5 FREE Ways to Make the Most of Summer

5freewaysimageLast time, I mentioned I’d recently become friends with essential oils. Now we’ve taken our friendship to the next level. Like, the kind of level you reach when you take a cross-country road trip with a friend. The essential oils and I haven’t done that yet, of course, but the idea did cross my mind when I went to Indy last week…

They’re like my little smell-good squad. My little groupies. I’ve got five scents so far, but I’m always up for new friendships.

They’ve also become part of my nightly routine. I fill up the diffuser and settle in for some time with the oils and the Lord. And after that, the oils hang around for the reading after party. It’s really nice.

I really did have a reason for this transparency, but I’ve forgotten how it would tie in, so I’ll just do an awkward topic shift:

This summer I’m taking an online class for school, traveling a little, and doing a couple of book events on top of other stuff. I also recently finished writing a book (cue the angel choruses!), so I’m on a break from storytelling for a couple of weeks.

When I’m not in writer or student mode, I’m looking for fun things to do so I don’t look back on Summer 2016 and only see schedules and responsibilities.

But I’m on a budget, and I’m not sure who all’s reading this, but chances are good you don’t want to spend a fortune on summer fun, either.

That said, I present you with 5 Free Ways to Make the Most of Summer. I’ll be checking these off my list, too. Join me?

1 – Hang out with someone younger than you.

Why? Because fun times. Volunteer to spend an afternoon with someone younger. His or her parents will be thankful for the break, and you’ll have endless entertainment. Trust me on this – I have a six-year-old sibling. There’s so much you can do:

– Backyard Water Park (Slip ‘n slide, sprinklers, water guns, etc). The slip ‘n slide was yesterday’s activity and today all of my muscles feel old and want a nap. Worth it.

– Picnic/Tea Party.

– A trip to the park.

2 – Hang out with someone older than you.

Earlier this week, I chauffeured my grandfather on a couple of errands. We just went to the pharmacy and the DDS, but I’ll always value that time with him. The people who have lived longer than us have so many cool stories and so much wisdom. They’ve watched the world for a long time, and their perspective can teach us a lot.

3 – Invest in a new friendship.

Maybe that’s a friend you’ve been meaning to meet for coffee for months now, or maybe it’s someone you just met. Either way, take advantage of the extra free time and hang out with someone you don’t know well. Invite her over to make smoothies and watch Netflix, go window shopping downtown, or take a picnic lunch to the lake.

4 – Stargaze.

This sounds kind of hopelessly romantic, I know, but hear me out. Spread a blanket on the grass, sit out on your roof (if that’s a safe option), or drive out into the country and stretch out on the hood of your car and just look at the sky. Unplug for an hour or two. Put away the phone and let your mind wander for a while in the silence. Give yourself permission to just wonder about the things you’re usually too rushed to consider. Big picture stuff, like God, purpose, eternity, dreams, etc. Spend some time alone with the Creator, or invite a friend to talk through things with.

5 – Be alone.

This isn’t the same as being lonely, and it’s so important. In a world where social media is never farther away than our back pocket, it can almost seem like a waste of time to not interact with people. As good and necessary as community can be, there’s also great value in knowing how to be your own friend. This is healthy for the introverts and the extroverts. Take a walk, read a book, paint, learn to knit…the possibilities are endless. You’re stuck with yourself for life, so you might as well get to know you and appreciate how you’re uniquely made. You might even be surprised at how easy it is to have fun when you give yourself permission to just hang out for a while.

***

So there you go! 5 ways to have a free, yet meaningful summer! Let me know if you try any of these – I’d love to hear about it!

What else would you add to the list?

 

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