Shake It Up This Summer
Years ago, I worked as a camp counselor during the summers. For the first few years I was there we had the same chef. He’d been there for years and had a seven-day menu that he never varied from. You never needed to look at a calendar or a newspaper to figure out what day it was, you simply needed to look at your plate. Most of the days I don’t remember what he served, but on Saturday breakfast was doughnuts and dinner was hot dogs and Sunday was pancakes in the morning, fried chicken at lunch and cold cuts for dinner. His food wasn’t bad, just very predictable and I couldn’t understand how someone could be so rigid in their routine. Well, surprising enough, almost 40 years later, I have become pretty predictable myself; and don’t like it now any more than I did back then.
Like many people, I often drive the same way to work, frequent the same restaurants, eat an unspectacular, somewhat routine, menu on a weekly basis, hit the gym at the same time and see many of the same people. Yep, predictable and routine. That is, until the summer hits and then things change a little bit. I’m not sure if it is due to better weather or if my youngest son being home from college is the cause, but I find myself leaving the office earlier certain days and occasionally doing different things to break my routine. Some of those things are food related while others are more dictated by better weather and longer days. I play some early evening rounds of golf, work in the yard, do a little bike riding or take the dog for an occasional walk. Regardless of what it is, my routine changes and I enjoy the freedom.
Not only does my personal life change, my business life does as well. Summer has a very different vibe in the office. Like many businesses, we slow down with staff and clients off on vacation. Colleges often finish Orientations in June or July and then the staff vanishes for some much-needed, well-deserved R and R. Of course, students aren’t around so connecting with them is harder than it usually is while school is in session. Therefore, I spend my days doing some different tasks, for example writing more blogs. Here is a list of some things that you might want to try this Summer:
Do some sightseeing in the area that you live. Many of us have lived in places for much or all of our lives and never really explored what is historic, noteworthy and beautiful right in our own backyards.
- Knock something off your bucket list. If you don’t have a list, then create one. For me, it’s to go see a baseball game of the Cape Cod league or fly in a World War II aircraft this summer.
- Eat at a restaurant that you have never tried before. Many of us frequent the same restaurants all the time. Whether it is near or far, try something new. Bonus points if it’s a type of cuisine that you have never tried before.
- Visit friends. That doesn’t mean just see friends, really visit with them. Put the cell phones away and actually be present.
- Take a camera out, take some photos and actually get them printed. It’s hard to believe but a real camera still takes a better picture than a cell phone. Many of us take hundreds, if not thousands, of pictures every year and most of them live in the electronic universe. Take some pictures and spend a few bucks and get hard copies printed. You’ll love looking at them, as will friends and family.
- Help a charity. Summer is hard for many charitable organizations. Volunteers aren’t around, donations tend to be scarcer, but the needs of these organizations don’t diminish at any time of year. So, give blood, write a check or volunteer some time. You will feel better for having done so, as will the folks you are helping.
- Read a book. Not a book on tape, but actually take some time to read a printed word or two. It is a very different experience.
Regardless of what you do, take some time for yourself and be spontaneous. Statistics tell us that we are working longer and harder than ever before and much later into life than the last few generations. We are also under more stress, so if you don’t take some time to re-charge, you can’t be the best version of yourself. Whatever you do, change things up, and have a really FUN summer.