Summer Bucket List(s): Then vs. Now

School is coming—or is it? I guess it depends on where you’re at in life. Regardless, summer is fleeting. 

As a kid, summers were different. Some summers, we had nannies. Becky was one, Elizabeth another, Sophie another. Becky wouldn’t let me have an ice cream sandwich like the other kids until I jumped off the diving board ( the other kids). I cried. Elizabeth called us goobers and canned homemade jam. Sophie fed us Bison burgers and taught us the art of Mento/Coke rockets. 

At the start of those summers, we’d get a ride to Rite Aid to buy a foam core board, a fresh pack of markers, and glitter glue. And then we’d go at it—decorating the poster with summer excitement, ideas, goals, wishful not-gonna-happens, etc. It was our bucket list—THE bucket list of the year.

“Go to the waterpark”

“Have a bake-off”

“Build a raft and paddle to the island across the bay”

“Kiss a boy”

I used to love summer reading. The town library had a specific summer reading program that involved prizes—the more books you read, the better the prizes were (as one would hope). Erasers, bouncy balls, finger traps—to disposable cameras, Sudoku books, earbuds, etc. The ultimate prize was an iPod Nano. You would be entered into the running for this prize if you hit a certain milestone in terms of number of books. I can’t remember just how many it was, but I never made it to that level. 

Other ≤ age 13 bucket list activities included: 

  • Catch a firefly
  • Lemonade stand
  • Water balloon fight
  • Breakfast for dinner
  • See a shooting star
  • Berry picking
  • Picnic
  • Camping + s’mores
  • Tye-dye shirts


Obviously—life changes. I would claim for the better, but it’s undoubtedly true that it gets both better and worse. Life happens, as does shit, excitement, pleasure, anxiety, bliss, dread, etc.

For me, at age 20, my summer life has become about: 

  • Noon - midnight = evening
  • “It’s going too fast but the days are so long—so slow. I’m not doing enough, but I’m doing too much."
  • The point in the day in which popping open a bottle of wine is ‘appropriate’
  • F*ck a 'bikini body' (there’s no way Em Rataagfsjgladskaga is real)
  • “Do I want to get up today? Can I get up today?”
  • Mockingly beautiful weather Ugh, should I workout? Go to the beach? Do something with my life?
  • Do I want to travel instead of go back to ________? Should I just take off? Where to? With what money? Do I want kids? Do I need more space? Should I quit caffeine?

…and other mind-dulling, existential contemplations.

Although, some summer hopes don’t change with age:

  • Build a sandcastle
  • Dance in the rain
  • Journal & write poetry
  • Homemade pizza night
  • Drive-in movie
  • Go to a ball game
  • Farmer’s market
  • Learn a new board game
  • Pick wildflowers


I enjoy carrying on with the bucket list tradition. So, I figured I’d share some of this summer’s list (or just random thoughts/goals that I created for myself). Not all were charted pre-summer—some were written during, some now.

  • Enjoy 4pm—the in-between. Strange yet beautiful and emotional. 
  • Master making sangria
  • Save some freaking money
  • Make homemade dumplings and/or spring rolls
  • ‘Self-care Sundays’—ha.
  • Eradicate life's negativity
  • Clear out email inboxes. Really.
  • Actually hang out with people—'Put myself out there'
  • Try to keep plants alive
  • Go out for ___________ (fill in the blank with all the foods you can possibly think of)
  • Learn how to use power tools
  • Buy new bras and underwear. Again, really.
  • Read a book that’s in the house. Don’t go buy a trendy new-release. Read one of Mom’s old faves. 
  • Miss Manhattan
  • Revise resume. Then do it again. Proofread a lot.
  • Establish favorite emojis
  • Eat a dessert that doesn’t sound good—like flan.
  • Fix my signature
  • Indulge in some food nostalgia
  • Limit time spent on social media
  • Sleep for 8+ hrs. There is no reason not to—YOU HAVE THE TIME!
  • Numerous nacho nights
  • Practice eye shadow
  • Make a cheesecake. And a photogenic cheeseboard.
  • Do a full day of NON plant-based eating
  • Better jeans
  • Floss more
  • Help others

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