by Robyn Batts
“And once you live a good story, you get a taste for a kind of meaning in life, and you can't go back to being normal; you can't go back to meaningless scenes stitched together by the forgettable thread of wasted time.” In his book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, Donald Miller describes the impact of having this type of life. Summer is filled with minutes, hours, and days that you can choose to invest however you like. It’s the perfect time to try something new or keep up with something you love. Why waste this time? Here are some ways to live your story this summer!
1. Pick up a new hobby. What better time than summer to learn and practice a new skill? Choose an instrument to learn. Try your hand at sewing or baking and set aside time regularly to learn and practice. Check out Skillshare, a learning community where you can pick from a great selection of creative online classes like typography, logo design and more!
2. Travel. Get out there and see the world! You don’t have to go far. Visit a nearby historic town or take a road trip with friends. Exploring new places and meeting different kinds of people can teach you a lot about the world and yourself.
3. Catch up on correspondence. In an age of quick texts and mass emails, handwritten letters are such a meaningful way to keep in touch. Make a list of people in your life you’d like to write to and take time each week to write out a few personalized notes. Slip in a photo or have fun customizing your envelope. Not only will you brighten someone’s day, but you’ll also find yourself appreciating the people around you more.
4. Become a mentor. Whether you become a camp counselor or apply to be part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, you could be a positive presence and influence in a child’s life. Investing in the lives of those younger than you is such a valuable use of your time and can be so fun and rewarding. It’s very likely that you will learn just as much from them as they learn from you!
5. Break a habit. We all have that thing that we’d like to change. For me, it’s biting my nails. I know, guys. Just stop, right? If only it were so simple. They say it takes 21 days to break a habit. I think it takes more than that. Try setting a goal for yourself and having a reward in place for different benchmarks. Maybe 10 days of no nail-biting means I get a new polish, or a week of not sleeping in past 8 means you treat yourself to your favorite cold brew coffee and a pastry. When it becomes more about personal betterment and less about beating yourself up, you will see positive change.
6. Conquer your reading list. So many books, so little time…except during the summer! Take advantage of great weather and downtime to dig into that novel or memoir you’ve been wanting to read. Spend some time at the park or beach reading and enjoying creation and relaxation. Expand your mind and heart.
7. Declutter and donate. You know that one shirt that you could potentially need for that one thing in five years? Yeah, the same one you haven’t worn in five years? Time to get rid of it! As someone who finds a reason to keep almost everything, I am learning to appreciate a simple, clean living space with the essentials and just a few extras. Cleaning out your closet can be really cathartic and freeing. And by giving those things to a shelter or Salvation Army, you are taking something you might never use and giving it a new purpose.
8. Volunteer. It’s a simple idea that can make us feel good about ourselves every so often. But what would it look like to actually invest in an organization you believe in? Look up organizations in your community that you could be a part of and commit a certain amount of time to throughout the summer. Your time and effort will be benefiting something greater and more meaningful than just yourself, and isn’t that the point?
There are tons of positive ways to use your time this summer. Pick a few things from this list or create your own. Just get out there and live!