15 Commandments of summertime
Summertime is upon us and, as they say, the living is easy. To make the most of this sun-drenched season, I've drafted a few guidelines to ensure I don't spend my days stressing over work, weight or anything other than the next item on my bucket list.
I will go to the beach. Often. And I will drop my vanity on the sand alongside my towel — I won't worry about my makeup-free face or what my coif looks like. I will revel in the salty crunch of the ocean in my hair and the feel of the hot sun on my skin.
I will actually wear my bathing suit — without a cover-up or constant nagging from my subconscious about my jiggly bits.
I will pack a truck bed with blankets and pillows and drive to the nearest open field to stargaze. I will tuck myself into the nook of someone special as we peer together at the vast unknown.
I will go camping at least once. I won't complain about the creepy crawly creatures around me or the lack of indoor plumbing (OK, maybe a little about that one). I will embrace the adventure of being outdoors and liberated from the technology that so often consumes me.
I will break out the rock salt and make homemade ice cream with my kids. I'll let them pick their own fixin's, like my mom let me when I was little.
I will go to a water park and, atop an over-inflated inner tube, fly screaming through dark tunnels, explode into a pool and bob like a cork before toppling into the water. I will languidly drift in the lazy river for hours on end, only breaking to reapply my SPF.
I will load my car down with bottled water, trail mix and a bag of clothes and take that road trip I've been talking about since college. I'll while away the miles listening to audio books and mixed CDs, and I'll stop — without stressing about an agenda or schedule — at every odd attraction along the way.
I will build an epic sand castle. I've watched the online tutorials. I've pinned the tips. If you see a giant mermaid of mythical proportions carved in the sand, stop by and say hello... 'cause I totally made it.
I will throw a Fourth of July beer-b-q that would make even George Washington shed a patriotic tear. I will drape anything that isn't moving in red, white and blue bunting, and I'll serve up Americana in the form of slices of apple pie and bottles of craft beer.
I will create the ultimate summer playlist to see me through everything from backyard parties to hazy days mowing the lawn. It will be filled with feel-good anthems spanning all genres, from country crooner Frankie Ballard's "Helluva Life" to Scottish DJ/producer Calvin Harris' "Summer."
I will fall asleep in a hammock, with my nose buried in the dog-eared pages of a beach read. And, no, I won't care if someone catches me lost in an indulgent world woven by Janet Evanovich.
I will go to a baseball game. I will eat a hot dog and drink cheap beer. I will cheer for my team loudly and, perhaps, even slightly obnoxiously. I may even order nachos. Hey, when in Rome, right?
I will buy a puzzle and spend all summer slowly putting it together. I will place it on a table and watch as the hands of family and friends pass over the pieces, searching for the perfect fit.
I will catch fireflies in a mason jar, like a Rockwellian portrait of southern summer that has come to life. I will stand in the hazy glow of flickering insects and marvel at nature's wonder.
I will run through the sprinklers. Or fling myself down a Slip 'N Slide in a tangled splash of tan legs and childlike abandon. I will remember the simply joy of a cooling spray on a humid summer day.