3 Secrets to a Creative Summer

Summer Mood Board by Betsy Beier

Summer is a season that represents optimism and boundless freedom. Although I’ve been out of school for several decades and work year round, I always associate this time of year with my childhood summer break from school. When school started in September it only took until about Halloween that I was already day dreaming about those precious 3 months of summer break. Who could I be? What would I do? What could I experience?

With June upon us, it’s the perfect opportunity to ask ourselves those same questions, and dream up a summer time filled with creative experiences to fuel us through the long winter months. Let’s ask ourselves those same 3 questions to inspire a summer filled with endless creative adventures.

Secret 1: Define who you want to be.

In middle school and high school I definitely struggled to find myself. I was trapped in teen angst of deciding who I should hang out with, and what I should wear. I was guided by who I thought I should be and didn’t allow myself to be who I wanted to be.

Fast forward to middle-aged me, and I can confidently say, thank goodness that is over! Although I don’t struggle with those same questions, I do like to reflect every now and again and ask myself, am I being the person I want to be? Do my actions reflect my values, my goals, my principles?

Of course this type of reflection can happen anytime of year, but for some reason, summer just feels like a great time to reevaluate. For me summer was a time when I would typically surround myself with new people (my “summer” friends) and in a way could have a clean slate. With that in mind, I challenge you to ask yourself the same question- who do you want to be this summer? The carefree person, embracing the season, and perhaps wearing that crazy halter top? The motivated morning person who embraces the coolest part of the day to take their brisk walk? Take a look at your values, and match them up with something fun to try or do that can only happen in the summer.

Secret 2: Decide what you will do and act on the possibilities.

Enough of the endless seasonal bucket lists or pondering of all the possibilities you could do this summer… instead decide on an absolute MUST DO list that will define summer for you. Yes, you can use these bucket lists to inspire you, but only pick a select few and dedicate yourself to doing them.

For me, summer is about playing like a kid! My summer break rarely had any type of schedule. The days would drag into weeks, with the ability to do whatever (of course within reason) I wanted. I spent endless amounts of time at the swim pool, on my bike and begging my mom for more popsicles. I do remember, though, weeks would pass and I’d get panicked. Summer was almost over and what did I do? 

I challenge you to act on the possibilities this summer. Don’t just say you’ll do a cannonball at the local pool, go and do it! Don’t wish you made homemade ice cream, actually make it! Act on those summertime opportunities don’t just list them, and you never know what it will inspire you to do next.

Secret 3: Create a list of experiences you won’t pass up.

Secret 3 is really about combining secret 1 with secret 2. This is where the creative magic happens. I see experiences as an opportunity to be the person you want to be and do the things you want to do one step further. It’s about really pushing yourself to get curious, try something new, possibly get out of your comfort zone and experience life in a whole new light.

Perhaps you say you want to be more artistic and you also want to go to the county fair. Maybe this time, you actually participate in the process and enter an art piece into the fair! Another example – say you really want to stop your mindless television watching, and would love to spend more time outdoors on warm summer nights. Perhaps inviting a few friends over once a week for popsicles and chatting by your fire pit is the answer!

So, this summer, be sure to embrace the extra sunlight, let your inner child run free and soak up all those magical, creative summertime experiences. In doing so, you are guaranteed to have a summer to remember!

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