Op Ed

How To Actually Enjoy The Summer, Maybe

Last week, it snowed in our town. Most people were disgusted. I liked it. Winter can stay as long as it likes; it’s the summer I can’t stand.

Sunflower blossom

Even when I was a kid and excited about the prospect of not going to school, the hot weather got to me. As an adult, I get sad and listless as the days of July and August drag on, threatening sunburns, bug bites, and heatstroke.

I need an attitude change. Unlike spring, which sometimes lasts only a few non-consecutive weeks, summer is long. Here’s my plan for trying to enjoy it this year.

The Summer Reading Program

As a kid, the local library kept track of kids’ reading over the summer and gave prizes to whoever read the most books. My mother frustrated me by not letting me check out the maximum of fifteen books at a time (I frequently lost library books and still do, which is why I buy them now), and by not taking me to the library, like, every day.

Now, as shocking as it is to admit on P-Mag, I recently went through a few years in which I did not read much. There were several reasons for this, and they were all on the Internet. Happily, I have fallen back in love with reading again in the past year, and I mean hard. This summer, I’m taking a break from my own writing projects, and I’m going to read Moby Dick, Janet Evanovich, and Louise Erdrich’s The Round House. Nerdy books about how the brain works. Books about history. Lots of brand-new contemporary poetry. Lots of trashy romance.

Fancy Non-Alcoholic Beverages

I don’t drink any more, and summer is a fabulous time for not-drinking. I’m going to make some of the things from my Pinterest boards, like lavender lemonade, coconut milk + espresso, and spa-ish mango ginger water. Maybe I’ll try making drinks flavored with dandelion syrup, like my friend makes. I’ll start making those vegan iced coffee frappes again, because they were amazing.

Farm-Fresh Everything

Even though I live in the Midwest, I almost never go to the farmer’s market, and I don’t know why. It’s nice, the tomatoes and peaches in particular are fantastic, and there are places nearby where you can get something fresh-baked for breakfast and really know it’s Saturday. I also want to try going to the berry farms and orchards where you can pick your own, and maybe I’ll can some jam like I did that one time. My grandma would say, “May as well. It’s hot anyway.”


I start this snazzily named and ridiculously popular exercise program on June 1, and a couple of my Internet pals are going to do it with me. I already have the DVDs because I tried it once before and then quit. For someone like me, it’s brutal, but I am working up to it this month in sort of a self-designed couch-to-P90X program. I think it will make the summer a lot more satisfying. Either that, or I’ll just be too exhausted to care. Any Persephone readers care to do it with me?

What are your plans for surviving and thriving in the summer? Or are you one of those people who thinks summer is a heavenly dream of flip flops and fireflies and, uh, whatever else you like about the season?

By Bryn Donovan

Romance writer, poet, quilter, and dog cuddler.

5 replies on “How To Actually Enjoy The Summer, Maybe”

Bryn, you are not alone. I loathe summer. The heat, the bugs, the humidity, the hyped-up pressure to have fun (I come from a family of summer-loving, outdoor enthusiasts) – I wish I could just hit the fast forward button on it. It really is the worst time of year for me and my social life suffers a little because I don’t feel like leaving my air-conditioned den most days. The one bright spot is my love of swimming and my boyfriend’s dreamy saltwater pool. That’s where you’ll find me when the heat rises.

I like to dress myself through it, because these years it’s just going to be working of course, except for one holiday week. I’m going to ‘reward’ myself with some more ice cream and never feel obliged to “bare all”. Two years ago I bought a huge sun hat and I will wear it anywhere. Besides that ..just another season.

Sandals are one of the big perks for me, as is riding my bike. I am stupid in love with my bike, and there are a lot of cool places I can get to easily on it. Also doing things later in the day and not having it be dark! But really I like all four seasons and I think I would miss any of them were I to move somewhere else where it was warmer/colder.

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