Summertime is pretty much the greatest season of all. You get to hang out by a pool, lake or ocean on the weekends (or go on an awesome vacation somewhere even hotter than where you live, if you don't live near any water). You can eat all the fresh fruit in the world, meet your friends for sangria on the patios of your favorite bars and restaurants, and everyone is in a really good mood. How can you not be?! It's finally summer, and you don't have to layer up with a million pieces of clothing before leaving your house in the morning. Such a relief. But summer is only three short months, and it's already July, which means that you have to get cracking if you have some things that you want to accomplish this summer season. Here are 15 things that should be on your summer bucket list.
Some people think exercise is a necessary evil. They really hate it, are never in the mood, and will pretty much never pick a trip to the gym over lying on the couch with potato chips and a nice cold beer. In the summer, it can be really hard to force yourself to work out. You have the best of intentions because you think that, hey, it's bikini season and you want to feel and look your best, so why wouldn't you log some major gym time? But you get caught up in wanting to have fun and relax, and plus there are so many distractions and invitations to fun events and hang-outs. But if you can do one thing this summer, you should definitely learn to like working out. Maybe you'll find something that you even totally love. But let's not get carried away. Just find something you can tolerate and that you don't hate, whether that's yoga, barre, Crossfit, or even just going for a run around your neighborhood in the early morning (or at night when it's not super hot).
It's so much easier to cook in the summer months, and if you don't believe us, just consider this. All you have to do is use the fresh produce that is available in your local markets and let those lead you to some pretty delicious combinations. Want some chicken or salmon or steak? Just make some tomato salad on the side, or even grill some peaches to put on top or add strawberries to your spinach salad. Easy. Plus there's the simple fact that you're going to be going to a ton of barbecues this summer, right? And barbecuing is easier than cooking. Okay, that's not totally true, but a lot of people are scared of grilling for no reason. It's not that bad, so get someone to teach you how to do it, and soon you'll be cooking up all kinds of great summer dishes and impressing all your friends.
Sounds simple enough in theory... but will you really do this? Staying inside is so tempting when it gets super hot, because let's face it, no one wants to go anywhere or do anything when you're sweating the second you leave your apartment. But if you can put getting outside as often as possible on your summer 2016 bucket list, you're going to be so much better off. Getting fresh air and being in the sun can really improve your mood and make you feel so much better and happier, and everyone loves the sunshine. Literally everyone. Get up a bit earlier and go for a walk before work when the temps aren't super insane, or head outside after dinner. Check out a park in your area on the weekends and get your boyfriend or best friend on board. If you have someone with you, you'll definitely reach your goal.
Here's the thing: it's super easy to get all caught up in the daily stuff of life. You get up, you go to work, you go home and go to bed and do the entire thing all over again tomorrow. So make sure this summer doesn't feel the same as every other season does, and that you're not living in your own version of Groundhog Day. Make a list of some things you would love to see and do this summer. Maybe you want to finally check out some food and music and literary/cultural festivals that your city puts on every August. You know, the ones that you swear you will finally go to but you never do because life gets in the way. Well, this summer, don't let life get in the way. You'll never regret trying something new and experiencing something that has nothing to do with Netflix (sorry Netflix, still adore you).
It's too early to think about the fall, you're thinking. It can't possibly be time for falling leaves and pumpkin and Thanksgiving and cooler nights and all that jazz. Of course, that stuff is not happening anytime soon, but guess what? Summer goes pretty quickly, especially now that you're a so-called adult and you work for a living instead of hanging out all the time (#lame). So instead of letting September totally creep up on you and ruin your chill and carefree summertime vibe, make a game plan right now, and then forget about it and enjoy your summer. If you're thinking about giving notice at work and finding a new job or even starting your own business or side hustle, go ahead and lay the groundwork now. Figure out what you really want to do, and then don't do anything until September happens. That way you're still having some summer fun but not losing sight of your ultimate dreams and goals.
Your fave show is a totally personal thing... so much so that you might get into some pretty heated arguments with your boyfriend, best friend or someone you're on a first date with. That's totally okay, though, because it's your fave show, not theirs, and they don't have to agree with you or even understand your show. Whether you live for Friends and can quote every single episode and character and situation or you're more of a Good Wife fan, rematch at least a few episodes one glorious binge-watching weekend. Invite your friends over if they're not going to be super negative and make it a whole thing with some junk food and homemade cocktails... or have some great alone time. The choice is yours. Whatever you decide, you're definitely going to get happy and feel pretty nostalgic, which is what summer is all about.
What did you do as a kid in the summer months? You probably sat on the ground and stared at blades of fresh green grass while daydreaming. You ate fruity and sugary popsicles like they were going out of style and never, ever worried about anything. And we mean never. Embrace your inner child and live your summer like you're a kid again. You may think this sounds nuts because you're obviously a grown-up now (despite how much you hate this whole needing to pay the rent and bills and feed yourself thing), but it's not that crazy after all. Summer is inherently a very nostalgic thing. It reminds you of things that only did as a child. You went to summer camp, you played with other kids in your background or neighborhood, you visited your grandparents, you went to the family cottage. Okay, so you might still do some of those things today, but not nearly as often, and not with such a happy, carefree nature.
