I hate feeling pressured to like anything. I hate feeling like I should go out or hang out or do a bunch of stuff or risk an entire season being a failure. For the longest time, I hated summer. (I’m still not 100% sold on it this year, if we’re being honest — it’s been the same for two months and I’m a little bit bored.) And the only thing I hated more than summer were the people who lived and died by it respectively, hinging their happiness on how many photos they took near and/or on the beach.
So this is the only summer checklist I’m interested in. Here, you won’t find “play hooky and just head to the cottage!” (I have a guilt complex and don’t have access to a cottage) or “get a tan!” (what a weird thing to suggest) or “go off-roading!” (could you imagine). Instead, you will find real things. Or, more specifically, things you don’t have to do this summer but I suggest you do all the time. Basically, another name for this list could be “How to be me.” (I am a narcissist.)
Go to the movies by yourself
I hate going to the movies with other people. They want to talk to me about the movie, I can’t emote the way I want, and movie theatres provide a safe and cold refuge when it’s very hot out and I’m annoyed with everyone. Go in the daytime, eat popcorn for lunch, and if you can, pay more for those VIP theatres because they let you put your feet on the seats and truly, that is the life. Bring no one with you, and realize how much better summer is when you get two hours to exist in cinematic silence.
Eat lunch outside
Because you will realize that it is fun for about ten minutes before it gets way too warm and there are a curious amount of flies. So you will realize in that moment if you are an outdoor person (nope) or if you do better inside like a fancy person (yep). This will also determine if you should ever, under any circumstances go camping. (I should never.)
Eat all the ice cream you can
This is just good advice 24/7, 365 days a year. I spent most of April eating ice cream out of the container and watching The Terror. Life is short. Eat what you want. Even though what I want is more flavours of lactose-free choices.
Stay in and watch TV
Do not allow yourself to be guilted into participation. This summer is what you make it. If it’s the only time you have to catch up on Killing Eve, then you know what you have to do.
Dress exactly the way you want
Which of course is code for “dress like a nineties teen or a Mad Men and/or Dazed and Confused extra.” Summer is weird. On Saturday I thought I had heat exhaustion, and last night I got too cold sleeping with the window open. There’s no rhyme, reason, or system you can follow. Which is why you should dress however you want, whenever you want, bless us everyone. We have control over almost nothing in life (a sad but true reminder), so control your wardrobe. I hate ruffles and halter tops and most on-trend summer pieces so I have used this season to make clear how little I have time for 99% of most pieces. And the thing about that is, you can’t turn that shit off. You start dressing how you want in the summer, you’ll inevitably dress the way you want come fall and winter, too. And now you’re free. And you are welcome.
Work as much as you want
Here’s what I don’t love about summer: the push to take time off. I mean, look. I love a day off. I love doing nothing and roaming around and taking my time and ignoring my email. But also, I like working. Working makes me feel like I’m actively engaging in something. I like writing, I like my job, I like what I do. So after about three days of doing nothing, I feel disconnected from everything (but especially myself). So work as much as you want. You want to take the summer off? Go for it. You want to work weekends? You do what you want. You’re the boss of you, and if anybody tells you otherwise they are dead to us all. Maybe some of us hate long weekends. Maybe that’s fine.
Go to a carnival
If only for the Instagram opportunities. I’ll never, ever go on a carnival ride, but I will for sure play the games and eat cotton candy and pretend that I’m 12 because life is short and we’re all barreling towards death and I like to pretend I’m in the Beyonce XO video.
Go to at least one (1) museum
I don’t know why I have to tell anybody this, but oh man, go. Go to a museum. Teach yourself about the world. Learn history. Your museum is your choice, but just go to one. Learning is the best. Also: air conditioning. Two things.
Make sure your BBQ’d food is cooked all the way
Which I say as someone who had food poisoning (I think?) for the last few days. Just . . . make sure it’s fine. Don’t take a chance with a chicken burger, you know? Don’t leave your hotdogs just sitting out. Don’t make the mistakes I’ve made. Don’t spend the days leading up to summer eating Cinnamon Toast Crunch out of the box and wondering where it all went wrong. Be free of my mistakes. Go forth and conquer.
Photo via @AFashionNerd/Instagram