I have been excited to finalize and post this list for so long and now it’s finally time: my SUMMER BUCKET LIST!
My seasonal bucket lists are a little different than the traditional bucket lists. They’re more like goal or to-do lists. But that’s nowhere near as catchy as bucket list, so I’m keeping it. Because I can.
Also, I like to make my bucket lists meaningful and put some thought into them. I try to choose more personal things that I really want to do and will help me make the most of the season in front of me, rather than just a bunch of random summery things that I don’t actually want to do. So this won’t seem as adventurous as your traditional “bucket list”, but I find it more motivational this way.
What comes to your mind when you think of summer? For many people, the season conjures up memories of youth, innocence, and the freedom and liveliness of summer break. For others, summer is buzzing with activity: with markets, festivals, concerts, sporting events, BBQs, camping trips, and vacations popping up everywhere, you can’t go 20 steps from your front door these days without bumping into something fun to do.
For me, summer is both of these things but also something more: it is simplicity. Summer enables a simple lifestyle more than any other season. With more daylight, friendlier temperatures and less erratic weather, we can shed layers and spend more time outside, in nature and with our favorite people. We play more, we exercise more, we laugh more, we experience more.
My summer bucket list aims to take advantage of this season of simple and get down to the roots of life – both figuratively and, as you’ll see, literally as well.
Do a month-long social media and blogging detox
July, here I come! 31 days of no Facebook, no Instagram – and no blogging.
I’ve been wrestling with whether or not to include blogging in this. I truly enjoy blogging and I don’t want to give it up for the month. But I feel like if I’m going to do a social media detox and actually get something out of it, I need to be all in. Go big or go home. Going without any of this stuff for a whole month sounds kind of scary, but that just means it will be worth it.
I will really miss you guys, though! But fear not. I will be back!
Raise a garden
For the obvious reason of enjoying some fresher and cheaper food, but also because it’s another way to connect with Mother Earth and cultivate mindfulness of nature.
We have a couple plots in our community garden (one 4×8 and one 4×4), and we finally went out and bought plants from a local vendor for the produce we want to grow. Holy moly you guys, it is a crap ton of veggies. If things go well we will have a veritable farm on our hands come August.
Speaking of which, several of my bucket list items fall under the heading of wanting to spend more time in nature and since that really doesn’t need much explanation, I’m just going to put them into this nice handy “nature” subcategory:
- Go on a camping trip (or 2!)
- Kayak the on the Milwaukee River
- More “ikings” (hiking and biking)
Pay off one of my student loans
Before your jaw drops any further, I don’t mean I’m suddenly going to drop multiple thousands of dollars here. The loans I have through each company are actually each made up of a few little loans. I was logged into one of my student loan online accounts recently, and out of curiosity I decided to take a break from my usual grumblings about forking over so much money to continue my debt servitude, and actually take note of how much those little amounts are.
I was stunned to see that there are several that I could actually pay off right now, if I really wanted to. It would decimate my checking account for the time being, but I could do it. At that moment I had this epiphany that I could really start to take my financial life more seriously and stand up to debt. If I actually put my mind to it for once, I could be proactive about pushing out of financial slavery instead of just blindly submitting to it. No, I can’t do that all in one summer, but I could do it a lot quicker than I realize if I really try. So this summer, I want to take that first step in regaining some of the power in my ongoing relationship with debt.
Soak up a good thunderstorm
Whether I accomplish this one is really up to Mother Nature, not me, but I am just craving a good ol’ Midwestern summer thunderstorm: the charged energy in the air, the startling cracks of thunder and lightning, the hot fresh rain, listening to it all in the dark of night…I need that in my life.
Complete my tidy marathon
Cleaning out my workout wardrobe is done, and that was a big first step, but the rest of my clutter is looming. I’m hoping that by the dawn of fall, when it’s time to start nesting again, I will have successfully completed my clutter purge across every category of my belongings (clothing, books, papers, miscellany (knick knacks, household and office supplies, etc), and mementos).
Practice yoga once per week
As I mentioned before, I’ve started practicing yoga at a local studio. Nothing major, just a class once a week. I have to confess that while I like yoga, I’m not in love with it. I feel good after class but not totally transformed or anything like that. There are certainly times when I’m not that motivated to go.
But I want to keep practicing. I think yoga is good for me even though it hasn’t been love at first asana. While no class has been a life-altering experience, I do enjoy the sort of “haven” that class provides and appreciate the hour-long opportunity to get out of my own head and push the pause button on life. I do feel a little more chill after class than before, and it always forces me to think about how I spend my precious time and how I can be cultivating more mindfulness and eliminating some mental/activity clutter from my days. I’m not an advocate of forcing yourself to do things just to do them but, barring some illness or crisis, I think this is one of those things that is worth dragging my butt to on the days I “just don’t feel like it.”
Embrace summer eating
This is one of those “I guess it’s just me” things, but I’ve never been a huge fan of summer food. I know everyone just raves about it, but I find it a little underwhelming and boring.
But with our garden, the farmer’s market coming up, and the fact that I really need to get better about grocery shopping and eating well, this is as good a time as any to embrace seasonal offerings and take more of an interest in my diet. Stay tuned to see how it goes…
Is this the most exciting bucket list? No. Honestly, on paper, I’m sure it seems a little bit boring. But I need boring. The items on my list aren’t just there to foster simplicity: they are there to help me carve out space in my life so that I can finally start forcing myself to think about some of my big scary dreams. I need boring for a while so I can clear the way for not boring. While I’m going to be doing a lot of tuning out this summer, I’m also at times going to be doing a lot of thinking. I’m going to be 30 next year and I can’t help but start to take stock of my life and wonder – am I nearing a turning point? What big scary dreams still lurk at the corners of my mind? Should I let them go or should I start seriously thinking about what steps I need to take to get there?