Time to remind yourself what summer is for

Bigley is one of the many thinkers committed to the idea of seasonality. We humans have different energies and priorities at different times of the year. Rather than fight that ebb and flow, why not work with it?

“The opposite of Katherine May’s term wintering [also the topic of her great book, which you can read more about here], a seasonal giving in to all things slow, quiet and dark, summering is about openness, light, adventure. Summering is about living your best life,” Bigley writes.

Celebrating all the things that make life joyful is too important to be left to chance or last-minute weekend plans. That’s why at the start of each summer, Bigley and her family reach for the butcher paper and colored markers and scrawl down their annual “no bummer summer” list.

“Our list usually contains over 50 entries, written in alternating rainbow markers, a sign of the color we hope to infuse in our goal to make summer more than just a season,” she writes. “Our only rule about the list is that it has to be aimed at fun, not productivity. We don’t include work goals. We don’t include anything that might read as productive. The goal for summer is to lessen the pressure to be anything more than we are. The goal of summer is to have fun.”

The only mistake is not doing it at all.

Amen to that. Maybe you want to get out in nature more, really explore your local area, or deepen your commitment to that hobby you always neglect. The contents of your no bummer summer list are limited only by your imagination and your preferences.

You can put anything on it. The only mistake is not doing it at all. Life isn’t just professional achievement and personal improvement, as important as those things are. Life is the spur-of-the-moment trips, silly salsa dance classes, and sunset glasses of wine with friends too. And if you’re devoting all your energy to planning the “serious” stuff and none to planning the fun times, you’re going to look back with regret.

So I’ll close with Bigley’s final call to action, which is extra relevant to Inc.’s hard-charging, achievement-oriented audience: “It’s time to get out and remind yourself of what living feels like. Make your own list. Tape it on your wall. Populate it with things that bring you joy, things you imagine might bring you joy, new things you’ve never attempted … Do it. Write it down. Use your list to inspire summering not just in your actions but in your heart.”