What have you been up to this summer? Have you gone to the beach? Visited a farmer’s market? Gotten through any summer reads? Met new friends? Spent time with old ones? Gone camping? Tried out new recipes on the grill? Attended a baseball game?
To me, it’s not summer until I’ve spent a solid chunk of days outside–whether that’s by the pool, hiking a trail, eating Sunday brunch on the patio or taking an evening stroll. Beaming sun, a green landscape, piercing blue skies and the thick sound of crickets at night are all inextricably linked to the season, and it wouldn’t be summer for me if I didn’t get a chance to spend all my weekends in the great outdoors.
So, let us know: What feels like summer to you? Are you ready for fresh fall weather or loving the heat?
I’ve never been big on New Years resolutions. To me, they’ve always seemed like more of a ritual than a real commitment, promises to ourselves that we enthusiastically discuss with our coworkers the first week of January but can’t remember by the time summer rolls around. Still, it’s easy to be charmed by the spirit of optimism that comes with a fresh beginning, and so, yet again, I’ve made my list of resolutions; only this time, I decided to resolve to do things that I actually like.
Too many times, resolutions bring an extra burden of obligation to already stressed agendas, setting us up for failure before we even set foot in the gym, begin our new diet, or try to throw away our last pack of cigarettes. One of the few certainties of the coming year is that, like all years past, among joy, happiness and contentment, there will be unforeseen setbacks, mistakes and discouragement that will inevitably test our resilience and strength.
Everyday life tends towards a pattern of hectic, stressful repetition — so why not resolve to get back to the simple, doable things we love to do? And maybe in doing the things we love, we’ll finally find the energy to take the hard steps towards tackling the things we don’t.
- Read often & write more
- Cook some of the vegetables I’ve always been curious about in the produce section
- Use the knitting pattern my grandma gave me for Christmas to create a cozy new scarf
- Play with rescue animals at the shelter
- Check out some lives shows without really knowing the band’s music
- Get back into drawing & painting (it’s been since high school!)
- Take advantage of the weather this spring and bike where I need to go
- Become a connoisseur of wine (ie. learn to choose wines based on more than the bottle design)
- Adopt a kitten
What are your resolutions this year?
It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day routine and to come home complaining about everything from impossible clients at work to the stand-still afternoon commute. We all know in the big scheme of things (or even in the smaller scheme of things) that we’re incredibly lucky to have great friends, loving families, hot meals and warm beds. So what better time than Thanksgiving’s month to remember what we normally overlook and actively appreciate all the things that make our lives a pleasure to live? Check out some of the following suggestions for keeping yourself mindful of life’s aspects–big and small–that help you get out of the bed each morning.
- Write down what you’re thankful for. Create a gratitude journal (or help your child create one). For detailed instructions, visit: [http://letslassothemoon.com/2012/11/01/kids-gratitude-journal/]
- Volunteer. Giving back can be a great way to both learn to appreciate your own life’s quality and to help others. To find out where you can volunteer in your area, visit: [http://www.volunteermatch.org/]
- The small things matter. Do something nice, unexpected, kind and special for someone you love. Cook their favorite dinner. Buy them a completely pointless–but awesome–trinket/treat/fancy cheese/cool greeting card. Draw them a picture. Send a cheesy e-card.
- Don’t keep what you don’t use. They say you shouldn’t keep anything in your closet you haven’t worn for a year. Go through your clothes (or anything else) and donate the things you don’t need to those who do. Or have a friend who compliments a garment you only wear once every six months? Consider passing it on to someone who will really appreciate it.
- Give someone a break. Did you know that November is National Family Caregivers Month? If you know of anyone who devotes their life to others, consider giving them a night off. Take care of their responsibilities–or pay someone else to–and treat them to dinner, drinks, a movie, or even just some extra sleep.
- Leave someone a great tip. You never know how much a little extra month–that you likely won’t miss anyway–might make someone’s day.
- Be nice to your coworkers. Complain about your job but know deep down that it’s really not that bad (especially because it’s allowed you to meet some pretty cool people)? Bring breakfast to work. Help someone out with their workload. Ask how someone’s doing and really listen to their response.
- Be nice to yourself. Appreciating your life has a lot to do with showing other people gratitude–but it also has to do with taking care of yourself. Treat yourself to a manicure/pedicure. Go to bed early for a change. Enjoy a glass of wine after work. Meditate…and feel the pressure lifting off your shoulders when you let go of all the things you normally worry about and embrace thoughts of gratitude, peace and joy.
“Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all.” — Stanley Horowitz
Happy weekend, everyone!
While the weather may suggest otherwise, the dog days of summer have come and gone, and many kids have retired their swimsuits for back-to-school clothing. With less than a month until the season officially ends, let’s reflect on everything summer of 2012 had to offer: sweltering heat broke records, the presidential campaigns began to dominate the news, and the Summer Olympics captivated our imaginations.
I know I haven’t made it to the pool as many times as I’d like or read as many page-turners as I’d intended, but all in all, the past few months have been filled with enough warm nights around friends, weekend getaways and family cookouts for the summer to be a success in my book. What about everyone else?
Until September 21st, when fall officially begins, are there any last activities you’d like to fit in? Check out the below summer bucket list for inspiration. Happy (almost) September, everyone!
2012 Summer Bucket List (Raleigh-Durham Edition! Explore comparable activities in your area):
- Judged a book by its cover, checked it out from the library – and ended up loving it?
- Swam the length of the pool in one breath?
- Tried grilling fruit?
- Toured a local brewery? Big Boss Brewery recommended!
- Visited a lake and gone fishing?
- Caught up with a childhood friend and reminisced about summers past?
- Built something from scratch (a set of shelves, cupcakes, a website, or whatever else!)?
- Learned a completely useless fact?
- Checked out the delicious food from a food truck?
- Created your own DIY Salt Scrub – and gifted it to friends?
- Visited a cool museum? NC Museum of Natural Sciences is free!
- Roadtripped to a new location, however mundane?
- Enjoyed live music & beautiful weather at a fun outdoor venue?
- Watched an old movie? Charade is my absolute favorite!
- Spent an entire day just wasting time?