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How Not to Ruin Your Life This Summer

How Not to Ruin Your Life This Summer

Fox Searchlight Pictures/The Way Way Back

It’s summer! That glorious, magical time of year when you only have to read the books you want to, only have to study Calculus if you’re into that, and only have to wear pants should the mood strikes you. But with great pants-lessness comes great responsibility. There are only so many days of lounging you can participate in before it's back-to-school time and your whole summer has amounted to little more than a science experiment exploring what happens when a teenager stares at a computer screen for three months straight. So, I’m here to save you from yourself. Here are three ways NOT to ruin your summer!

1. Set a goal and make some rules.

Sparklers and Manklers are a creative bunch; I know this because several of you have sent me various drawings of bears merged with other predatory animals (AWESOME, by the way). Hidden in the depths of our very own Open Threads, the next Suzanne Collins is waiting to burst forth in to the YA literature scene. You have an idea for a novel, don’t you? Of course you do. And now that you have aaaallll this free time, you’ll totally work on it, right? WRONG. Real-life studies that were not at all conducted by me show that without structure, a writer will choose to play Mario Kart all day long over every other activity. So, make some rules for yourself. For example, a certain writer who will remain unnamed may have the following sign taped to her fridge:

“NO MARIO KART until you write for 2 hours. And then eat some real food. No, three PopTarts and a cookie are not real food. Consume a carrot or something, you gorgeous pants-less wonder, you.”

Setting rules will help you motor through any summer goal, whether that be writing a novel, creating a short film, or honing your dolphin communication skills (all are equally important).

2. Learn something new!

So there was this one time where I spent the entire summer drawing pictures of bears wearing pants and by the time I got back to school my brain was like, “Sorry, can’t do Physics, I’m all filled up with images of argyle trousers on grizzlies.” By learning something new, you can keep your brain from turning into traitorous mush. Sign up for a beginner’s art class, head over to your local Barnes & Noble and pick up a book about origami, or travel to the Dagobah system and search for a Jedi Master to teach you the ways of the force. Just try to do something that you’ve never done before. That way, when you get to school in September, you’ll not only NOT be able to do Physics, but you’ll also have an incredibly useful rudimentary knowledge of paper folding!

3. Do fun things, too!

Balance is essential both when crossing a tightrope over the Andes and when ensuring your summer isn’t a bust. Throwing yourself into your new goals and schedule is great, but if you don’t take a day to run around the local zoo like a toddler on caffeine, then you’re going to get burnt out. Give yourself a few days a week to just do cool things, like seeing a movie or sneaking into a heavily armed military base. You know, fun stuff.

And remember, lazy days are good too! Not every day has to be an epic adventure, unless removing your pants and playing the Wii for 4 hours is an adventure to you (HINT: IT IS). An adolescent summer should be equal parts awesome activities and content relaxation. Just make sure to put your jeans back on before leaving the house.

This post was originally published in 2014

Topics: Life
Tags: guides, writing, summer vacation, writers, funny things, how to, eating healthy, summer break, try to wear pants sometimes, setting goals, being healthy, summer vacation plans

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