Like childhood play only limited by what we dreamed up next, A Summer of Fun is all about bringing back an environment that encourages fun and a state of mind that’s open to it. Instead of letting the miserably predictable cycle of being a grown-up replace youthful happiness, this is a conscious effort to reverse the trend between the days of June 1st and September 1st.
Because everyone’s idea of a good time is different, naturally not every item will speak to you personally. Think of this more as a list to inspire your own set of guidelines for better living.
Work in this context refers to the exchange of your time and energy for cash. It’s not about being less productive or lazy, but about learning how to be more efficient and cutting back hours at your job accordingly.
Minimize the time you need to work even more by cutting back spending. If frugality feels tough, remind yourself of how few material things you needed as a child. Discover cheap or free things to do. If you can’t find something, make it up like you did when you were younger.
Focus every day around play of some kind. Playing for the sake of playing (no networking or ulterior motives allowed) is for everyone and reintegrating it into your life will change everything. See Dr. Stuart Brown’s research for more on the importance of play.
Part of what makes summertime fun is warm weather that affords spending more time outdoors. Get out there and embrace all the dirt, sweat and sunburn that comes along with it. If you get too hot, don’t go home. Find a source of cool water, jump/splash/hose-off in it, and continue.
Staying up extremely late or waking up extremely early is an easy way to experience a totally new world. What’s outside your front door can feel like a completely foreign place when you’re the only one around to experience it.
Here’s an idea: every Sunday evening, write down something that you’ve never done before. By the end of the week it should be checked off so you can be ready for the next thing. Don’t go easy on yourself.
The more challenging the task, the bigger the reward. Use fear as a motivation to try new things. Remember, failure can be just as interesting as success.
What’s going on when we suddenly become more interested in documenting the most compelling moments of our lives than experiencing them? Forget about Facebook, Twittering, etc. and instead learn to savor the moment. You can always document later.
Computers, TVs, or fancy gadgets can be fun in their own right, but turning them off for extended periods of time will kickstart your imagination and produce interesting results.
TURN IT UP
Nothing facilitates a good time better than a carefully curated compilation of music. Learn and practice the art of the mix tape.
This should be the least challenging tasks of all, as you will discover that fun is conducive to love and vice versa. Loving can be as simple as hugging random strangers or leaving the light on for whoever you live with and as grandiose as skywriting. It’s about acting on feelings you have for those you care about, and discovering feelings for those you never paid attention to.
A Summer of Fun isn’t possible for everyone. If you are fortunate enough to participate, you’re most likely in a position to help others. Give some of your newly discovered spare time away to someone or something that really needs it.
Choosing and embracing a state of boredom is one thing, complaining about it is another. Fight apathy by first acknowledging that boredom is your choice and second doing something about it.
Use this summer to start or finish the personal projects you’ve been too stressed out to even thing about.
A Summer of Fun: The Manifesto is nothing I made up myself. It was available for quite a while at asummeroffun.com, but now the website seems to be gone. I’ve had it all printed out on a sheet of paper and just decided I should put it back in the Internet, where it belongs.