As a student, summer is the time of year that I use to try and give myself some, “methodical self-evaluation,” or in less pretentious terms, “Hey, let’s figure out what we should do this summer so you don’t eat and sleep all day.” Summer is the season to look back on what has been done and either try to build upon that or let the knowledge dry up like a wrinkled whale on the beach.
For myself, I hope I don’t end up like a beached mammal this summer.
Unfortunately, unless I actually write something down and truly flesh out an idea, the millions of thoughts swarming in my heard drastically turn into a conglomerate of mushy forgotten aspirations.
And even then, I cannot count the exasperating amount of goals that have been thrown aside for things that I deem more important at the time; such as taking a leisurely nap or watching terrible shows on the television.
I mean, what’s more satisfying than making a dent on a comfy couch and stuffing yourself with stale Cheeto’s?
But this summer, my goal is to remain adequately productive while also enjoying the three months of free time that I am desperately clinging on to.
And so with that, I present my summer plans and invite you to also share yours. After all, one is more likely to complete a goal if they have shared it with another. Or they can both procrastinate and sit in their own glory of not completing something (which can sometimes be satisfying all by itself.)
1. Blog more often and enjoy it
I enjoy writing. I really do, as hopefully made obvious by the theme of this blog, the title, etc etc. However, during the school year, I found myself remaining stagnant and everytime I came up with an idea, it would only turn into a paragraph and then I would quickly give up.
I feel like people often have this when it comes to writing. Whether it be essay or fictional story, people are quick to give up on writing. This may derive either from being forced to write in our jobs and at school, and so when we actually have free time, writing is the last thing in our mind mind. It also stems from our lack of endurance and concentration. Writing is one of the most difficult things to do; requiring complete concentration and large amounts of time.
That doesn’t sound appealing at first, but stemming off from my existing love of the written word, hopefully I’ll practice and become a consistent blogger.
2. Write Better
Writing a bunch of junk doesn’t really hold much in comparison to writing a high quality piece. However, improving is just so difficult. I’ll read a piece someone else has written and swoon over it, making it a goal to have my writing reach the same level of capability.
But like everything else, it takes practice and persistence to achieve quality in a skill. I wish that it was as simple as reading a book or spending a rigorous few weeks following step-by-step instructions, but it is so much more than that. While in college, it may have been difficult to find time for this, so hopefully the summer will bring a breath of fresh air into my work.
3. Be kinder to myself
As cliche as it sounds, we are our own worst critic. Sometimes I question how this happened to us. Is it because of our self-centered society that we think everyone is analyzing our every move? Or is it because we end up with such low self-esteem that it’s difficult to properly recognize our accomplishments?
For the past few weeks, I’ve been beating myself up over decisions I’ve made such as: not going to journalism school, not applying for a writing job, not having any internships under my belt… literally the list could go on and on. And when I whine and complain about my problems, it’s easy for my friends to point out my accomplishments but still impossible for me to recognize them. Sometimes, it gets to the point where I question everything I do and I start wondering, why bother?
Like this blog post for example. I thought of the idea, then told myself it was dumb, then wrote a paragraph and then quit because I felt stupid writing this.
Beating yourself up does not progress you as a person; it makes you give up. Embracing your flaws and feeling proud of your accomplishments builds yourself up to the point where you feel like you deserve to better yourself.
Think of a person that you know who always has negative things to say about themselves. Where are they in their life? Now think of a person you know who is proud of themselves. Where are they in comparison to the other person?
Now I just need to take my own advice.
4. Get physically fit
I hate exercising. I hate going outside and running. I hate doing sit-ups. I hate everything about physical fitness.
However, I can’t deny the nice feeling that I get after working out in the gym for an hour. Nor can I deny that a large percentage of the population is overweight and that this is costing our country a lot of money.
A lot of the things we hate doing better ourselves in the end. Laundry, studying, exercising; the list goes on and on. It’s these things that we need however, the stuff that sucks but is good for us. It weeds out the strong from the weak, those with endurance and persistence and those without.
When it comes to cleaning however… That’s a whole different story.
5. Try out food style photography
Along with doing things we hate that are good for ourselves, sometimes we need a dose of something that we love but does not have much beneficial value (or at least in the eye of the beholder.)
I grew up in a restaurant and I’m an avid foodie. I will literally eat about anything that you put in front of me, no matter the style or type. In The New York Times, the dining section is one of my favorites for a prime reason alone:
The pictures of food.
If someone tries to tell me that the pictures of food in The Times are not gorgeous, I will turn a deaf ear and continue to stare at the exquisiteness of the pictures.
The lighting, the colors, the contrasts of sharp and soft and the beautiful dining equipment; it all makes my heart pitter-patter.
And so I want to try out food style photography (as seen by my picture of my exquisite breakfast of eggs at the top.) I won’t get anything out of it other than enjoyment… unless NY Times wants me to be their newest food style photographer, to which I will say, I am more than willing to move.
But its just the mere pleasure of trying something new that I’ll enjoy that makes it a good summer goal. After everything is said and done, isn’t enjoying yourself and bettering yourself really what summer break is all about?