Retirement Happiness — Designing my Summer

Hurray — summer has arrived! This is the time to delight in every moment, take advantage of the long days, break out the beach umbrellas, serve flavoured ciders on ice, and barbecue every day.

Because it’s so easy to let this precious season pass without paying attention, I’m taking the advice of Gretchen Rubin, my favourite happiness guru.  In a recent podcast she discussed designing your summer to take advantage of the change of pace.  She suggests honouring the season by making plans for both fun and accomplishment.

Summer designs — photo courtesy of Anna Hamilton

Before the 2017 summer season fades, I’ve made a few summer plans to ‘design my summer’ and make this a memorable season.

  1. Spend time outside every day.  Sunshine is good for the soul. This is the time to eat meals al fresco, exercise outdoors, do some gardening, and cook on the barbecue.
  2. Plan to watch the sunset over Lake Huron at least once every week.  Usually dinner at the cottage is late and we skip the sunset — what a loss!
  3. Adhere to a relaxed, slower pace.  I won’t abandon habits of journal writing, daily exercise, blogging, or healthy eating, but I’ll sleep in, sit in the sun, read, knit, and visit with neighbours.
  4. Care for our grand-daughter.  To ensure that Montessori camp doesn’t get monotonous, she’ll spend alternate weeks with both sets of grand-parents.  We had her at the cottage last week; she loved the beach and the relaxed cottage routines! Next week, she’s off for a camping trip with her other grand-parents. What fun to blow bubbles, eat gummies, play splash tag, and watch fireflies with an enthusiastic four-year-old!
  5. Wear bright colours. For the summer, I’ll stay away from black unless it’s a swim suit!
  6. Wear dangling earrings.  Summer is the perfect time to enjoy the gentle movement of cascading chandelier earrings for a constant reminder to smile and enjoy the moment. No worries about the earrings catching on winter scarves, coat collars or woolen sweaters.
  7. Make a push on the memoir writing as I want to accomplish something.  This writing project frequently gets pushed to the bottom of my list when I’m busy writing blog posts. I’ll focus on the memoir as part of the weekly writing schedule.
  8. Attend local events in our city and in our cottage community. There are more fairs, festivals, summer theatre productions and farmer’s markets on offer than can be sampled in one summer.  We’ve already enjoyed a theatre production, attended one local festival, checked out a farmer’s market, and watched the spectacular July 1 fireworks on Lake Huron.
  9. Try new recipes using seasonal local food for summer entertaining.  The corn crop in South Western Ontario looks glorious.  Ontario strawberries made for a spectacular strawberry shortcake on Canada Day.  Freshly grown herbs are readily available. I’m eager to use Niagara peaches as they come into season in some fabulous desserts.
  10. Leave at least one day a week wide open for spontaneity.  Summer will be ruined if the schedule gets too rigid and doesn’t allow time for family and friends.

With these summer plans there’s something to look forward to every week. Bring it on!


2 Replies to “Retirement Happiness — Designing my Summer”

  1. Gretchen Rubin is also my Happiness Guru….nice summer list and a good idea!

    1. Summer is my favourite season. Too bad — it’s such a short season in Canada!

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