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Summer of '24

Although it's statistically difficult to prove and highly subjective, it's not hard to see why June is considered one of the best months of the year. The days are getting longer, which means more daily opportunities to be in the sun, the entire summer is still on the horizon, school is done, and for many of us, summer vacation plans are a focal point on the near-future calendar.


Another aspect that adds to June's universal appeal is the association of fond memories of summers past, often related to our childhood when months off from school loomed large in front of us, with endless possibilities of fun with our friends awaiting.


Here’s the good news: having the best summer ever isn't the exclusive domain of kids, and the timing is perfect for making 'Summer of 2024' one that you look back on with recollections that rival the top summers of your youth. Remember, you will never be as young as you are right now, so seize the moment and summer!


As always, hope is not a strategy, and some simple planning can help ensure we make the most of the coming months to avoid the relatable Labor Day question of wondering where the summer went.


  • When in doubt, list it out. Even if you're unsure what you would like to do yet, start by making a list of your favorite warm-weather activities that you would most like to see happen to make this the best summer ever. For easy inspiration, think back to your favorite summer memories and get the wheels turning for considering ways to include similar ideas for 2024. Day trips, long weekends, getting together with old friends, a road trip to see fireworks, ice cream nights, an outdoor concert, farmers markets, bike rides, running through the sprinkler, whatever excites you most as a fun focal point, put it on your list.


  • Open your calendar.  As you likely know from experience, time moves increasingly fast as we spend more time on the planet. Life moves rapidly; this is a live production with no rehearsal or re-dos. We significantly increase our odds of turning ideas into reality when we commit to a schedule. Using your list of best summer-ever ideas, start committing them to dates on your June/July/August calendar pages, whether paper or digital. Lock in those activities and save the dates to protect them from the other lower-priority activities popping up and stealing the time away.



  • Get the word out. For any activities involving friends or extended family, send emails or texts (or call!) and communicate the plan while extending the invitation for them to plan on joining you. Of course, the more people involved, the more schedules to coordinate, but getting everyone together is worth the effort. Even if it's a day trip to Dorney Park or a hike at Hawk Mountain, if getting together with old friends is part of your plan, the quality of the hours is more important than the quantity. For your best summer activities that are solo, those are the easy ones; schedule that time with yourself and make it happen!


A final reminder about summer: getting outside greatly benefits our mental health and mood.


The University of Michigan conducted a study involving 600 volunteers from around the US to determine how being outdoors impacted three specific areas: mood, memory, and flexible thinking. The subjects who spent 30 minutes outside on days with high barometric pressure (typically associated with clear and sunny weather) demonstrated improved memory, mood, and flexible thinking. A half-hour outside boosted brain power and happiness compared to the test group that stayed indoors. Also of note in the results was that the test groups required to stay indoors on days with optimal weather conditions showed a decrease in the measured categories.  This finding was attributed to their awareness of being "cooped up" on a perfect weather day and the detrimental effects that knowledge brought. Think of it as summer weather FOMO.


Do your future self a huge favor and make the summer of ‘24 one that provides lifelong memories for you and those you are closest to. Imagine this scenario: it's Labor Day weekend, and instead of scratching your head as to how summer went by so fast, you have a photo album (with actual printed photos!) of all the awesome things you planned for and could do. That's a summer to remember!


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