Hold Onto Summer As Long As You Can

“Hold onto sixteen as long as you can,” John Cougar Mellencamp sings during the “Jack & Diane” bridge in that 1982 classic. To that wide-eyed couple and anyone who will listen, it’s an appeal to find joy as “life goes on.”

After all, the older we get and the more responsibilities we take on, the harder it can seem to simply be present and simply enjoy being alive. Yet, if you ask most centenarians, you’d probably find that there’s something that brought joy to every day, whether it be the song of a bird, a plant to take care of, or even a shot of Bourbon.

From an early age, we learn that summer is freedom. It’s sleeping in, then riding our bikes or skateboards all day, then chasing fireflies at night. It can be for getting away or simply rediscovering the things you love right here in the moment. You could say summer is the great annual reset that reminds us that living isn’t just school or work. It’s also fun and play.

Find The June In January

Just because summer isn’t over doesn’t mean we have to forget the lessons learned in those weeks of possibilities. After all, if we are expected to retain the concepts of one school year to the next or one work assignment to another, shouldn’t we exercise the same amount of discipline in holding on to the insights and revelations of those times when we are less serious? Are the learnings collected at play any less valuable than the learnings gained at toil?

Just because summer is over doesn’t mean you have to give up on fun. There’s the weekend, the times between classes, and the evenings. There are those glorious, little gaps between responsibilities that offer opportunities for joy every day, all through the year.

But that’s only if you seize them.

Every Moment Is An Opportunity

As Special Agent Dale Cooper says to Sheriff Harry S. Truman in Twin Peaks, “I’m going to let you in on a little secret: Every day, once a day, give yourself a present. Don’t plan it, don’t wait for it, just let it happen. It could be a new shirt in a men’s store, a cat nap in your office chair, or two cups of good, hot, black coffee.”

It’s a reminder to spend those delicious, discretionary dollops of detachment that present themselves through the day to simply treat yourself. Do something you like to do when you can, and you may find that you get more enjoyment from something you have to do. And, you will probably be better in the process and find more joy in all your work and play.

So, go ahead and dance and sing along to your favorite song, take that walk around the block, or enjoy the thrill of a few laps in an Italian-made, Formula 1-inspired pro-kart that can reach speeds up to 50 miles per hour. The moment is yours.

Chase summer all year long.