How to Create a Theme for Your Summer (and Why You Really Should)


In an episode of Seinfeld, after discovering that a severance package from the New York Yankees should last him about three months, George Costanza decided to take the summer off, declaring it the “Summer of George.” Some of the activities he engaged in were playing frolf, purchasing a new recliner with a refrigerator in it, and reading a book, from beginning to end (and in that order.)

My buddy Chip Lutz has declared 2009 the “Summer of Play.” Rather than focusing on the things you can’t control, he implores you to control the things that will help you focus on living your life by making time for play.

Apparently the media has decided that this should be the “Summer of Michael Jackson.” Which I guess is a better alternative to their first draft: “The Summer of Wailing and Gnashing of Teeth Over the Economic Meltdown.”

What’s your theme for the summer?

We’re already well into July, and the summer is speeding by. Declaring a theme for yourself is a tangible way to take control over the direction your life is headed. There are many things we can’t control –like the economy, the weather, and the recent phenomenon of celebrities dropping like flies — but dwelling on those things is an open invitation for Adultitis to take over.

I quite like Chip’s “Summer of Play” idea. So far, I have Shamwowed my neighbors, triumphed over my wife in a dizzy bat race, grilled Twinkies and Twizzlers for the 4th of July, enjoyed a pontoon boat ride on Lake Michigan, and competed in a four-course mini-golf tournament with my dad and brothers (finishing second). In a week, I’ll be heading out to Arizona to hang with my speaker friends and visit the Grand Canyon with Lucy and my parents. I’m wrapping things up with a U2 concert in Chicago. Rock on.

Here are some simple steps for creating your own theme in order to annihilate the Adultitis in your life while having the best summer ever.

  1. Decide on a theme. It can be anything, as long as it’s fun. Consider tying it to an interest or hobby, like reading, biking, cooking, or local travel.
  2. Make a list. Generate a list of different things you could do. Come up with more ideas than you can possibly get to; it’s always good to have options, and you never know, maybe your summer theme will stretch into the fall. Load up on little things. A big fat two-week vacation is nice, but a series of small things spread out over the summer is more effective when it comes to consistently keeping Adultitis at bay.
  3. Schedule it. Everyone knows that if something doesn’t get scheduled, it doesn’t get done. Don’t just wait for a random free day. Nature abhors a vacuum, and if you’re like most people, those “free” days have a habit of being filled in with chores and unappealing invitations. Give yourself the opportunity to say, “I already have plans.” Reserve little chunks of time for yourself and maybe mix in a meekend or two.
  4. Share your adventures. Adultitis is very contagious, but so is a childlike spirit. Let your enthusiasm spread to others. Join Chip’s Summer of Play Group, share your stories in the comments below, or post photos on the Kim & Jason Facebook Page. Putting your adventures out there not only can inspire others, but it also gives you the confidence that comes from knowing that you’re living your life on purpose and having fun doing it.

So, what’s your theme for the summer?

Photo credit: dreamymo

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  1. Hey Jason,
    Love the “Summer of Play” idea. Just one problem – what if you’re out of $$dough$$? How about a list of cheap, easy, or free fun, not necessarily in that order?

    P.S. Love the new carousel pic! Makes me want to go to the fair. :0)

    • Glad you like the new header; I think it’s pretty darn cool too. Good post idea — I’ll see what I can do :)

  2. theresa says:

    you know, i happened upon your blog and I decided to comment. I hope you don’t mind. It’s just odd in this great big world to discover that I am not the only one to come up with summer themes. It happened rather randomly to me a few years ago, when I got really into making salsa and decided to call that summer “The Summer of Salsa” in which I perfected a recipe for salsa, which to this day my family shuns jarred salsa all because of that summer and the concoction I created. The next summer became the summer of perfecting the “Gin & Tonic” and last summer I got really into grains, bulghur and quinoa and making pilafs and tabbouleh with them. This summer seems to be the summer of teaching my daughters, 7 & 9 to be more self sufficient and self-reliant. And I may keep trying to perfect the mojito!

    • Theresa — are you kidding? We love getting feedback from people like you! Especially one who seems to be as childlike as you :) Those are some pretty killer summer theme ideas — I especially like the Summer of Salsa!


  1. A JJLer’s August: Summer Learning…

    “A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken.”
    —James Dent
    I’d wager that most of us will agree with Mr. Dent.

    First day of summer by Rob Ireton on Flickr

    So we will…

  2. […] Which is why I love the idea of coming up with a word of the year. Considering I wrote a post about coming up with a theme for your summer, this idea is right in my […]

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