“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” (F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby)
As a former teacher, I used to live for summer. I had it planned out as soon as Spring Break ended. The funny thing is even though I’m not a teacher anymore, I still have visions of grandeur for summer greatness. There’s just something about life slowing down, obligations becoming lessened, and leisure seeming more important than work.
Even though I’m no longer bound by the calendar of the school year, nor do I have children who are, I find the newness of summer refreshing. For 3 months, I get time to breathe, recharge, and do many of the fun things that get put on the back burner when the tyranny of the urgent takes over the rest of the year.
Last summer I resided in a smaller town, but this summer I’m getting adjusted to living in a city again. Because I’m a planner, I find comfort in writing down the things that I want to accomplish–a summer bucket list, if you will. I don’t want to waste this season of refreshment by thinking about the ways I want to spend it; I want to actually do something about it.
So just in time for Memorial Day, the gateway to all things divinely summer, I penned my actual summer bucket list. If I accomplish only a portion of these things, I’ll consider the Summer of 2014 to be a success. But #realtalk: If I don’t check even 1 item off my list, it’s still glorious summertime and that’s never a bad thing.
My Summer Bucket List 2014
1. Bring my handwriting back.
My life’s work is behind a computer screen. I can go entire days without using my left hand to write anything. I’ve always liked my penmanship, but I find it getting sloppier and sloppier when I do write–and even then, it’s usually to just fill out a check. But aside from my own handwriting, I rarely mail anything anymore. Most of my notes of encouragement are sent via texts, Facebook, and email. And this summer, I want people to receive handwritten notes from me when I let them know I’m praying for them or thanking them or thinking about them. Viva la snail mail!
2. Read more.
I know, I know, such an original summer bucket list entry. But between work and overall busyness, I’ve practically squeezed out almost all fiction or other leisure reading. Beginning this summer, some friends and I are working our way through Amazon’s 100 Books Everyone Should Read Before They Die. I’m fairly certain I’m going to trudge my way through some of them, but we’re determined, and I know I’m usually grateful when it’s all said and done. It’s an odd way to find one’s summer “refreshing,” isn’t it? I know, I know…
3. Host dinners on my back patio.
I don’t think this entry is a very original a summer bucket list item either, but there’s a reason. I recently moved into a great home with a back patio that just screams for entertaining and good conversation. I’m still working on getting it ready for hosting so if I put it on my list it’s more likely to become a priority. Granted, summer in the Deep South means it’ll be a zillion degrees outside, so I’ll just have to plan events late in the evening and serve lots of cold items to make up for it.
4. Join a summer Bible study at my church.
Small groups take a break at my church during the summertime, but they do offer a variety of topical Bible studies. Since I am new to town, I’m forcing myself to do as much as possible to meet more people. A summer Bible study is great for me spiritually, but it’s also a good way to really connect with more people in the local Body. The reason it’s on my summer bucket list, though? Because if I write it down, I’m more likely to go. It can be exhausting to always be in the role of “The New Girl,” and sometimes I just want to bail.
5. Learn new ways to cook new vegetables.
I’ve been working my way towards eating more cleanly. I signed up for a CSA (community-supported agriculture), and every week I get a box of locally-grown, organic vegetables fresh from the field. I love the concept, but I’m going to have to learn how to cook veggies I’ve never even seen before, like kohlrabi and japanese red mustard greens. Since I don’t want to waste my hard-earned money, challenge accepted.
6. See the beach and the mountains.
Travel doesn’t really need to be on my summer bucket list. It’s a given. These trips are locked down.
What’s on your summer bucket list this year?
Photo credit: visitfinland