This year, it felt like winter would never end. Here in the great North West, we were all feeling a little down for the lack of warmth and sunshine. Now that summer is here, I know that it will go by too quickly – it always does.

That’s why I am eager to create a season that will fill my heart and head with pleasant memories that reflect these long, lovely days. For me, the best way to do that is to reach out to friends, neighbors and family and share summer time with them. Here are some of the things that I like to do.

Eating Outdoors

Throughout my area, cafes and coffee places create outdoor seating in the summer months. Having lunch – or just an iced tea – with a girlfriend under a big umbrella is one of my favorite things to do, especially if we can stroll around afterward and window shop. It doesn’t feel like summer until I enjoy having a meal or a little snack in a sidewalk café.

 
 

Water Aerobics Class

A couple of years ago, I discovered that my local pool has a late-in-the-day water aerobics class. This non-weight bearing exercise is easy on the joints and gives you a good workout.

And I find that the added benefit of deep relaxation once you get out of the pool makes for a good night’s sleep.

I have shared this exercise with my husband and a neighbor, laughing through most of the class. Being in the water and bouncing around makes me feel like a little kid.

A class like this usually has regulars, so you might make new friends if you keep showing up. This makes the top ten list for “joyful things to do in the summer.”

Photographing Flowers

There is probably a street or a park in your area that has wonderful flowers. An early morning walk with any kind of camera (I use the one on my phone) taking pictures of the flowers and the flowering bushes makes me feel grateful for the beauty in the world.

This can be a solitary endeavor or one that you do with someone else. And, you may want to post your pictures online for others to see.

Cloud Watching

One of my all-time favorite summer activities is to find a place to stretch out – a lawn, a lounge chair, a hammock – and watch the clouds move across the sky. Be sure to look for castles, animals and other objects in the clouds.

They are always there, changing shapes, until they become diaphanous wisps. This activity, when shared with young children, makes keepsake memories for them, too. Who doesn’t want the legacy of being the grandma that shared cloud watching?

Early or Late Day Walks

I love to walk. I purchased a little book that lists all of the hiking trails in my area of the state. It’s an adventure to try new trails. Finding trails where there is water in the form of a stream, river or lake is the best.

Pack a lunch bag and plan a day of walking, taking in the beauty of where you live. Make sure that you choose the coolest part of the day, and take water with you to stay hydrated.

Make Pops

When I was little, my mom had a set of plastic popsicle shapes. She used Kool-Aid or fruit juice to make popsicles. I have my own set now.

I mix one can of non-fat coconut milk, a bag of frozen blueberries and about 12 drops of liquid stevia in a blender, then pour it into the pop molds and freeze. The calorie count is about 60 per pop. You can use whatever kind of sweetener or fruit that suits you best.

Sitting outside in the late evening, sharing popsicles with a neighbor, a family member or a friend is a summer delight of which I will never grow tired.

What are your favorite summer activities? These are some of the ways that I like to share summer. What kinds of things do you like to share with others in the summer months? Let me know in the comments section. Happy summer, everyone!

Stephanie RaffelockStephanie Raffelock is a novelist and a blogger. In her Sixty and Me column, she explores writing, living fully and loving well. She enjoys literary representation by Dystel, Goderich and Bouret in New York. You can find Stephanie at StephanieRaffelock.com or Tweet her @Sraffelock.

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