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"Here's how to make this summer *actually* feel like summer"

This letter from GL's editor Karen Bokram appears in our June/July 2021 issue. The opinions expressed here are her own...

image: @kiragregory

If there ever was a summer when the world needs summer, it’s *this* summer. You know all those cliché things we say when we talk about summer? Can’t wait to feel the sand between my toes, listen to the waves crash, grab a Strawberry Shortcake bar from the Good Humor truck. Yeah, bring ’em on.

After a year spent mostly at home deep-diving Netflix, it may seem counter-intuitive to suggest that we all could really use a break. But sitting on your couch enduring an anxiety-inducing, soul-draining pandemic is hardly the same as lying on the beach with your besties, deciding whether you should go grab some curly fries (answer = you should).

It’s been exactly a year since I first wrote about COVID-19. And every issue since then, I have hoped it was going to be the last. But, as we all sadly know, the pandemic is far from over. Variant cases are surging—making vaccines for all a priority, masks still a must and, yes, please keep stocking up on hand sanitizer.

But having said that, it’s time to press pause. While staying smart, make this summer *feel* like summer. And give yourself permission to let yourself feel like, well, you.

For some girls, that might mean packing their days with as much fun as humanly possible: Waking up for a sunrise hike with sis before heading to STEM camp then catching up with the crew for an afternoon poolside before an evening barbecue with the fam and a late-night bonfire with bae.

But for others, it might mean sleeping late, making a fresh berry smoothie then just lying in a backyard hammock with a book you are kind-of-sort-of-mostly reading when you aren’t simply staring at the clouds as they float by.

In years past, I’d fantasize about all the things I was “going to do this summer.” My list involved places I wanted to go (can’t wait to get to Northern Michigan), people I wanted to see (faraway family and friends), things I wanted to accomplish (finally nailing my backhand) and stuff I wanted to do (invariably, making a blueberry pie).

Then fast-forward to Labor Day...and somewhere between 50% and 75% of my list would remain undone (never did make that pie). Somehow, summer just always seemed to slip away.

The pandemic has given us a few silver linings: one of them that we’re better able to appreciate all those things we took for granted. Another: realizing just how special summer really can be.

So dig out your “perfect summer” mental bucket list and pencil in those priorities. (Swim team? Your fly is going to be fire. A camping trip with your fam? Don’t forget the s’mores. Your veggie garden? Those tomatoes look like prizewinners to us.)

Then also give yourself permission to say no to anything that doesn’t serve you (that 50-mile bike ride your crew wanted to do seemed like a good idea in the spring, but hard pass).

This is the summer we all need to rest, reboot and recharge in whatever way works for each of us. To slow down (or speed up) as we wish. To center, to celebrate, to connect (even if it’s just with yourself and your cat).

Summer used to be so sacred that people used it as a verb (“I’ll be summering at the shore!”). And I think, like all old trends, it’s time to bring this one back. As for me, I’ll be summering in my kitchen, baking that blueberry pie.


by GL | 6/1/2021