I’ve been up since 5:00am or so (perk/peril of getting older? maybe I’ve finally turned into a for-real morning person, because I’m sure as hell no longer a night owl). It’s started storming in northwest Arkansas, so I’ve muted whatever movie happens to be currently playing on the Turner Classic Movies channel (Mickey Rooney, #bless) to listen to the thunder. Coffee + quiet + thunder? Can we call it a perfect storm without being too punny? Nah, didn’t think so, but a perfect storm nonetheless. It’s calming for my soul.
What is it about rain that is so calming? A study suggests that the brain perceives “wooshing” noises as non-threatening, and the repetitive nature of rain hitting your window is almost as though the universe is telling you don’t worry, don’t worry, don’t worry. Lemme tell ya, kitties, I can dig that sort of message from the universe, especially then the message includes a cooldown from the southern heat.
Anywhoodles, after putting the Thundershirts on my kids because they’re little fraidy chicken nuggies like their mother, I got a little inspired by this summer storm. One of my favorite things to do in the warmer months is to turn off my brain and embrace the storm (I feel like there’s some symbolism here somewhere, but whatever). What else do I love in the summer? What would I like to do this summer?
Ride my bike on the trail. I for-real live about 200 yards from the Turtle Creek connector trail. Like, stand on the driveway and stare straight at it sort of close. I got a bicycle for my 30th birthday and I’d like to take a few summer dusk rides. It makes me smile even typing it because it makes me think of being a kid and riding at that time of day. And if it makes me smile, I should do more of it.
Host a breakfast for my friends. I saw the cutest idea (bear with me) for a bagel party. Bagels seems like a great option for a vegan who wants to host and serve some friends. Bagels, maybe a tart, mimosas and coffee. Maybe it’ll the the first step toward hosting the dinner party I’ve been planning for a decade.
Visit Hawksbill Crag. It’s also on my 101 list, but with the greenery so lush right now, I want to see it. And then revisit it in the fall.
Go to a baseball game. Nothing screams summer like baseball. Whether its the Hogs, the Naturals or one of the MLB teams close to us, I want to make a trip to see a game or two this summer.
Plan ahead to take a mental health day. Not for vacation, not for an appointment, not for an illness. An actual, planned, take the day off to do whatever you’d like day. Walmart has given me a great amount of paid time off days, and it’s high time I start using them for what I need.
Go to the drive in. About fifteen miles south, we have a drive in that I used to hit up all the time. I love packing a little cooler, opening up the tailgate, and watching a movie outside, and I simply haven’t done it in a while.
Take a weekend trip. Just a little trip out of town. Whether it’s to a hobbit hole in Eureka Springs or a cabin on a river, I just want to explore a little bit.
Get out on the kayak. I credit my parents for getting me on the kayak trail (but don’t tell them that, okay?). There is something very soothing about being on the water, and something so gratifying to look back and see how far you’ve paddled. Plus, I want to get Michelle Obama arms this summer, so we can pull double-duty here.
Read some books. I’ve been telling people around me that I’m not allowed to buy any more books until I read at least five of the ones that are on deck (and if we’re being truthful, there’s probably more like twenty-five that have been purchased and not read). Hard to stop a self-proclaimed bibliophile from bringing home new books, but once I make it through at least five, I’ll allow myself a one-in, one-out rule, just like the clubs I’m too old to go to now.
Roast s’mores. With vegan ‘mallows and dark chocolate, of course.
Volunteer. I volunteered at the area track and field competition with Special Olympics in late April and it was one of the best days I’ve had recently. Whether it’s Special Olympics or the animal shelter, I know I won’t regret donating my time to a cause that has absolutely nothing to do with me.
Finish my quilt. I come from a family of creative, crafty people, and as time passed on, those crafts started to get lost. So many skills that were once commonplace and My mom is the only person left in my family who knows how to quilt, and I decided I’d be damned if that skill left with her (but she’s living another hundred years, so I have plenty of time). She helped me pick out my fabrics. Now I just have to do that hard part of putting it together (with mom’s help, naturally).
Go to the pool without worrying what I look like in my swimsuit. Diving deep with this one. I’ve spent most summers of my adult life nervously pulling at my swimsuit for one perceived flaw or another, and that shit gets exhausting. I’m done with it. I am who I am, and I’m working on myself for my health and strength, and I’m no longer concerned with starting a second career as a Victoria’s Secret Angel.
Pick three shows I love, then stick to those. Man, I’m the worst at mindlessly watching TV, even when it’s shitty Bar Rescue reruns I’ve already seen. I think I’d like to watch American Woman on Paramount because Alicia Silverstone is everything, but other than that, I’m not too sure. I just know I’m tired of being a zombie with a six year old episode of Beat Bobby Flay. Maybe this is why my books go unread, idk, whatev.
Purge all of the things. My name is Tyler, and I’m a packrat. I hold on to everything far longer than I should. I have a few things I won’t part with — movies and books, mainly — but everything else is fair game. I’m not sure where to start, though, and that’s the problem. I tend to get overwhelmed easily, and when you couple that with my tendency to fall into nostalgia, I’ll end up in the floor going through old concert ticket stubs for two hours. It’s a curse, I tell ya, but I suppose it’s my burden to bear. In any case, I’d love for this to be the #SummerOfSimplification, so if anyone has any suggestions for how to get this started, please email me.
Or maybe I’ll just sell everything I own and hit the road instead.
You say tomato.