We’re less than a month out from official summer, which wafts into our lives on June 21—and it’s never a bad idea to come up with an action plan. You’re a grown woman; do some stuff. And if you need help getting started, do what I do and look to a famous person. This year, it’s Lena Dunham, who recently posted a “Summer 2 Do List” on Instagram that has, at the time of this writing, nearly 60,000 hearts.

Her list, which achieves all the things a good summer list should, reads:

Summer 2 Do List

-Grow armpit hair

-Self tan from knees down

-Walk the dog through a group of cool dudes playing basketball and see what happens

-use my feminine powers to get stuff I want like ice tea refills and basketball jerseys

-keep my ovaries working smoothly

-loads of charity

-meet Drake and get a compliment

It’s a solid mix of whimsical (cool dudes playing basketball), opportunistic (use feminine powers for ice tea refills), narcissistic (acquire compliment from Drake), well-intentioned (charity), practical (ovaries) with a little beauty/self improvement thrown in (armpit hair/tan legs).

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Most of us can pull everything on this list off, barring the final entry (of course, I don’t know your life) and none of it seems that hard. Which is the point of a summer to-do list. (OK, maybe most of us can’t do loads of charity, but we could do loads of laundry? Have loads of fun? Take loads of… clothes to Goodwill?)

I’m usually a big defender of getting older—aging doesn’t occupy many of my thoughts unless it’s the always pleasant realization that I am so much smarter/better/greater than before. However, I will concede that every summer I acknowledge anew that the saddest thing we lose in the cold harsh embrace of the real world is the open, easy summer. I’m not even talking about childhood summers, which are great—honeysuckle and dirt and summer camp and pool parties. I’m talking about college summers, the greatest known summers of all summers.

Let me report from the other side: When you are a grownup, perhaps even with a child or two and a job, the only thing you will ever talk about with regard to summer is:

  1. Whether you are or are not traveling and where and for how long
  2. What your children will be or will not be doing with their summer

Are you bored yet? I’m way out of undergrad and I still sometimes feel fleeting pangs of longing for my totally unplanned college summers of yore, where I didn’t have a real job and the season could be mapped through rock shows, beers, weed, part-time work, the confirmation or sadly inevitable attrition of a crush, and plans toward whatever version of a body of water we could get nearest.

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So I say to you: If you’re young enough to still have a summer worth squandering, squander it the fuck up already. You won’t regret it. The more you shore up in the summer memory bank to reflect back upon once you’re so entrenched in living on the grid that you have to Google the start date of summer, the better off you’ll be. Think of it as insurance against your future boredom. Trust me?

And, if you’re on the other side of a good squander-able summer, I think you can get some of the spirit of it back, it’s just this time you’ll have to force it. Try to make it count by distinguishing it from what it has likely become: Getting in and out of your hot car, having to figure out the exact right mix of cardigans and tank tops to not boil outside and freeze inside at your job, and taking that one trip to that one place so you can tell other adults about it that you will sadly call vacation.

I polled some friends and we came up with a Dunham-inspired mix of things we might do. It’s never going to be the same as a summer where you could sleep until 1:30 p.m. every day if you wanted, work four hours at your restaurant job and then hit the bar all your friends were magically also going to, but you know, it can still feel like you got your summer on, or were at least, ugh, productive (or what the Washington Post calls “unproductively productive”). Try these things on the weekends, if necessary! Adults love that. You could:

  • KonMari more than just your underwear drawer (beware, the backlash has begun)
  • Find equally flattering bikini tops to go with high-waisted bottoms
  • Trade 40 hr/wk job for 30 wk/week
  • Lose 10lb eating only fresh tomatoes for 3 months
  • Stop making margaritas with mix
  • Host cookout using outdoor lighting
  • Determine, then play the shit out of, a song of the summer
  • Continue not cutting my hair
  • Find the perfect sunscreen
  • Topless beach don’t think about it just do it; it’ll be great
  • Consider writing novel; watch Poirot instead
  • Try a new food, food tbd
  • Take sunglasses game to the next level
  • Go to more parties with fires
  • Get IUD
  • Nonstop watermelon
  • Perfect toenail polish every day
  • Moisturize elbow that won’t take moisturizer right
  • Jump off of something into water
  • Read something, maybe
  • Figure out how to grow flowers with minimal effort
  • Get hammock for yard, read book in it
  • Find a hair product that REALLY combats frizz
  • Fine, wear a jumpsuit already
  • Pickup game of kickball in the park
  • Cut the line at a water park to see if the kids say anything
  • Openly drink at a state park
  • Do it behind a shed
  • PICNICS, LOTS OF PICNICS
  • Perfect rosy cheeks without also being sweaty
  • Exfoliate, like, everything on your body
  • Get high and shoot off firecrackers
  • Learn some new firecrackers
  • Start using stationery again, like good, nice stationery
  • Spend an entire day drinking in a lake
  • Consume festival-level drugs without puking
  • Drinks on porches
  • Drinks on stoops
  • Drinks on patios
  • Drinks on roofs
  • Do some buttstuff, why not?
  • Figure out a good wine to take to every party that works for entire season
  • Make out with someone who sells ice cream
  • Get eat out while eating potato salad (JK)
  • Milkshake sex (not JK)
  • Literally get fucked
  • Find a peach that looks exactly like your butt; eat that peach

What else?


Contact the author at tracy.moore@jezebel.com.

Illustration by Tara Jacoby

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