Summer is finally here to stay (fingers crossed) and the goal of everyone is to, like always, have an awesome summer. What does that mean, though? What does it mean to have an awesome summer? Does it mean to go to awesome beaches, and have amazing parties, and drink exotic cocktails on an obscure patio in some trendy neighborhood? Maybe, but I want to float out the idea that having an awesome summer (or overall experience) comes down to one simple thing: connection.
Connection is everything. Everything we want and everything we need. Sure, on the surface, these amazing summer activities seem like the bee’s knees, but think about doing them alone, without loved ones around you. A little of the sheen is wiped away, isn’t it?
This summer, don’t worry about what you’re doing, worry about how you’re doing it, and who you’re doing it with. Everything else will fall into place.
CONNECT TO YOUR WORLD…
Every day we wake up, get ready for work, go, come back, eat dinner, and go to bed. Every single day we do this with our heads down and our periphery turned off, and we miss out on having the experiences we want simply because we’re not engaging or connecting with the world around us, were just existing in it. Flip that script. Put your phone away and take in your surroundings on your commute to work. Enjoy the colors, smells, sounds, and energy of everything around you. I know it sounds trite but try to think about how this day is a once in a lifetime opportunity. How it will never come again and we only have one chance to make it worth waking up to.
I live in New York City and if you’ve ever spent time here, you know that our grass has been replaced with subway grates, our trees have been replaced by skyscrapers, and that smell, whatever it is, is not good. Nature is not in abundance here and it would be super-duper easy to lament that and use it as an excuse for our curmudgeonly attitude in the mornings, but it’s, surprisingly, just as easy accept it for what it is. To love it in spite of its shortcomings.
Connecting with our surroundings and seeing them from the objective perspective allows us to find the good – or at least the not terrible – in every situation so we can experience it with ease, and maybe even a smile on our faces.
...AND EVERYONE INSIDE IT
It’s wonderful, and incredibly important to connect with your surroundings, but it’s just as important to connect with the people in your surroundings.
Humans need to connect with other people. It’s how we learn, build relationships, and otherwise exist as capable, functioning members of society. Remove the ability for connection and we slowly start losing ourselves: we start to crumble.
There is nothing wrong with putting your headphones in and walking around in your own little world every now and again, maybe even most now and agains, but there is something so profoundly affecting about interacting with the people around you - so much so that it can immediately put a smile you’re your face – and I encourage everyone to try it.
See someone who looks lost? Ask them if they need directions. Waiting at a crosswalk with someone? Say hi. Like someone’s shoes? Tell them. The amount of joy and vigor that will course through your body after doing this is remarkable. How often do you hear, or say, that you want to meet more people but you don’t know how? This question baffles me because the answer is literally walking right past you on the street.
We see hundreds, if not thousands of people every day and we interact with just a handful. Take a chance. Reach out to one of the scores of people crossing your path today and say hello. The interaction probably won’t last more than a few seconds, but it will lift the cloud of isolationism that hovers over most of us on a daily basis. Connect with the people around you in a positive way and all of a sudden the rainy walk home doesn’t seem that bad.
This summer, don’t ask yourself what you’re going to do. Ask yourself how you’re going to do it.
Until next time – nice shoes.