Summer Blues? How to Make the Most of the Time You Have Left

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Home for the summer? It doesn't have to be dull. Boredom can creep in whether we are just moving back in with our parents temporarily or have already been living with them. The mere switch from stability and routine into “lalaland” or any new routine is enough to cause emotional chaos. Whatever the reason—be it PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) from memories of an overprotected childhood,
 WAIDWML (what am I doing with my life), SBIT (so bored it's traumatic), or ISTMDUBIB (I’m starting to make disorders up because I’m bored), know that while there might not actually be anything wrong with you, you are definitely not alone if you start drowning in pessimistic thoughts. But stop drowning. Go find a pool and start loving life. It is summer after all—one free from structure, a regular schedule, classes, or a workload. So here are some tips from CM on how to see the sunshine, even from outside of our parents’ windows:

  1. Find a form of transportation or if you already have transportation, then don’t take it for
 granted: Use it. This is your ticket… anywhere! Appreciate it. Focus a few moments on thanking the universe for those things that we normally take for granted. Feeling appreciative puts things in perspective so we can enjoy our present circumstances. Do focus your energy on the good part of what you have and you’ll be happier. If you don’t have transportation, then find it. There is a brilliant car sharing service called Zipcar and there’s this other thing called public transportation and yet another called Carmax.com. These are your best friends, so it’s imperative that you spend time with them. You’ll find that it feels good to be appreciative, and that there is a practical reason to appreciate whatever mode of transportation you opt for: It enables us to come across totally new people, places, and things to occupy ourselves with!
  2. Sometimes it’s not enough for cars to become your best friends: Try to find friends to become your best friends. Call anyone and call everyone. Nobody wants to be that awkward desperate person admitting that they have nothing to do on the weekends. But, chances are we all either presently or from past memories, can identify with having too much time on our hands and too few persons to spend it with. Nobody should be sitting on their bum miserable when there is some other miserable person out there waiting to connect with you. So be forward-thinking and make the moves that are necessary to make friends. Go to that party where you won’t know anyone. Call up that camp buddy you haven’t spoken with in years. Approach the person sitting alone at Starbucks hunched over a fill-in-the- blank book studying for the same obnoxious higher education exam that you’ve had the displeasure of encountering, or that your friend took, or whatever you can think of that is true that might be a nice conversation starter.
  3. Do not sit inside: Get some vitamin C. The endorphins are fabulous for you, the Earth is beautiful, you won’t meet anyone new inside your house, and you do not want to be pale come fall. While your outside, go for a walk and upgrade to a run so you can get twice as many endorphins, see twice as much of your surroundings, and have twice as many potential people to (literally) run into.
  4. Talk with your parents, your siblings, or your grandparents: It is easy to become so used to being around our family that we are not actually with them when we are “with” them. At some point we all move out, so take the time to recognize how sacred these opportunities are. Keep in mind that this tip should be used in conjunction with some of our other tips because too much time together can be overwhelming. Aim for quality and not just quantity time with the people we love and focus on their quality features as well. Every single person has their excellent traits but those good features will not shine when we are too tuned into their imperfections.
  5. Enjoy whatever you enjoy or find something new to enjoy: Get a hobby. There are so many random activities out there to indulge in. It’s not too late to be a magician, plant a garden, cook exotic foods, train your dog to fetch a bone and roll over, paint pictures (even if they are “abstract” in it’s most literal form), do yoga, try to learn a new language, become a specialist in some obscure historical era (I say “specialist” but you can be the least0special at it and still feel good that you know something new as long as you put in the energy and focus to do so), or write a book. The opportunities are absolutely limitless, so find something and do it.
  6. Volunteer: It feels good to help people. It helps you learn how to appreciate what you already have and affords you with a sense of accomplishment. Volunteering exposes you to a sense of unity and compassion, it exposes you to people with a sense of unity and compassion, and it creates love in our world. There are untold numbers of places that need volunteers—this might even mean coming up with your own project such as writing thank-you notes to soldiers or doing random, nice things for the world. Be that person who posts a note in a bathroom that says “You look prettier when you’re smiling,” or pay-it-forward for the person in front of you at the drive-thru food window, or make it a point to smile at every person you see during the course of a day, or help an old woman take groceries to her car and ask her for advice on life (The elderly have great advice and more often than not, too few listeners, so go for it).
  7. Museums: Find one and learn something new. Museums can be exhausting exercises in pseudo-intellectualism when approached the wrong way. There is, however, a place that should interest any and every one so figure out your forte and find it in a museum. There are science museums with crazy, wild interactive displays, history museums with giant extinct animals and dinosaur bones, art museums with the most gorgeous realistic landscapes and out-of-this-world representations of reality, and botanical gardens (okay, not quite a museum but in that family) where you can breathe in the scent of true beauty in an untold number of delicious odors and gorgeous shades of brilliant color. Some or all of those descriptions may have sounded terribly dull when you really thought about them, but I think the true joy of museum is unleashed when the imagination gets involved and you can turn museum-going into ways to recreate your reality as it could be in some other galactic dimension. Give it a try!
  8. Study. Or apply for jobs. Or answer your emails. Or call that person back. Or 
send that thank-you note. Or contact that employer from two years ago. Whatever it is that you’ve been postponing or procrastinating from doing even though you know that you need to do—do it. You will feel better. At the very least, devote twenty minutes to doing such tasks every day. Make a to-do list and check off items as you complete them. You will feel more positively and after a while, it becomes less of a drag and more so, a chance to snag the mini-successes that may set you up for greater successes in the future.

It’s totally normal to get the blues, especially when we are home for the summer, but that doesn’t mean you have to wallow in that mindset. Be proactive and enjoy life, and acknowledge that there is nothing wrong with you for taking things for granted—as long as you stop taking things for granted. It’s necessary to force yourself out of your comfort zones at home to get out there and into the world. The most tempting thing when we feel bored is to stay on our butts and keep being bored! But don’t; you owe it to yourself to make the most of your summer. Good luck.

 

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Senior > English > University of Maryland

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