The end of spring brings abundant activities into our lives. From graduations to weddings to end-of-year school parties, there are a myriad of events to occupy our time and fill our calendars. We long for the careless summer days when alarms don’t have to be set and lunches don’t have to be packed. Then, before we even realize it, it’s nearing the start of fall, and we find ourselves scrambling for ideas to make this summer amazing while it’s still here. Allow me to share with you five ways to enjoy summer before it’s over.
1. Organize a weekly outing with your children. Sit down with your calendar and find a day each week to take your kids to do something fun. There are ample places to go—including lots of great, free options! A water park or splash pad will soak your kiddos. Call a local news station and ask about tours. Go to a fun restaurant where your food is cooked on a hot grill by fancy Hibachi chefs or simply order some combo meals at Chick-fil-A. Join a summer reading program at your local library or check if your local bookstores do storytime. Visit your neighborhood park and set up an outdoor picnic. No matter what you do, all options are enjoyable because they were intentional.
2. Take that day trip. You know you want to visit IKEA, spend the day at the beach or the lake, or even visit the Pioneer Woman’s restaurant in Oklahoma. So, plan it! Look at your calendar to find the date, coordinate with your friends if you want to make this a girls’ trip, and get a sitter for your precious children. Yes, they will be fine.
3. Steal moments of rest. Have you learned the art of the 15-minute nap yet? Because it is a game changer. A good night’s rest is essential, but naps can give you a jump start on the final part of your day. Set a timer for 20 minutes and have an interview with your eyelids. Thank me later.
4. Invite friends over for dinner. You see that friend in the grocery store or at church and say, “Let’s have dinner soon,” but you don’t. In fact, so much time goes by that you don’t even think the effort is worth it. I promise you, it is. So, before this day is over, reach out to those friends or even those neighbors you’ve been meaning to meet and invite them to your home to share a meal. You’ll be so glad you did.
5. Recharge regularly. What depletes me might recharge you. And what you consider an investment in yourself could potentially leave me crying in a corner in a fetal position. So, do what recharges you, and I’ll do the same. Find that thing that allows you breathe deeply and do it. Recharging can be done in moments, days, or a week at a time in the form of a vacation. Soak in some sun for a good dose of vitamin D, dive into a book in your favorite chair, or imagine the future and the hopes and dreams you have for it as you stare off in the distance.
Maybe you need ideas, or maybe you don’t. What you might be lacking is the discipline to do any or all of the ideas listed above. If you find yourself with less discipline in the areas in which you need it, you’re in good company. Most of us know what to do; it’s just that our want to, well, doesn’t want to. But isn’t it often true that when we take the step and do that thing that we don’t think we want to do, we are usually glad that we did it? (Hello, working out at the gym.) As Lysa Terkeurst says, “Feelings are meant to be indicators, not dictators.” So, don’t let your feelings boss you. Be the boss of them and make something happen.
Friend, today I want to challenge you lovingly to make the most of your days. You should enjoy summer before it’s over. Do the things that otherwise would make you feel regret in the fall if you had neglected to do them in the summer. But beyond the summer months, make the most of your days every day. You don’t have to have larger-than-life experiences or events to enjoy life. Look for the marvelous and magical in the midst of the mundane and monotonous. Because it’s there. I’m praying you have eyes to see it.