Ah, summer. That time when we were kids when the days were endless, the adventures were everywhere, and the sunburns and mosquito bites were aplenty.
When we become adults, however, summer’s magic seems to have gone away. Most of us still work during the summer. Teachers who have the summer off still have their grown-up responsibilities to tend to. Summer, for adults, just becomes another season in the grind, albeit an exceptionally hot one.
So I issue you this challenge, adults.This summer, despite work, despite mortgage payments, despite the fact that some days may be 98 degrees with 4,000 percent humidity — I give you the Adult Summer Throwback Challenge.
Take a step back in time. Remember how awesome summer was? Is it more awesome in your memories than it really was? Probably. Not the point. The point is, this summer, I want each and every one of you to embrace summer and reclaim your lost youth. This summer, I challenge you to:
— Catch a lightning bug. Or 10. My kids catch lightning bugs every summer. And when I join them in the hunt I am suddenly very much not 41 years old. The chase, the catch, the wonderment of holding in your hand this bug that … glows! You will feel 10 again.
— Play in the sprinkler. Again, something my kids do all the time. But when you decide to start hopping through the spraying mist and feel the water splashing down on you, you might as well be in the movie “Cocoon.” You’re instantly young. If a Slip-And-Slide presents itself? Game on. Bonus points if you throw caution to the wind and do it while your kids are doing it, and you don’t shed a bit of clothing, shoes included. Inhibition can be liberating.
— Get in the pool. I know a lot of you GO to the pool. But get in it. Especially with kids. We have a pool in our yard, and my kids are good swimmers. I don’t have to be right there with them. I can sit by the pool and watch them all the while checking Facebook or texting or working a crossword. But when I remind myself that time is short and I get into the pool I reenergize my soul when I engage in a game of Marco Polo or Jump/Dive or How Far Can I Throw a Child in the Water?
— Appreciate a thunderstorm. They roll in in nicely in the summer. Rather than see that as the time for cleaning the house, pull up a chair to the best viewing spot you’ve got and watch nature’s fireworks.
— Sit outside and eat an ice cream cone. Yeah, it’s hot. And the ice cream is melting. But the furious race to beat nature on your quest for a sweet treat — glorious. Double bonus points if it came from an ice cream truck. Triple bonus points if you do it without getting brain freeze.
— Play ball. In my neighborhood, kids are constantly playing baseball, football, volleyball and any other kind of game involving a ball they can imagine. And while it’s fun to have a game of catch with your kid, you don’t have to be around little ones. Grab your mitt. Grab a friend. Go for a catch.
— Watch the sun set. Yes, you can do that in the other three seasons. But with the late fading daylight, take a moment, long after dinner, and wander outside, and watch the sun fade into darkness. And then look for lightning bugs.
— Drink out of the hose. You’ve still got to do yard work. It’s part of the Grown Up Contract we all didn’t realize we signed when we reached our twenties. But when you’re doing yard work and watering the flowers, take a long pull of the garden hose.Yep, it tastes different. I have no idea why. But it tastes like summer — when you were a kid. Even more bonus points if you spray the water in the air and let it rain down on you.
So these are just a few things I hope you’ll do to recapture that summer sensation from when you were a kid. We’re all getting older. But that’s no reason not to feel young, especially during summer. Now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s a lightning bug over there I have to go catch.
Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C. A graduate of the University of Alabama, you can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike.