How to save your last gasp of summer(time sadness)
artwork by sinead
I submit to an online zine called ‘The Pulp Zine‘ here’s an article I wrote for them during this month:
“Summer’s finally here, time to be chillin out…we’re off the hook, the pressure’s out and the girls are what it’s all about…” Right? Whether you have a long Christmas break (December through to February) or a long end of year break (July through to September) -summer is something we all experience, even if it’s at different times of the year, or whatever else. It’s the break that the whole school year builds towards, the hopeful wait for an out-of-the-blue and almost too-good-to-be-true (cheesy/punny rhyming sorry not sorry) summer love and the time to get away from that summertime sickness by just escaping: going on journeys, doing crazy spontaneous shit, being free and just loving everything and not regretting anything. (Okay sorry, I can’t tell if I’m getting too cheesy or not…)
Myself, being the absolute queen of procrastination, boredom and anything that’s the opposite of productivity, usually doesn’t get much done. If you’re anything like me, you think summer is this huge two month long break (where you laze around looking cute and all your friends call you up like ‘hey babe wanna go to the mall?’) But sadly it’s not quite like that: you break up from school, spend the first few days celebratory partying and then recovering from that (or rather just recovering from school if you’re a loner like me) -and then people leave for their Egyptian cruises and camping holidays (and what not) and you’re left there, time ticking and days rolling by, wondering where all your friends are and why none of your plans worked out. Yes, you actually have to make an effort. What I’m getting at, is although you think, or rather wish summer lasted forever, it doesn’t, and it won’t, so here’s how to salvage summer’s last gasp.
What makes a good summer?
-ROUTINE: basically the opposite of challenge, to balance the mixture out, doing what you’re cool with, seeing the people you wanna see, going to the places you know and enjoy, getting stuff you wanna get done, done, just satisfying yourself in known areas, a dash of what you know is good for you –this element comes from good organisation.
-CHALLENGE: doing new and exciting stuff, meeting and hanging out and getting to know new people, being crazy and not thinking about anything, a sliver of risk and dare –this element comes from nowhere, don’t think (unless of course it’s like super stupid, you know, like use a tiny tea spoon of common sense and a lot of gut instinct, come on)
-INDULGENCE: just not doing what you’re supposed to do, but in the most relaxing way possible, buy something you really, really wanted to buy, eat loads of junk, vegging out mayn, watching that series you really need to finish, a pinch of true laziness -this element (as Arthur once said…it) comes from da heart.
Ignoring my goofy puns, we’ve sussed the basics; now let us look deeper into each of these simple elements to a summer that totally doesn’t suck…
Firstly, routine: This all relies on good organisation skills and keeping up with stuff and planning ahead. It’s not just about physical things: remember to fill in those forms, make lists of emails you need to reply to, blog posts you need to do, pen-pals you need to write back to and care packages that need to be re-filled. Make sure you do at least one thing from your list a day, even if it’s just scanning two or three of those old photos for that nostalgic collage post or something like that. Just make sure you keep a constant and steady (even if it’s just a little) flow of productivity, admin-wise.
Now let’s get personal: to avoid days spent home alone, hopelessly trying to make plans on the day, write a list of people you want to meet, and possible groups or people who you could meet up with in pairs (-and tick them off when you’ve met up!) I’d recommend writing out a calendar of your last month or even the whole of summer: map out when you’re on holiday or away, then calculate how many days you have to hang out and use colours and different pens to shade and show when your closest friends are in town.
Start putting in dates and try to organise what you’re doing a week early (by contacting friends through da wonderful world wide web) -and always have ideas of possible events or meet-ups for the next day. Go out every day, even if it’s just riding your bike to the store to get food (highlight: indulgence) or taking the bus down to the park and reading a book, just get out of your house. To remember ideas of places to go, list down all your favourites stores, shops (list all favourite stores to visit too), venues and centres: and tick them off when you’ve visited them.
This means that you’ve organised your friends, you’ve got events to be at and places to go, and you’re seeing and getting done what you want. The ultimate summer routine. If you really can’t get out of the house and no one at all is free, plough through august on a floating cloud-chariot of productivity. So here’s a list of just things to do in the Summer, at home…
-do baking or cooking
-make some kind of video, film it on your camera, of anything that inspires you at the moment, a hazy kind of short film of an outing or a completely self-shot portrait type film.
-if you have a ukulele or guitar, or anything you can strum or play, obviously not something too complex, but try write some clementine creevy or SATU (sinead westwood) style lyrics and music and just sing.
-lay out a long strip of paper and some paint or whatever other material and just go with the flow and make some art.
-DIY some stuff (plenty of ideas here or on other online magazines) or just make little badges or pins or patches
-do photography…if it’s on polaroid (photocopy if you want, and then) doodle on them in glitter, or cut out and re-arrange digital pictures, or organise to go somewhere and shoot a friend.
-revamp your room. Collect memorabilia, paint, stick up old pictures, posters, anything, Get inspiration from online and do it all up.
-make a zine or a collage or a little book.
-make gifs of self (for all you narcissitics, like me, out there…)
-scan old photos
-tie dye old clothes
Okay, onto challenge. This element of Summer is all about being free, escaping your awkward self and embracing your social butterfly, being confident or (deeper) just like finding who you are through going on these amazing journeys, that were organised in less than a minute on the spot, if you will. In a way it really isn’t as complex as the whole routine element, because you’re just doing anything that comes to mind, anything you want to (and not having a second thought about it) so it takes absolutely like 0-1% planning, but it takes a slice of courage so just try to get outta your house or even your town or city. THINK BIG. You’re just trying to meet new people, do new things and go news places. Challenge yourself. Do something really crazy…it doesn’t have to be illegal or whatever just do something that you’ll get a kick out of, or just something that will make you laugh and be hyped. You’re thinking whatever so make like nemo and just go with the flow! Here are a few little things to get you started…
-Find somewhere cute and sceneric and mysterious and like the Hackney marshes or Hampstead Heath womens ponds (London y’all) and go swimming.
-Go somewhere with whoever’s free or whoever’s online. Ask them what they’re up to and if they’re not busy tell them to meet you somewhere in the next twenty minutes with a small pack of extra clothes, their favourite food, a way of documenting the day, travel money/card, their phone and some money. Take the train or bus nearest to you and go all the way to the last stop.
-Stay up all night and watch the stars.
-Bake loads and loads and loads of cake (icing included) or jello, buy whipped cream and ice cream and sticky food with nice texture and then have a food fight. Start with the cream and ice cream and jello and spongy cake and then throw sweets at each other and by the end you will be a beautiful mess of yumminess.
-Sing to a randomer on the street or jam in your car to badass toonz.
-Make out with cute humans.
-Go to the tube (or overground) write out the alphabet on a piece of paper. You have to go to one place beginning with each letter of the alphabet in one day.
-go skinnydipping with your gurlfriends or dude friends or whoever the hell you wanna friends late at night.
-Cut and dye and go crazy with your hair.
I’m sorry that my ‘challenging’ list of craziness does not contain anything really really super crazy, but personally I prefer picturesque scenes, cuteness and all those shenanigans. Also I the writer am of a young age, so there are certain limits. However, if you are an oldie then go for it LIKE yo party with the dj turn it up uh-huh swag central woah. Okay if this didn’t help you there’s always yahoo answers…
Finally we’ve made it to the last element of our perfect summer, indulgence. This element is pretty simple, partly because I really need to go to bed right now, but mostly because indulgence is a simple kind of thing to master. It’s all about just giving in to those desssireeeessss every once in a while. Them sexy ass Reese’s peanut butter cups, or dat kit Kat chunky or that dayum fine cherry pie, Diane. Sleeping in until the late hours of the afternoon, watching freaks and geeks as your slurp a failed ‘breakfast’ milkshake and cereal and eating everything in your cupboard, acting like a diva, honey-boo-boo-ing it out, steppin up the sass-scale, relaxin, getting down, reuniting with your beloved pizza and taking some time to think about those important little things in life. You’ve worked long and hard to organise this perfect summer, and now it’s time for a little internet junkie time. Open your tumblr, your twitter, your ask, your facebook, and waste dem hours away.
NOTE: you’re only allowed to do this for like three days of the month, or something, otherwise it defeats the point of the whole exercise. The best things come in small, small doses.
So there we have it. Summer is nearly over and you’ve (like) ful-filled your full potential. You totally unleashed your inner social butterfly and partyed all night long, took that midnight train that goes to god knows where (but you now know where too), ran around naked and threw food at your friends and went crazy. You got all those emails answered and letters finished and scanned shit loads of photos. You’re all set for the new year, you’ve planned out a new blogging routine and you’re gunna totally rule da web. You’ve met up with all those old friends and bought so many cool new things and done up your room and you feel like a mega fairy mermaid princess. You may not have made out with any cute humans but at least you found your summer love: in dover street market with those amazing chunky comme des garcons platform shoes, always and forever.