Throughout June – the halfway mark of the year, as it were, but I’m just going to try to ignore how fast time is going anymore – I’ve thought back on the resolutions I made at the beginning of the year, as we’re all probably likely to do when summer comes around. I actually made a list for myself; not so much the stock “exercise more, eat healthier” list, but something a little more abstract and, in such a way, infinitely more personal. Writers to read, perspectives to maintain: that sort of thing. I didn’t share it on the blog probably because it is so personal, but I did start it off with one of my favorite, most motivating quotes by E.E. Cummings: “To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.” I’ve reflected on that a lot and I can already tell that I’ve become more confident of my individuality through the year thanks to it, but when I look at everything else in that time capsule, that letter-to-myself of aspirations and goals…it’s a little disheartening. At the same time, I’m not going to let it be disheartening because the bits I put into it are all pieces of myself – even if there are things I haven’t accomplished, goals I haven’t met. Life is, of course, a journey. Instead, I’ve taken to thinking that the ideas of these goals, the visual they give me, that these are all parts of my personality coming out somehow. So rather than dwell on the things not yet achieved, I’m going to do the unthinkable: I’m going to add to it.
A while ago I wrote a little list of ten things that I thought, upon reflection, would make just about anyone a little more enlightened and a little cheerier. When I penned the idea into my editorial calendar I actually called it (and this is a glimpse into how crazy the organizational skills behind this blog truly are), “Ten Ways to Be Happier This Summer”. But then I started to think, My goodness, that’s bold. Who am I to tell people how they can achieve a higher level of happiness? And then I wondered if I’d come up with the list as another letter to myself, as a list of things that would make me happier this summer. And I’m going to do them.
It’s simple, really – and almost everything is free, so there’s that. Here’s the list, in case you might want to know…
- Get organized – This is an ongoing struggle for me, but I’m determined. Making a plan and getting ahead of myself would make summer all the more enjoyable, giving me more time to enjoy conversations and a tiny bit of leisure that’s just so essential to the season.
- Read – A given, considering. I’m thrilled to be working with several authors and a favorite publishing imprint for reviews on Literary Inklings over the next few months, but I also want to make the time to focus on my personal reading list this year. I think one’s personal reading list is vital as it helps our true character to evolve. (On the off chance anyone does want recommendations, though, I’ve got a list of reading suggestions going on at Literary Inklings if anyone might want to take a look – I’m calling it the Summer of Reading series.)
- Find a new favorite dish – I don’t cook much, something I vigorously instructed myself to focus on this year, and this summer will mean finding one new meal (at least) that absolutely thrills me.
- Make little out-of-the-box changes – Decorating in a way I wouldn’t normally consider, wearing something a little bolder. Gradually experimenting with new things are steps outside of your comfort zone. Baby steps, but steps nonetheless.
- Buy myself flowers – I’ve never done such a thing, but this year when I started learning more about the various flowers around our house I realized how much I love them.
- Don’t forget the fragrance – In February I talked about how much I’d like to find my signature scent – part of a keen interest in developing my very own signature style. Well, I did find my signature scent and, as a birthday gift from my grandmother, I’m going to buy myself a bottle of Chanel this season.
- Change my perspective by changing my view – An extension of making out-of-the-box changes; I think the things you see most often during the day – what you look at when you first wake up, the things that catch your eye when you’re loading on your jewelry – they can all affect your outlook, and maybe even your attitude.
- Discover a new interest – With the summer Olympics happening this year I might just try to find a sport that interests me. I mean, I never watch sports. The only one I’m remotely interested in is tennis, and I hardly ever know what’s going on with that anymore. There’s just so much else to do. But finding a new interest is always fun and I think I’m due for something different.
- Teach myself – I’ve always wanted to learn to play the piano – I took lessons when I was an itty bitty, but it didn’t stick. That’s not quite what I’d call a summer task, but maybe trying to extend my virtually nonexistent French, or listening to a lecture, going to a museum. There’s always new knowledge to be gained in the world.
- Meditate – I’m a creature of thought, that’s for certain. I require a lot of reflection and consideration in life, and I want to broaden that to a more meaningful scope. We all think in the shower, while we’re drying our hair, before we fall asleep; deep ponderings on our lives and situations happen in the most bizarre of places. I want to rework that for myself.
If you find yourself making up your own little list of living for the summer, do let me know! (If you don’t want to leave it out publicly you can always drop me a line.) Alternatively, if your internal list for the season includes only the words live well, I think you’ve got yourself in a marvelous place. Enjoy it.