Why not invite your best friends over for a super old-fashioned sleepover? It may sound silly and old-school but that's exactly why it's going to be an insane amount of fun. Even if you don't have tons of room in your apartment, that's totally okay. Just go with it and use sleeping bags, just like you would have back in your high school days. You can make popcorn, cookies, order pizza, drink wine, and gossip for hours and hours. Adult sleepovers are even more fun because you don't have your mom in the background suggesting that you stop talking about your crushes and get to sleep already. You basically have zero bedtimes or curfews. So go ahead, invite them over and blast some BSB and *NSYNC (it's okay, it's not the 90s anymore, you don't have to choose between the two). Plus you can watch classics like Clueless and Mean Girls. It's going to be the time of your life.
If you aren't already, of course. If you are lucky enough to be in a steady, stable and happy relationship, maybe it's the perfect time to really re-connect with your boyfriend and make sure that things are going as well as they possibly can. Go on a weekend getaway, hang out with each other's friends and family, and get to know each other on a deeper level. If you're single, summer is a great time to date. It's just more fun to grab drinks with someone when the weather is super nice and warm, and there's just a more pressure-free atmosphere. You may not find love because, let's face it, that can be a pretty tall order, but you can at least go on as many dates as you can and try your very best... which is all that you can do about your love life anyway, no matter what season it is.
Why? Well, why not? Summer is a great time to get a new look, and changing your hair can be super fun, especially if you feel like you're in a little bit of a life rut right now. No big deal, it literally happens to everyone sometimes. You can get a super trendy bob if you've always had super long hair, or decide to get highlights and grow your hair if you always had shorter locks. You can dye your hair of course, but if you're not sure or you're scared of that kind of long-term commitment, you can DIY-it and it'll come off soon enough. Summer is a time to really let loose, have fun and enjoy life to the fullest, and don't let your fear of trying something new stop you. Change is good, after all. If you need some moral support, grab your most fun-loving and bravest bestie and have her come to the salon or drug store with you.
You can totally admit your women's fiction or chick lit addiction -- that is completely fine and you are not the only one at all. These kinds of stories are just so fun and they're a lot lighter than your traditional literary novel. You should definitely put reading something fun (at least one book but hopefully more than that!) on your bucket list for summer 2016. If you want to take this bucket list item a step further, which you totally should, then go ahead and start a book club. You can do it with just your closest friends or expand your circle and have everyone invite their fave co-worker. Then you'll be doing two awesome things at once: reading a fun book and meeting new people, too. Since it's so hard to make new friends when you're no longer in college, this is a really great idea.
Hey, what's your rush? It's July and it's time to chill out, slow down and enjoy the present moment so much more than you usually do. Sure, you try to have as much as possible and you do love your life, but you can't help but caught up in the rat race so to say. But remember that summer is for slowing down and enjoying the little things, from a homemade cherry pie on the Fourth Of July to walking around your neighborhood when it's still light outside at 8 p.m. (#thebest). You're going to regret racing through the summertime, and you will never, ever regret thinking about how much you really appreciate your life and all the tiny, beautiful and wonderful moments within it. Sure, it sounds kind of cheesy (and it is) but that's why this works so well. Your dream summer won't happen unless you're there to really enjoy it.
Summer and ice cream go together really, really well. They are pretty much the best combination ever, and you don't need to deprive yourself this summer. You can be on a diet the rest of the year... plus there's the fact that there's really no reason to diet after all, since it's actually unhealthy and it never really works out for anyone (or if it does, it doesn't work for very long and it ends up totally backfiring). So go ahead and treat yourself to some ice cream a few times a week. Just remind yourself that it's not going to be summer forever and you won't be doing this all the time. Unless you get dumped and need some Ben and Jerry's, but that's not your fault. That's just a requirement and you're just following the breakup rules.
Look, it would be awesome if your life was never chaotic ever, and if you never felt even the smallest amount of stress. But no matter how much you have your stuff together and no matter how organized you are, sometimes you're going to have a chaotic day or two (or a week!). You can't totally freak out and be totally unable to deal, even if it sucks. You have to learn how to cope with chaos and stress eventually, so why not put this on your summer 2016 bucket list and let this be the season that you learn to deal with this, once and for all? It's going to be something that will really help your life, job, love life, relationships, health, and even more, and plus, as a nice bonus, you'll be able to carry these coping strategies over into the fall and beyond.
This may be totally different, depending on the kind of person that you are and what your personality is like. If you usually play it pretty safe, maybe you want to get outside of your comfort zone, and that will look different for everyone. If you're more out-spoken, maybe you want to stop overtaking the conversation 100 percent of the time and let some other people talk about their stories, experiences, and opinions. What's the summer for if not for really leaving your normal self behind and trying something new? Don't let September 1st come around and you haven't even done a single list on this list. Even if you just do a few of these things, that's still totally great, and chances are, you might even want to keep some of these things up even when the leaves start to fall and the weather turns.