Summer of Yes

Whenever my friends and I would return to school in the fall following our summer vacation, there was always the question of “how was your summer” or “what did you do this summer.” Our replies were usually underwhelming and left us with the realization that we did not fully accomplish everything we wanted to in our precious time off.


Although a few reasons behind the lack of satisfaction were because we didn’t all have transportation and funds to do everything we wanted, the main reason we had bummer summers was because we didn’t take advantage of the opportunities we had. So often during those summers, we knew events were going on or had activities we wanted to do, but we all thought “we’ll get to that later, summer is a long time.”


Pushing things to tomorrow over and over is a vicious cycle that came back to bite us every year; we never ended up fulfilling all of our summer goals. Summer goes by too fast, and summer is extremely short. We learned that we needed to stop letting days get away from us.


This summer, my friends and I made a joking-but-not-joking pact called “the summer of yes.” Our summer mission is to do as many activities and have as much fun as we possibly can, despite the time constraints of work, internships, sports training etc. The rule is that in our group chat of 11 girls, whenever someone suggests and activity and you’re free, you’re going.


After returning home from our freshman year in college in May, our group has already done all of these activities: bike ride for ice cream, neighborhood jogs, hike at Devil’s Hole, trip to Myrtle Beach, bonfire with s’mores, Buffalo Zoo day, beach day on Lake Erie, concerts at Darien Lake, karaoke in Clifton Hill-Ontario, Food Truck Tuesday, FootGolf in Delaware Park, night-out in downtown Buffalo, sunset yoga at Outer Harbor…


We all take turns driving and make plans for other fun events while we are together. We’ve already done more in less than a month than we have in the past two summers combined.


Even though a big reason we can do all these things is because we are older, have more freedom, and less “where are you going, when will you be back, and who are you with” to answer to, the biggest reason we have been having so much fun this summer is because of our willingness to say yes.


It’s so easy to waste your summer away. One day, you sleep in until 1 and then call the day off from any activity--this makes way for two more days like that. Then, by the time you actually want to do something fun during the week, you can’t because you need to do work in that time you left yourself.


I’m not saying don’t relax this summer and I’m not saying that you need to go as extreme a route as my friends and I have by cram-packing our summers. But saying yes to a few more adventures than usual or taking the initiative to invite some friends out to try an activity you’ve always said would be fun will leave you feeling like you got slightly more out of your summer than past years.




Tips to Having a Not-Bummer Summer


1.Wake up earlier. You’d be surprised how much more you’ll get done if you wake up before 10 am. You can always take a nap later.

2.Be bold. Don’t be afraid to try something you’ve never done before this summer. A 10-mile hike? Sounds scary, but if you’re with friends, why not try it? Also, don’t be afraid to reach out to friends that you haven’t seen in a while! Meet up with them while getting ice cream at a new spot that just opened up—they probably wanted to try it too!

3.Wear sunscreen. Nothing can be more of a buzzkill than a frying sunburn. This easily preventable evil will have you wanting to lie in bed covered in aloe for a few days, minimizing your “yes” time. You’ll still get a tan, don’t worry.

4.Look at events pages in your city. If you google “events in _____” you can usually find a calendar of the many events going on in and around your city. Here you can find anything from a big-name concert to a farmer’s market, to a free Zumba class. Check it out!

5.Not everything that’s fun has to cost money. Hikes, fitness classes, some museums, and just generally exploring an area can prove to be an awesome adventure, and doesn’t have to break the bank. Gas money? Sure you may need to ask your friends for a few bucks, but you don’t need to plan a trip to Europe in order for your summer to be satisfyingly enjoyable.