The notion of a “summer bucket list” begins with recognizing the reality of impermanence. We’re not here forever. How are we going to use the time we have? While life forces us to make choices about how to spend our time, we still have dreams, desires and wishes. Putting those dreams, desires and wishes in writing can be therapeutic: dreams, desires and wishes can carry burdens of longing and regret, but by writing them down, we breathe life into the possibility that we can actually make them happen. And once you cross off an item, that item is no longer a source of longing.
Summer is a particularly fertile time for bucket lists – both making for dreaming them up and for checking off items on them. The days are longer, our lives tend to slow down, and summer provides outdoor opportunities that colder months cannot. Here are some ideas for your own summer bucket list – many of which have been on my own previous lists, and many of which I am now happy to say are no longer sources of longing or regret because they have been incorporated into my routine.
1. Make homemade lemonade. Add a shot of gin and a splash of seltzer and you’ve got a refreshing summer cocktail – a fresh version of a Tom Collins.
2. Grow mint in a pot (mint does particularly well in containers), and when you’ve got a bunch, make mojitos.
3. Plant a pot of petunias AND resolve to trim off the dead flowers once per week to keep them bushy (as opposed to leggy).
4. Instead of packaged coconut water, try a real “fresh young coconut” – drink the water and scoop out the flesh, or put the water and the flesh in the blender for a perfect, totally fresh, totally natural smoothie.
5. Take a late afternoon nap outside.
6. Bring your yoga mat outside and do your practice outdoors. Be prepared to sweat.
7. Take your dog on a hike.
Read more about keeping your pets cool this summer
8. See Shakespeare outside – my favorite is Midsummer’s Nights Dream because it’s set in a forest, so seeing it outside feels appropriate.
9. Grill a whole fish: with capers, olive oil, garlic and a sliced fennel bulb, or, like this.
10. Make a Korean Barbecue.
11. Buy sidewalk chalk and draw away!
12. Take the same chalk and make a hopscotch. Play!
Read more about healthy activities for kids
13. Try paddleboarding.
14. Organize a nighttime game of flashlight tag.
15. Go camping with a tent – in your backyard if you need to start there.
16. Declare a blow-dryer embargo for the entire summer.
17. Take a one-hour break from the internet every single day.
18. Make a homemade kite.
19. Build a drip-castle – kids not necessary.
Read more about summer foods to beat the heat
So, what’s on your summer bucket list?