I always naively look forward to summer, thinking it's going to be a magical season in which all I have is free time, that my lack of money somehow isn't a massive hindrance, and that day-drinking is fun, not depressing, and totally worth it. But then summer comes around and I remember that it's actually a uniquely hellish time of year, because not only are none of those things true, but you're forced to pretend they are true so you don't ruin the posi summer vibes for everyone around you. If you're anything like me, any exterior pressure to have fun and enjoy yourself for an entire season gives you the urge to lock yourself in the basement and write an exaggeratedly pissed off article just to spite the world.
But for the sake of having something to say when you're inevitably asked what you did over the summer, I've compiled a list of activities you can do to make it sound like you had a fun, eventful, productive summer. All that matters is that it sounds good on paper! And even that's optional.
Go for a hike. Did you know that "hike" is just another word for "walk"? That means every time you pick yourself up off the couch and walk to the freezer for a coconut bar, you're technically taking a hike. I recommend at least four hikes per day.
Find a gorgeous view. Instead of looking at the view, refresh Twitter over and over waiting for a tweet that will satiate your need for meaning. You know it's never going to happen, but that's what's so beautiful about the whole experience.
Go to the beach. Take your cat (on a leash!) and take a bunch of photos and post them to Instagram and caption it, "Just a normal day!" (The joke is it's actually kind of weird to take your cat to the beach.)
Invite your friends over for a backyard BBQ. Don't have friends? Fill a bucket with nuts and wait for squirrels to come over. Squirrels always have friends.
Go stargazing. It's kind of boring, but that's the point.
Take a swim. And hey, wear whatever you want. Who invented the rule that you have to swim in a bathing suit? Bathing suits are ugly and uncomfortable, at least the affordable ones. Don't fall for it anymore.
FOOD AND DRINK
Try a new food. Figure out what you're supposed to do with sprouts. I just found out sprouts are food, but nobody will tell me how to eat them.
Enjoy the bounty of summer. Buy Trader Joe's entire stock of Popcorn in a Pickle the second it hits shelves and then get sick of it after consuming two bags.
Harvest your garden. Remember that vegetable garden you half-heartedly planted in the spring when you were feeling hormonal? It's not going to taste good, but you need to eat that stuff that's growing. Eat the garden. You have to eat it.
Make a pitcher of mojitos. Mojitos can be made with the following recipe: 1 part alcohol + 1 part soda water + 1 sprig of any leafy green (I like chard) + chunk of any fruit you have on hand (I like old apple).
Take yourself out. Force your boyfriend to drive you at 9 pm on a Saturday to use the $5 Target gift card you've had in your wallet for 13 months.
Protest the hair removal industry. Grow your arm hair out real long and each day ask your boyfriend if he likes your arm hair, preferably when he's in the middle of something that requires his full concentration, and DO NOT take "I guess" for an answer.
Change up your look. Find the hairstyle that flatters your personal assortment of physical inadequacies. Hint: It probably incorporates a hat.
Chill with friends. Set up a time to hang out and stick with it. Maybe noonish at the hospital cafeteria during your mother's hysterectomy?!?
Relax. Remember: The world is a simulation. Eat as many deep-fried Oreos as you want. Take a five-hour nap. There are no consequences to your actions that weren't preprogrammed by the superior life form that probably forgot about us millennia ago.
COMMUNITY AND ART
Learn a new skill. Try basket weaving. Break into the local basket-making scene. Make friends with other basket makers and learn their darkest personal secrets. Tell basket-making community gatekeepers what you've learned, sabotaging your new basket-making friends' chances at success in their basket-making careers. Play it off like you weren't the one who revealed their secrets, even though it's pretty obvious. Maintain these shallow friendships for years, never really knowing why. Reap the rewards.
Take advantage of the endless expanse of time summer offers. Stay up all night bingeing a TV show you sort of hate but can't stop watching because your brother's girlfriend's stepmom's uncle's Netflix account periodically gets shut down and you can't risk not knowing what happens at the end of this god-awful show.
Support an artist. Sign up for one of your favorite artist's Patreons, then get annoyed when they continue to promote their Patreon on their social media accounts, even though you know that a culture of getting mad at artists for trying to make a living off of their art within a capitalist system only benefits already-rich artists and artists who are willing to literally starve for their art, sacrificing all other possible perspectives.
Make something beautiful. Spill paint on the basement floor while looking for some weird, specific battery you already know you don't have. Conceptual art, my friends. This is worth $20,000 if you can de-install your basement floor in one piece somehow.
Participate in a boycott. Since pretty much every product and service is owned by the same five or so diabolical companies, you can boycott anything for pretty much any reason you like. Want to take a stand against the unraveling environmental protections? Stop buying soda. Or jeans. Or watching anything on ABC.
Donate food to a food bank. This isn't supposed to be funny. It's the least you can do. And I say that as someone whose heart sinks when they find out they got charged extra for a side of ranch.
WORK AND PRODUCTIVITY
Be entrepreneurial. Open a ninth Etsy store. This one is surely bound to make you rich. Surely.
Start a podcast. You keep talking about it so why don't you just do it? Then you'll finally see that nobody wants or needs your podcast and you can stop thinking about it.
Expand your network. Finally respond to your landlord-from-eight-years-ago's request to connect with you on LinkedIn. As your grandma who never had a job always said, "You never know what might come from a random connection!"
Make that money. Continue power bottoming the gig economy — the owners of those unfathomably large, impossibly rich companies aren't going to screw you themselves. How would they? It's summer, baby! They're all on their 12th vacation of the year.
GET OUT OF TOWN
•Close your eyes and point to a place on a map.• Get in your car and star driving.
• Tell no one.
• Roll the windows all the way down and turn on your favorite album.
• Remember what freedom feels like.
• Feel genuinely happy for what is possibly the first time all year.
• Stop for gas.
• Go into the gas station and pick out whatever junk food you want.
• Suddenly remember that your coworker has planned a communal public meat-cooking event for today and you were supposed to bring the condiments.
• Turn around and head to the damn communal meat-cooking event.
• Ask yourself if this is what you imagined your life would look like when you were younger.
• Bring only ketchup.♦