The Happiness Project

A chronicle of my attempts to test-drive every tip, principle and scientific study that promotes happiness

How Will You Make Your Own Summer?

The last day of school is always bittersweet to me

booksinsuitcaseFriday was the last day of school for my two daughters. They wore special outfits, I took pictures, lots of excitement.

The last day of school is always bittersweet to me; it’s fun to head into the summer, but it’s always a little sad that another year is over. I’m always reminded that “The days are long, but the years are short.”  (The one-minute video I made about this feeling is probably the thing, of everything I’ve ever written, that resonates most with people.)

The end of the school year is also significant to me because I still measure my own life by the school calendar. September is the other January–which is why, for my second happiness project in Happier at Home, I did a project from September through May.  September is a new beginning, and the June/July/August season feels separate from the rest of the year.

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So now that school is over, my summer has started–but fact is, my summer is a lot like the rest of my year. We go on some family trips, and my daughters’ schedules are different, but my work and routine, and my husband’s work and routine, don’t change much.

But I want the feeling of summer in my life, and so I’ve made a resolution: every weekend, I’m going to read a book for pleasure. Pure pleasure! I read a lot, all the time, but often I read books for research, or because they’re interesting to me in some way, even if they aren’t exactly “pleasurable.” But on summer weekends, I’m going to read only what I LOVE. Books that I can’t put down, books that I’ll race through in a few days. And if I don’t love a book, I’m going to stop reading it (another new resolution for me).

In The Enthusiasms of Robertson Davies, Davies wrote, “Every man makes his own summer. The season has no character of its own, unless one is a farmer with a professional concern for the weather. Circumstances have not allowed me to make a good summer for myself this year…My summer has been overcast by my own heaviness of spirit. I have not had any adventures, and adventures are what make a summer.”

Reading is my adventure, it’s my cubicle and my playground–and this summer, I’m going to make sure to spend a lot of time on the playground side.

How about you? How do you plan to “make your own summer”?

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Also ...

  • A thoughtful reader pointed me to this delightful article about the tiny secret doors in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I love miniatures (see Happier at Home, chapter nine!), and I loved seeing the photos of these tiny doors scattered around town.

     

  • Are you reading Happier at Home or The Happiness Project in a book group? Email me if you'd like the one-page discussion guide. Or if you're reading it in a spirituality book club, a Bible study group, or the like, email me for the spirituality one-page discussion guide.

Gretchen Rubin is the author of The Happiness Project, a book and a blog about her adventures learning to be happier.

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