music. If you check with your local newspapers or on-line websites, you might be surprised at all the activities available to you in your region.While children are happy to have the summer away from school, adults can enjoy summer classes offered through local adult education facilities and college campuses. What a perfect time to learn about that topic you always wondered about or to start a new hobby and gain some helpful tips through adult education.Due to the current high cost of gas, many people this year are considering “staycations”, which are vacations at home or near home at local resorts, bed and breakfasts, or hotels. When is the last time you visited the zoo or museums in your area? Since the exhibits often rotate, perhaps there is a new exhibit in your vicinity. What a great idea for the family or even a quiet outing by yourself. Have you toured the city or town where you live? Living in the Washington D.C. area, I often find that the only time I really see the tourist sites is when guests are visiting. And yet when I go out with them, I have a great time and see lots of interesting things. Then I realized I don’t have to wait until I have company. Those attractions are always there waiting for me to visit, even if I choose to go by myself. The joy of that is going at your own pace without dealing with any one else’s agenda.
Summer is a great time for community service. One idea would be to visit the elderly. They are often lonely and have no family in the area. You could even “adopt” a Mom or Dad in one of the local retirement centers or have your children “adopt” them as a grandparent. For someone who is living in a retirement home with no family in the area, it could be one of the biggest blessings they could receive. The elderly don’t have to be lonely. We can do something about that. A phone call to a local retirement home might be in order.This is a wonderful time to reconnect with family and friends. In our holiday cards at the end of the year, we have a tendency to say “let’s keep in touch or let’s get together soon.” And then what happens? We are not in touch again until the next holiday season. This time, make it different. Use this summer to reconnect. Pick up the phone, make some plans. If you live far apart, perhaps you can consider meeting somewhere half way. Pick a place that would offer some recreation and fun as well as a wonderful reunion.Have you been thinking about having a family reunion? How about picking this summer to do it? Think of those relatives you haven’t seen for years and how fun it would be to get the family together. Who knows….a few family riffs might even be mended. How well do you know your neighbors? Is this a good time for a good old-fashioned block party? Send out the invitations or deliver them in person. Everyone can share in the food and games and perhaps you will finally get to know those people who have lived down the street for years.How is your fitness program going? What a great time to get outdoors and bike, walk, play tennis, golf, whatever strikes your fancy and will help you get fit at the same time. Since summer is the time for fresh fruits and vegetables and those wonderful farmer’s markets, it’s a great time to change unhealthy eating habits into healthy ones.Have you ever been to your state capital? If not, pack up the kids and overnight supplies if necessary and take a trip to learn more about your state. We sometimes think about going to the nation’s capital and forget our own. You can learn and teach your kids a lot about your state’s history and get other ideas of where to travel within your own state. The library and Chamber of Commerce are good resource tools for this kind of expedition. While on the road, stop at a rest stop and pick up a series of brochures describing other area attractions.Whatever you do this summer, make it a memorable one for you and your family. Have fun, relax and enjoy the season!Susan Scholl is a Certified Professional Life Coach. You can read more about her at www.susanscholl.com