I’ve come to an important realization this summer vacation – specifically, that I hate being on vacation. Allow me to explain.
This past week has been my first “true” vacation week of this summer, as, prior to this week, I'd been working an almost-full-time job (i.e. 8:00 to 15:30, five days a week) with my high school’s summer school program. Thus, for the past seven days, I’ve been meandering aimlessly about my house, with the luxury of doing nothing. Or, more correctly, with the opportunity to fill my newfound leisure time with whatever sort of “nothing” I so choose. Let’s take a quick look at the sorts of things I’ve been up to:
• Watching/reading the low-quality clickbait on my Facebook feed
• Eating ice cream
• Bothering my sister
• Practicing the same segments of the same songs on piano (too lazy to learn the rest of them)
• Destroying my Overwatch competitive rating (Kiang#11840 if you want to add me!)
• Conquering Gandhi before he nukes me (translation: playing way too much Civ5)
• Doing literally nothing (i.e. standing/laying completely still and halting all meaningful thought)
• Getting up, opening the refrigerator, staring listlessly at nothing, and sitting back down in front of my laptop (repeats on a twenty-minute cycle)
• Walking aimlessly about the house (then continuing one of the above activities)
Now, however fun and exciting these activities may be in the moment, they are always overshadowed by an ever-growing, all-consuming feeling of mediocrity and underachievement; I grow further and further disgusted with myself for every loot box and every Facebook comments section I open. I feel culturally sparse as I spend my days consuming precious resources (time and food) and producing nothing. I hate doing nothing, and I hate feeling useless. And yet, I am stuck in a rut.
Melodrama and exaggeration aside, I’ve realized that I enjoy being busy. It gives me something to do, and I always feel accomplished at the end of the day. I might be tired, I might be hard-pressed for free time, but that just means that I enjoy my free time all the more, and I use it more wisely. I’m getting better all the time at self-discipline and self-motivation, but the truth is that I feel much better about myself when I’m doing useful things with my life – and I am much more likely to actually complete said useful things when there’s someone (i.e. someone who is not my future self) relying on me to do them. I am a workaholic with a nonexistent work ethic. I love doing work, but I hate getting started.
In any case, it’ll be about a month before the next time I’ll have the guided productivity I thrive off of. Until then, I’ve got to manage my work ethic on my own – and to help with that, I’ve made a list of useful, fulfilling things to do with my summer! I figured some of you might be having a similar problem as I am, and I needed a good clickbait-y title, so here it is! Without further ado, I present – Seven Steps to a Satisfying Summer!
1. Make food! Making anything fills me with a sense of achievement, and what better thing to make than something that I can later devour? Not only does this shatter the monotony of ramen, pizza, and ice cream, but it also gets me up and moving around. There are lots of easy recipes on the internet, so easy that even I can’t mess them up!
2. Teach yourself something! Back when I was actually trying to get better at it, learning piano off the internet was very fulfilling. But why stop at piano? There are Youtube tutorials on everything nowadays – guitar, cooking, astronomy, programming drawing, history, calculus and even language, just to name a few. Learning new things is immensely satisfying. I highly recommend it.
3. Go outside! Reasons to go outside include: meeting friends, eating at a cool new restaurant, getting the supplies you need for step one, watching a movie/play/musical/opera, chilling at a café, and, of course, Pokémon Go. Even if none of those ideas sound appealing to you, I highly recommend chilling at a café anyway – personally, I am far more productive at cafés because there’s less to get distracted by (and no cat to come sit on my laptop while I’m working). Sometimes a simple change of scenery can be really helpful.
4. Exercise! That’s right, you heard me! Pushups and the vast majority of abdominal workouts can be done at home, and many houses even have a set or two of dumbbells lying around somewhere, and if you're lucky, sometimes there'll be a long-forgotten treadmill or elliptical. Or you could just go outside and walk around. Catch a few Pokémon, if that's your thing. It might be a lot of work, but I’ve found it almost impossible to not feel awesome after exercising and taking a shower.
5. Start a project! Something you’d feel proud of later (e.g. not a Netflix binge). Some ideas: Write a screenplay/blog post/novella/song/treatise/poem. Make a survey and put it up on social media. Study online, as per step two. Read a book and author a response. Put your life’s philosophy into writing. Start a YouTube series. Get better at chess (or learn Go, which I personally highly recommend). Watch some of the classic movies that people always talk about (still haven’t seen Forrest Gump or Citizen Kane myself!) – et cetera.
6. Work on your college survival skills! This doesn’t just apply to high-schoolers and soon-to-be Jumbos. Whether you’re a first-year or a fourth-year, there are always important independent-living skills to be discovered or refined. Do you know the fastest way to fold a shirt? How to clean a toilet? How to write a check? Can you do your own laundry? Do you have a professional-looking résumé
7. Do touristy things in your hometown! Specifically, what can you do in your hometown that you won’t be able to do once you venture off/return to college? I’m from Honolulu, so the answer is easy – lounging on the beach and eating poke (raw fish and rice and some other stuff – my favorite)! If there’s anything exclusive to your area (like the local cuisine), be sure to enjoy it as much as you can!