For 275 days each year, the world wants you to work late, go to bed early, and spend all your free time binge-watching British TV dramas until you hallucinate crumpets and subtle domestic conflict. But come summertime, things change. The world takes its panties off and starts living.
You need to get summery, stat. Here are 5 ways to snap out of the winter funk and start writing the story of your summer. And pairing all of them with the summery adult beverage known as Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey is highly recommended.
Yes, the outdoors is home to all your major summertime enemies: mosquitoes, humidity, the pigeon who stole your hot dog that one time. But spending time outside is worth all those potential run-ins with treacherous wildlife: the openness and freedom of nature can make you happier (even if you're only out for five minutes), and the sunshine can help you remember that there's a world out there beyond celebrity Instagrams and decoding subtweets. So take your next group outing out-of-doors — plan a cocktail night under the stars, or set up a grown-up picnic (adult beverages included). And this time, you are guarding that hotdog with your LIFE.
In the colder months, it's all too easy to fall out of the social groove, limiting your interactions with friends to texting or posting on their walls while you hang out at home, order in, and swipe left. But summer's long days and casual (ahem) attitude toward work provide the opportunity to actually see your friends. Like, in person. Schedule some together time in big chunks — wide-open evenings and afternoons — and see where the day takes you. Go to some free outdoor concerts, try that new bar with the big backyard, just wander . Use the summer to set a pattern of prioritizing friends and fun that maybe next year, you'll hold onto when it starts to freeze.
A great summer hinges on hanging with friends, trying new things, and creating awesome moments. So it's only logical that combining all three of those things should yield triple the awesomeness, right? Introduce your work friends to your college friends, your college friends to your high school friends, your high school friends to your friends from that weird wok-cooking workshop you took, and see what happens. Throw a barbecue or themed drinks night and try new cocktails made with Jack Honey. Kick back and enjoy the surprise of seeing who gets along with who, and how your social circle expands throughout the rest of the year (note: if this experiment ends in you being invited to tons of unexpected baby showers next April, don't blame me).
A solidly crafted summer playlist will do more than just give you something to throw on when your friends stop by (you're going to have your friends stop by a LOT this summer, remember?); it'll also remind you of the summer fun you had, when, months from now, you're huddled hopelessly in front of a space heater, wondering how much more eggnog you're going to need to get through your Aunt Greta's all-cat Christmas pageant.
Poll your friends for new music you might have missed or classics you might have forgotten, consult a list of summer jams past for inspiration, and pick out some bouncy, fun songs that you'll associate with summer 2014 for the rest of your life. Trust me, it'll do more than just amp up your good times now — you'll appreciate it most when Aunt Greta's cats start spitting up tinsel.
In summer, as in the rest of life, there are plenty of opportunities to accidentally get mixed up with some heinously boring stuff — bad movies, dull restaurants, that one girl you know from college who is always going on about how you guys have to get together and "have tea." So make this summer a time to practice liberating yourself from everything dull. Don't be ashamed to prioritize the fun and exciting over the monotonous — everyone will understand, because it's summer.
Now that you are as summery as beachy waves and slo-mo beach-running, show off your summer self (and/or selfies) in the Jack Honey photo challenge. Head here for details on how you could win a trip to play extended warm-weather hooky.
Gabrielle Moss has written mostly funny stuff (but also some serious stuff) for GQ.com, The Hairpin, Nerve, etc. You can follow her here.