From John M. Grohol
While the season of summer still has more than a few weeks to go, the reality of summer is quickly coming to an end. School is starting, parents are out shopping for their kids’ new clothes and school supplies already, and college students are preparing for their annual return to campus.
What’s a person to do with the last few remaining weeks of summer?
Well, I can’t tell you what to do or not to do, but I can offer these five tips for ending your summer well. Whether they work for you or not, you won’t know until you try them. But it’s a good bet that you be disappointed with the results if you only try.
1. Finish what you started.
Sometimes we find ourselves putting off the end of a project because we believe we’ll always have time “later.” Later never comes, of course, so the project never really ends. There’s no better way to feel like you’ve accomplished something this summer — no matter how big or small that something is — by simply finishing it up.
2. Don’t worry, be happy.
Many of us spend a lot of time worrying about things we have little or no control of, making our worry essentially worthless in the cosmic scheme of things. Why expend the energy on needless worry when you could be expending it on some last-minute summertime activities, like going to the pool, the waterpark, getting in one last getaway some place, or even just hanging with your friends. Sometimes the simplest activities can turn out to be the most enjoyable. For many of us, this is the one time of the year we can really enjoy the outdoors. Get at least one last thing in — a ballgame, a trip to the beach, a hike in the mountains, something summery! — before the summer’s over!
3. Prepare now, so you won’t be overwhelmed later.
How many times do we think, “Ah, I can study later” or “Ah, I can start organizing the things I need to head back to campus next week.” Then next week comes and boom! — it’s time to go and you’re nowhere close to being packed. Organize yourself now for the semester or the next few months ahead, and you’ll find yourself less likely to get bogged down in things you could’ve done earlier. You might also find it’s a great way to relieve some of the stress of going back to school — being organized helps a person feel more organized internally, more in-control of their own destiny and life.
4. (Some) friends are forever.
Summertime’s also a great time to take stock of your friendships, since you have more time and aren’t as distracted by work or school. Who haven’t you spoken to in forever? Give them a call and hang out sometime. Who has become dead weight in your life whether neither one of you is getting much from the friendship any more? Time to cut the line on those friends, to make room for some new ones. People do change and grow each year. While we’d like to think our friends are always going to grow with us, that’s simply not a realistic expectation — sometimes we simply grow in different, separate directions.
5. Don’t let it hang or simmer.
Sometimes we do something over the summer months we later regret. Maybe we get into an argument with a best friend, or ignore an invite from a favorite aunt. Maybe we blew off one set of friends to spend more time with another set. Whatever it is you might have done, don’t let it keep simmering after the summer is over. Now’s a great time to make amends — before the hectic pace of fall makes all of our lives more stressful and less forgiving.
Summertime is a great time to relax, recharge and re-organize your resources and life. Not just your outside life, but your inner life as well. Take stock in how things are going, what changes you’d like to make, and set the plan in motion for the fall. Because once September comes, all heck usually breaks loose and time once again becomes a quantity much in demand, but short in supply.
So until then, enjoy the rest of your summer (and I’ll do the same!).