Five Summer Things We Did Before the Internet

I love the internet, and I love my blog, goodness knows, but I also love summer, and The Great Outdoors. (After all that's where I live, I am an owl.)  What did we do before the internet?!  I shudder to think.  But sometimes I know it's good to unplug, and here are some great suggestions from Pat (our blogger Pat, as in Patricia, not our Weekly Positive Pat, as in Patrick!)

Do you ever think: What did I do before there was e-mail and the Internet to occupy so much of my time?

Sometimes it seems like life is moving so fast that it’s difficult to even be fully aware that it’s  even summer except when looking at the calendar or complaining about the heat. Isn’t this supposed to be the time of year when we can slow down and take it easy? Maybe we’d all be better off if we could reach back to those times before the Internet and E-mail, and try to find ways to relax and restore without electronics.

Here are some suggestions for five ways to unplug and find your way back to an old-fashioned, lazy summer with family, friends or solo, even if only briefly:

Walk: Yes, step outside, and purposely set out on foot somewhere just to enjoy what nature has to offer. If the temperatures are uncomfortably high during the daytime, consider a leisurely stroll or a more spirited hike in the early morning hours or the evenings. Even a walk around your neighborhood or the boundaries of your property can help you pause to appreciate your surroundings. Along with reconnecting with the environment or those who are accompanying you, you might also reconnect with your neighbors. Summer is a wonderful time to explore, whether it’s your own backyard or new locales. They can be urban areas or more remote environs, or maybe both.

Play: Rediscover your inner child. Do a jigsaw puzzle, play a board game, organize a contest of hide-and-seek outside or in, host a card game, throw a Frisbee, get on the golf course, make a sand castle. Sometimes it’s fun to also watch other people play – whether it’s youth baseball, a free concert in the park, a road or car race, or a tennis game. You get the idea. There are a myriad of ways to enjoy play without electronics that are cheap and fun.  And definitely find a way to go swimming – in a pool, lake, ocean, mountain stream, wherever, at least once before fall.

Read: The height of luxury for me always has been to be able to sit and read a book uninterrupted. Even today, I peruse suggested lists of “beach reads” for fun, easy-reading escapes even if I can’t make it to a stretch of real sand. When my children were young, each summer the family would choose a novel-length book for the parents to take turns reading aloud at night. For a few summers, we all looked forward each evening to the next chapter of whatever version of “Harry Potter” we were enjoying. If you don’t want to read an entire book, why not allow an intriguing magazine or even a newspaper to distract you from reality for a while?

Sleep: Spend one night sleeping someplace new – a hotel, cabin, tent, at a friend or relative’s house, on your back porch or make a tent from sheets and sleep in your living room. Just taking a brief vacation from your regular sleeping quarters might even make you appreciate them more. If possible, sleep with the windows open and let the evening breezes cool you and then awaken to the early morning sounds of birds. And take naps during the day if you want to feel truly indulgent. Lots of studies say that not only do brief siestas refresh you, they also make you substantially more productive.

Eat and Drink: Summer offers a greater bounty of fresh foods to enjoy than in any other season.  Plant a garden in your backyard, a community area or just water a vegetable plant or pot of herbs on your porch, deck or windowsill. Pick blueberries, strawberries or another variety of fruit.  Buy fresh vegetables from a farm stand or your local grocery store. Eat whatever foods represent summer to you, whether it’s fresh tomatoes, corn on the cob, hotdogs, lobsters, or something else. Eat outside. And definitely drink lemonade or another favorite summer drink. Sometimes just one frosty glass is enough to make you truly feel like it’s summer.






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