The end of the semester is near and while I am completely done with taking classes as a part of my program, it still feels like I am close to breathing a huge sigh of release. I may not have to take any finals or write any papers but the pace of the academic year can be quite grueling nonetheless; especially when you’re physically working in a lab full-time. With a bit more mental wriggle room, I have started to turn my attention to what sort of fun things my future summer self would like to be doing besides the obvious of sleeping in as much as possible.
Even though I do not stop working during the summer, the spirit of summer vacation lives on which is why this time of year when I really like for my family to do more memorable things than sit on the couch and play video games. In the summer unless I absolutely need a mental and physical recharge, I prefer to take days off sporadically and create many mini-adventures along the way. This has proven to be the most effective way for my family and I to build in a great of fun, and importantly, anticipation for the different activities we might be doing. The anticipation piece is key because I think once you get to a certain age you tend to realize that looking forward to something pleasurable is almost as good as when you actually experience it, in fact research confirms this phenomenon.
Even one night away from the usual routine can feel restorative. My husband and I have a tradition of going away a few times a year for a weekend, and sometimes even for one night. While there have definitely been times when the less than 24-hour turnaround time doesn’t quite seem worth it, especially if we’re schlepping our dogs with us wherever we’re going; the time alone in the car together still usually makes it a good trip in the end. In fact, that is usually one of my favorite parts.
I’m really looking forward to the adventures the summer will bring. Up first will be taking in a Cubs game over Memorial Day weekend, and then our annual 4th of July BBQ (and my very first 5K that morning!) In between, I hope to make every weeknight and weekend feel more like a vacation. What are you looking forward to most this summer?