I had a realization the other day: we can no longer go to camp. We’re too old — older than the counselors-in-training. My 20-year-old self might even appear ancient alongside a senior counselor or two. It’s all over. The waterskiing, the clay-pot throwing, even the Dartmouth sports camps that shot my quads 18 hours in.
And then came a scarier realization: summer in adult land is a season not unlike the other three. Sure, there are beaches and frozen cocktails in this universe. But gone are the unnumbered days: the Saturdays that feel like Wednesdays and the weekends you never knew had arrived.
I was stupefied. So I sat down and did what any somewhat obsessive (my dad calls this solution-oriented) girl in her third decade of life might do: I made a list. A list of seven ways to save summer. Without a time machine.
1. Popsicles: I’m an ice cream person, through and through (get your tart froyo out of here). But while a good soft-serve is welcome even in winter months, popsicles are only for summer, as are multi-colored mouths. Plus, popsicles are low in calories, they come in a million flavors, and as opposed to lollypops, sucking on them isn’t slutty.
2. Sleeping outside: You can do this anywhere. In West Philadelphia, I’d recommend a rooftop. It won’t have all the charm of camping, but the ghost stories will probably be scarier.
3. Cheap beer: You never forget your first one. Mine was a Miller Lite I stole from our pantry in Vermont. I drank it on a golf course and poured half of it out in the bunker while my friends weren’t looking. You can’t do that with the fancy stuff. Like the taste or not, you have to drink the whole thing.
4. Tie-dye: Unlike wearing white, it will never be okay to don tie-dye before Memorial Day (unless you are dressing up as a hippie, a faux pas we’ll deal with in October). But once June arrives and the barbecues begin, tie-dye becomes cool. When I was little, we’d go down to a park every Sunday armed with whatever whites my mom deemed cheap enough to ruin. I still have most of them. Some of the underwear still fit.
5. Naps: Remember rest hour? That post-lunch bout of enforced downtime? Your 10-year old self hated it; your aging body won’t be so stubborn. Summer months are the best time for napping. Days are longer, which means you can shut down for 40 minutes and wake up before dark.
6. Postcards: I’m not into snailmail. There’s nothing charming about letter writing. It takes forever, and no one has good handwriting anymore, anyway. But postcards are another story. They’re cool even if the message isn’t and they look good on your wall. Send me one from Phuket. I’ll shoot you five words from Philly.
7. Love: This one’s sort of trite, but I couldn’t keep it off the list. You don’t have to fall in love this summer, just make it. Seriously. Summer is the best time for sex — however you define that.
That’s it. The list of things we can still do to feel like school’s out and there are no such things as unpaid internships. They all cost under 10 bucks — most of them are free — and I’m sure there are a million more out there. So yes, summer as we knew it is over. We’re never going back to bunkbeds. But for God’s sake, take off your pencil skirt and live a little.
I hope you get laid by Sunday.
Nina Wolpow is a rising College junior from Wellesley, Ma. and editor of Summer Street. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.