Your summer bucket list is calling, and there's still time to answer

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This summer I was inspired to create a "summer bucket list" for my boys. A true bucket list is a personal compilation of goals and aspirations to be completed within a lifetime, but a summer bucket list focuses on enjoyable, simple activities to be done within the span of warmer months. In my house these activities required the outdoors to be involved whenever possible.

My family's previous summers had involved fun activities, but we did not have an official list. This year I upped the ante and tangibly kept track of the fun we were having by creating a cutesy poster with hand-drawn pictures to be checked off when completed. Totally over the top thanks to a few too many conversations with friends coupled with a jaunt through Pinterest, that ever-inspirational online site. What do you expect from me? I had a milestone birthday this year and my youngest entered kindergarten; I coped by trying to make each summer day as outrageously magical as possible.

Now summer has mostly drawn to a close and the report out is this:

1: My children say they had a fantastic summer, as great as any year in memory.

2: My heart still hurts a bit when I think of both my boys in school.

Kind of begs the question: so was the bucket list worth it? Yes, yes it was. Will I do it again next summer, who knows, but it did it's job this year and kept me and my family focused on positive points. Indirectly it accomplished something further: it showcased for me that as an adult, I too have a summer bucket list. My list isn't half as adorable as the one I created for my boys, but it is there just the same, encompassing outdoor activities and encouraging me to carve time into my day to be stress free, outside enjoying life. It doesn't hang as a hand drawn poster, but rather resides as bullet points in my head. (Granted, bullet points that I tend to regularly overlook.)

Here is an example: Recently my husband and I had the day to ourselves. We spent the beginning of it getting odds and ends done and then had lunch out. Over lunch we began to plan the second half of our day and out of nowhere I panic over how we need to go blueberry picking. Like, right now! So we try one spot and it's closed for ripening, then we call another and they are closed for the season, but the third try leads us out to Newfane, picking at Dutton Berry Farm on the final day of their blueberry season.

Every single summer I need to pick the strawberries and the raspberries and the blueberries that fill my jam jars and freezer. I know this, but sometimes the urgency of it all sneaks up on me. As adults there are so many thoughts floating in our heads that only the most aggressive tend to get noticed; in my case I remember to make an eye doctor appointment, but I don't remember that now is the time to pick blueberries. Both activities carry importance in my life, but if I don't review my internal list it guarantees that I will only make it to the eye doctor appointment.

How to ensure equal homage to our outdoor summer goals along with all the usual life obligations? By paying better attention to our mental bucket list, of course! Consequently, here are a few more summer bullet points of mine:

- Bike to work.

- Nap in a hammock.

- Pick the herbs from my garden and hang to dry for winter use.

- Hang the new bat box outside.

- Hike a trail.

What I'm getting at is that in the summer we all keep some sort of bucket list in our minds. With the season drawing to a close take a minute to pan over what is in your thoughts and make a valid effort to balance the necessary mundane with the inspirational outdoors. There is still time to run with the dog along the creek. Still time to catch a concert on the green, or host a pool party.

Do it soon though because change is in the air: autumn will be rolling in, and you know what that means? A fall inspired mental bucket list will wiggle its way into our thoughts, this time maybe even onto a cutesy, hand drawn poster. Indeed, I am pretty good at drawing pumpkins.

Tina Weikert lives in Bondville.

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