If you haven’t finished out the school year yet, you’ve probably got no more than a week or two left and then about three months of downtime—that’s roughly 2,200 hours, minus sleeping, working, and perspiring under a beach umbrella. Managing that free time can seem like an unfair responsibility—you’re supposed to be relaxing, aren’t you? You could stress out over the challenge of covering all your bases: “Let’s see, that’s 90 minutes of flag football, a week at Jake’s cabin, 20 consecutive hours of ‘Lost’ on DVD…” or you could choose one of the following occupations and sink your entire summer into one colossal activity:
This must be what Batman feels like. Wingsuit flyers are the only people who can actually laugh at skydivers for being cowardly. And since it takes plenty of practice and a skydiving license to pursue this most extreme of sports, you can count on June through August being booked. Best of all, when people ask you what you did all summer at the beginning of next school year you can say, “Oh, nothing, except that I FLEW THROUGH THE AIR AT HUNDREDS OF MILES PER HOUR.”
You could easily spend all summer reading, but Marcel Proust’s 7-volume mega-novel is one of the only ways you could reasonably spend all summer reading the same book. It’s not the world’s longest novel by any means (check out Henry Darger’s 15,000-page life’s work In the Realms of the Unreal), but this is the longest one that you can actually buy in a store (or carry back and forth from the library if you’ve got a strong back).
Jumping out of airplanes and dead French novelists not your thing? Why not learn a lifelong practical skill and art? Too many people (and seemingly more men than women) couldn’t fry an egg without starting a kitchen fire. And the longer you go without basic culinary skills the longer you’ll go through life microwaving dinner (be sure to remove the shrinkwrap first). But with a whole summer ahead of you, why stop at just the basics? Impress your lunch table with a delicious glazed salmon! Woo a date with vegetable dumplings prepared from scratch! The world is your oyster, served with a tomato reduction and a side of artichoke hearts.
Meditation has all sorts of benefits, from improved memory to better emotional health to automatically having something in common with celebrities. Transcendental meditation won’t fill up your whole summer (it’s usually practiced for about 20 minutes a day), but that’s probably the best time to start if there are too many distractions during the school year. OMMMMMMMMMMMMMM.