Summer enjoys a reputation as a time of endless cookouts, lazy days at the beach, wonderful trips far from home, a break from routine. But what adult actually experiences summer anymore?

Supposedly it’s summer, but not from where I sit.


Summer enjoys a reputation as a time of endless cookouts, lazy days at the beach, wonderful trips far from home, a break from routine. But what adult actually experiences summer anymore?


What is summer to most of us nowadays? It’s a time of working, just like the rest of the year. Sure, you have a few weekend cookouts, but that’s about it.


That doesn’t mean we don’t look forward to summer. We think about the pleasant warm-weather activities of our youth and tend to forget that most summers will consist of, at most, a couple of weeks away from our daily routines. 


When fall rolls around, we wonder what happened to the summer we were looking forward to and didn’t get. And we’ll vow to make more of our summer next year.


What happens to summer?


It might get taken up with projects — painting the garage, wallpapering the upstairs hallway or whatever — or it might be used up with visiting an out-of-state relative. (Why more out-of-state relatives cannot live on a beach is beyond me.)


Or maybe either your spouse or you have changed jobs, and there isn’t any vacation time to be taken together at all this summer.


Next year, we say, will be better.


I realized, after reading another column lauding the greatness of summer, that I haven’t had any great summers in years. I cannot remember the last time I was in a boat or on a beach. 


Have your summers been all work and no play? Why not make this summer more like the mythic summers of your youth?  


No, you probably can’t convince your employer that you need to get the whole summer off, but maybe you can shift your priorities enough to make it possible to experience at least a short stretch of summer fun.


Or at least, that’s my hope.


I have a very long list of things I need to do, and what’s been pushed to the bottom of the list are things I want to do.


Yes, it’s great to point to a project completed, but once in a while a person needs to take some time off and not have a single thing to show for it but a sunburn and a few snapshots.


That goes against the culture that congratulates those who can claim to be busiest, who can brag about never having any free time.


But an adult’s summer is short enough as it is. If you have a to-do list for the summer a mile long, maybe you should scratch off a couple of items from the bottom and write in something totally non-productive right at the top — like visiting a beach for a weekend.


Failing that, maybe you can stick a few summer moments into your routine.


Last summer, I spent quite a bit of time digging a goldfish pond and installing landscaping all around it. I also transformed a dark corner by the garage into a shade garden with a fountain and a garden seat at the end of a curvy path. It was a lot of hot, sweaty, dirty manual labor.


This summer, I’m trying to make it a point to get something out of it. I find it soothing to spend a few minutes maintaining the pond each morning, and I try to spend at least a short time reading in the garden most evenings. (One of the advantages of reading with an e-reader is the lighted screen allows you to read outside in dim light).


It might not be a day at the beach, precisely, but it’s something.


And I’ve promised myself that at least one day this summer will be devoted to a completely non-productive day on a beach somewhere.


Editor Michelle Teheux may be reached at mteheux@pekintimes.com.