I’ve always loved summer, especially when my kiddos were school-aged. The Fun Fridays, endless pool days, library reading challenges, and impromptu meet-ups with cousins to tour potato chip factories or play in the park filled our days with fun and created wonderful memories. Now that I’m a parent of two young adults and a teenager who is driving, the structure of the summer months has morphed into something entirely different and it still feels a little weird to me.
High school and college are finished for the year so the kids are technically enjoying a break, although it doesn’t feel like it. Julia is studying abroad in Italy this month and we only speak to her a few nights a week for a few minutes. When she returns, she’ll be working and probably spending a lot time with her boyfriend. Mark is working full time for a landscaper friend of ours during the day and his evenings are dedicated to his girlfriend or to fishing with his brother. And Aaron, who would love to find a job, prefers fishing or watching Netflix with a certain girl with very long hair and glasses to hanging out with his mom.
I’m being left to my own devices this summer and it’s a bittersweet experience. While I’m sad that the years of corralling and entertaining little people are over, I’m enjoying the experience of watching my children grow into their capable and independent adult selves. I’m also really looking forward to some me time this summer, which brings me, finally, to the reason for this post. It’s time for my annual Summer Mini-Bucket List.
This year I’m taking my inspiration from Tsh Oxenrider of The Simple Show, a podcast I occasionally listen to. The theme for June is Grown-Upping the Summer and Tsh and her co-host Kendra Adachi talk about ways to have a personally enjoyable and productive summer without losing your mind. In the first podcast of the series, Tsh outlines four categories that provide the framework for her low-key summer goals. The categories are: 1) Something to learn, 2) Something to enjoy, 3) Something good for me, and 4) Something to finish. These mesh well with my own summer goal philosophy so I’ve decide to build my mini-bucket list around her framework. (Note: I have added one additional goal: Some way to serve).
After considering these categories and my own expectations and hopes for the summer, I came up with this list:
2018 Summer Mini-Bucket List
- Something to learn: Learn how to play Somewhere Over the Rainbow on the piano. I just bought the sheet music for this lovely arrangement and I’d like to take time to learn it well and maybe even memorize it.
- Something to enjoy: Voracious reading for pleasure. No surprises here, I know, but I have been doing so much hard reading lately for the Challies 2018 Reading Challenge and for work that I need a break. I am only going to read what thrills me this summer. Period.
- Something good for me. Walk 10 miles a week. The goal here is to get outside, indulge in the pleasure of moving my body and reap some health benefits.
- Something to finish. Finish decorating the dining room. Originally I was going to say “Hem the drapes in the dining room”, but that would only be a partial finish because we still need a carpet and wall sconces and a plant and a photograph framed and hung. With this in mind, the actual goal includes putting all the finishing touches on the dining room.
- Some way to serve: Prepare and deliver meals for people in need. I am part of a group at my church that prepares meals and takes them to individuals who have recently had surgery or welcomed a new baby into their family. Because of my work schedule most of the year, I can only infrequently sign up for a meal. This summer, every time an opportunity arises, I am going to sign up and make it work with my schedule.
This is a short list, especially compared to some of my previous summer mini-bucket lists, but it feels just right for this time in my life. It’s eminently doable, totally low stress, and just makes me happy. It also provides plenty of breathing space for all the other serendipitous and wonderful things this summer might have to offer. I think I’ll get started right away with a good book and a beverage on the front porch.
Do you make any goals or bucket lists for the summer? Please share.