Melting like a popsicle into a sticky pool of nerves does absolutely no one any good because then you’re rendered completely uneatable, un-hold-able, un-lick-able, un-Instagram-able and, quite honestly, messy. It’s dreadful.
But I know the feeling. It’s more than halfway into August and you can’t help but look back at Memorial Day the same way you look back at cracks in the sidewalk after you trip: “What the fuck? Who put that there?”
Where did the summer go?
These are the Summer Scaries, a seasonal variety of the dreaded Sunday Blues. They come on yearly but attack out of nowhere (sometimes they hit July 5th, sometimes you’re good until August 20th). In addition to making you rock back and forth while a loop of embarrassing memories of all the weird things you have done plays through your mind, the Sunday Scaries also form clouds of regret over your head that rain down with all the Best Summer Ever promises you broke while you were at it.
But an umbrella exists. It’s rainbow-colored and the inside is navy with stars in the shape of your favorite constellation. You have to hold it up yourself, which can be annoying, although doesn’t all mental finagling take a bit of light lifting? When it comes to beating the Summer Scaries, the secret is in the soak-it-up-and-be-present prescription…
1. Stop counting down until the end of summer. Treat each day like an advent calendar in that each morning is a new opportunity for a piece of chocolate, yes, but get your eyes off that end goal. No more striking through dates with a red pen. You’re not in prison; you’re in summer. FORGET WHAT A DATEBOOK IS SO LONG AS YOU ARRIVE TO WORK ON MONDAY.
2. Stop participating in the “omg summer is over” lament. Change the subject. Say to anyone who feels like talking about this very boring subject, “That’s a very boring subject. I’d rather discuss my moles or your dreams.” Glare at naysayers. Hiss. Run — do not walk — away from anyone who tries to suck you into negativity. Cover your ears with your hands or stick your fingers a bit too close to your eardrums and refuse to hear it. Denial is key!
3. Remember that it’s not denial. Summer isn’t over yet.
4. (It also doesn’t have to ever end since it’s also a state of mind.)
5. Make a list of the things you said you were definitely going to do. Cross off the insane ones like “lose 100 pounds in four days” and “change the entire trajectory of my life by fall.” It’s too hot for all of that. Now pick three you really want to do:
Go to the beach?
Try something new?
Learn how to ride a bike?
All doable in the time you have left.
6. Wear flip flops.
7. Nowhere near the beach? You can DIY a pool situation at home. Buy a kiddie pool. Fill it up. Invite your best friend over. Play music. Sit in the kiddie pool and drink margaritas, and if you think I’m lying then let me tell you about the time I broke my arm and spent my summer sitting in a kiddie pool with my best friend. It was awesome. And this was before Snapchat.
8. Put your damn phone down. Bye! “Lose it.” No one need to know that you actually do know where it is. So much of vacation feels like vacation because you never know where that rectangular receptacle of obligations is, so leave it tucked in a drawer and just assume that the people who need you will find you.
9. And then go ring doorbells. Pop by! Be in the neighborhood.
10. Organize a giant dinner with your friends. Declare a headwear theme and make it mandatory. Bring disposable cameras and leaves cells in purses and pant pockets.
11. Write down your favorite part of the day every single night. Write it anywhere except in your phone: on napkins, on roommates, on hands. Just as a reality check. The good kind.
12. Wear swimwear regardless of the context. I mean it. Go put your bathing suit on right now.
13. Take an hour and read. Do it outside by a tree or on a bench or in a stranger’s living room, but do it. Sometimes there is nothing more luxurious than reading crinkly paper pages that you actually have to turn as opposed to pushing a column of words up a screen with your thumb.
14. Eat ice cream. Even if you’re lactose intolerant. Just this once!!
15. Play hookie.
16. Have a summer fling…with anything.
17. Buy ONE SPECIAL ITEM that will make you remember summer 2016.
18. Put on music and dance around naked.
19. Soothe yourself with the truth that you actually do like fall, and you wouldn’t totally mind getting back into a routine…
20. But then one more time, repeat to yourself: summer isn’t over yet. I am still deep inside of the warm and happy ice cream-coated belly of August. Summer — just as it was on May 30th and June 20th and July 1st — is here.
Photographed by Krista Anna Lewis; creative direction by Emily Zirimis.