By Thamar Jones
When we were kids, summer activities were a great escape. My only goal each day was to figure out the bigger thrill: hide and seek with my cousins, a game of cricket with my brother, or rereading Nancy Drew books hours on end. We were completely free. Fun was the only endgame.
We’re adults now-or almost- and that comes with its own benefits: we can stay up as late as we’d like playing poker with friends, charter a boat and go sailing on the sea or gather a group and go exploring Cayo. But when was the last time you actually did any of that? When was the last time you spent a whole afternoon on an inflatable raft, sipping ice cold lime juice and reading a great mystery novel?
However long ago it was, your next awesome fun day or week is way overdue. Joy is the name of the game this summer!
In the event you need more pragmatic motivation, know that the fields of neurological science is increasingly demonstrating how pleasure affects the health and longevity of the human body. It turns out that a certain amount of unbridled enjoyment is good for you.
The first step to having more fun with summer activities is carving out time for it. Make weekends sacred by setting good boundaries: Turn off work email on Friday afternoon and leave it off until Monday morning; dedicate at least an hour on a weekend day to ditching your smartphone; say no to time-draining requests.
Now that we’ve cleared the time and opened our calendars for some big fun, let’s kick things off with this list of activities that I hope will inspire your planning. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you sure you enjoy to the fullest because summer’s best days will be here (and gone) before you know it.
Be a Tourist in Your Own Town
When you live somewhere long enough, it stops being an interesting destination and becomes the surrounding area where you buy groceries and get your car serviced. This summer, treat your hometown like a new-to-you destination. Tour your city’s local landmarks. Is your city, town or village known for its museums? Its rivers? Its food? Take some time to tour your area’s notable attractions.
Channel Your Inner Child
Your interests have probably evolved since you were a youngster, but that doesn’t mean what you did as a kid isn’t still a blast. So invoke your inner 11-year-old, borrow some baseball gloves and play catch with your sweetheart. Head to the park and play a game of basketball with your cousins or take your dog to the park for a game of Frisbee.
Hit the nearest water park
Go down the biggest slide at least once (Old Belize anyone?) In the evening, invite friends over to play board games. Include a few that you played as a kid (Monopoly? Uno? Go fish!) If you have a whole day at your disposal, re-create summer camp: Gather a small group of adult friends and organize a day of crafting and outdoor activities. Build a fire in the evening and roast marshmallows.
Rediscover Your Yard
Take a Friday night and camp in your backyard. Pitch a tent, build a fire, roast some kabobs, and watch the stars. In the morning, make coffee over an open fire.
Start a garden or expand your existing one. If you’re a gardening novice, just stick in one tomato plant or a short row of peas and see what happens. If it fails, you’ll have learned a few things about what went wrong so you can do it differently next year. If you already have a garden, expand its dimensions or try planting something entirely new.
Make a Splash
Water and summer are like vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce — good on their own but better together. Choose whatever body of water feels most inviting — sea, rivers or pools. Make a day of it. Spend quality time just floating and staring at the sky, go tubing down the nearest river or water-ski in the Caribbean Sea.
Learn Something New
Treat the summer like a lost semester — but not the daunting and dull I-have-to-take-this-class-to-graduate kind. Make it a semester filled with learning all the things you’ve wanted to try but have never gotten around to. The human brain is hard-wired for learning, so even if you hated school, you may be surprised to discover how much you love learning when the subject is something that truly interests you.
Try YouTube, where you can learn almost anything — how to knit, how to play the guitar, how to tie a Windsor knot, how to make a cherry pie. If you can think it, someone somewhere has made an instructional video about how to do it!
Try out a new fitness or dance class and discover a type of movement you really love.
Last but not least, be sure to carve out some quality time to do absolutely nothing.
And if that nothing can be done while hanging in a hammock somewhere in Corozal or Cayo or Hopkins… then all the better!
By Thamar Jones