What you planned to do this summer vs. what you actually did
How is it nearly September?
Cast your mind back to the heady days of Spring. The days were getting longer, the air a little warmer and there was a great feeling of expectation. The summer was yours to make of it what you wanted. Apart from a few breaks here and there, it was a blank canvas to paint memories that lasted a lifetime.
But instead of using it to the fullest, to become your best self, you did the same thing you do every year and just wasted it.
Get a tan
You’re more of a ginger-nut than a bronzed beauty, but this year will be different, you told yourself. You’ll dedicate yourself to it – go for walks in your lunchbreak, sit in the garden for hours on weekends slathered in oil whilst reading a book, and you’ll look bloody great. It’s not like you didn’t try – but after ten minutes sweltering in the sun you look like a piece of ham so go inside to watch Netflix instead.
Read books you don’t have time to in the year
You won’t admit it to many people, maybe not even to yourself, but somewhere in your room there’s a journal with a “summer reading list” page that makes you look like a massive douchebag. You may have even briefly posted an Instagram of it in mid-June (artsy shot of a moleskine journal on some grass, your fingers holding the page open, cigarette burning between two fingers, Valencia filter – obviously) before deleting it when nobody appreciated the subtle intellectual vibes of the photo (not enough likes). The list contains: something by Kerouac, something by Hemingway, three books you told people in your tutorials that you read but didn’t, one book of poetry you saw quoted on Tumblr but didn’t fully understand and the original novel of a recent blockbuster film adaptation (original cover though, don’t be crass).
You will not read any of these books this summer.
OK, so you may have brought a deliberately battered copy of a Nabokov classic to the park with a can of Red Stripe, but c’mon, you’ve been pretending it was your favourite since second year and everyone sees through it already. You console yourself by reading four chapters of Eat Pray Love (on Kindle, so nobody knows). Yes. Intellectual.
It was going to be just like Malia in sixth form – quad bikes, beer towers, chundering in the street and necking birds aplenty up and down the strip. It was a simpler time, and you could have recreated it – but you and the boys just aren’t so close anymore, not since you all visited Jonno in Leeds and Briggsy shagged Tim’s missus. Together, you dream of revisiting the Aegean Sea; in reality, you don’t even want to spend a Saturday down the pub with them.
Go to [generic Brixton roof party]
The event popped up on your timeline in like May, when summer seemed to stretch out endlessly before you. You clicked attending and thought, this year, I will get beaut Instagrams on beaut roofs. But when you’re out in the same bar you always go to every night in summer, suddenly it seems like too far away, too much effort and the pics won’t even be that great.
It is May and everyone is talking about travelling. South East Asia? South America yeah? Just off for a few months to find yourself. You liked the STA travel page on Facebook, you read a few brochures, you may have bought some paisley trousers. The summer spanned out of in front of you, a vast expanse of opportunity. But apart from speaking to Hugo and Tilly about whether or not they could stand another stint in Peru, lusting enviously after the Instagrams of your mates who have already fucked off, and “saving” under £50, you have made no attempts towards travelling. You vaguely hope the person you’re seeing – someone who unironically refers to their gap year as a period of “wanderlust” – will help you out in organising this, but they haven’t, and you’re too lazy to do it yourself. Cheer up mate, reading The Dharma Bums in your back garden with a damp rollie is just as good.
Call it self-improvement, call it something in French that I don’t know the words for because I didn’t get past my third day on DuoLingo.
Book a holiday
It’s not like you didn’t have any plans. You had too many plans, really. You’d spend hours in groups googling different flight prices and package deals, until you left it too late and now they’ll cost you two months salary.
Visit that friend you went to uni with
Omg we should def catch up this summer!! – the message gets hollower and hollower each time it’s regurgitated until it’s not even really words anymore. Just a ghostly plastic bag floating in the rainy summer wind.
Have a summer romance
I don’t know how this is supposed to work because you don’t stay on holiday all summer and you already don’t want to go out with everyone at home, but you always think that you’ll find someone perfect for a passionate summer romance. Instead you watch a lot of the Olympics on your sofa while eating Doritos. Those male gymnasts got some damn tight suits to be fair.
Embrace getting with loads of people
Like The Beatles once said, it’s been a long cold lonely winter, full of bad feelings, and now it’s the summer you want to throw off the shackles of your shitty break-up and your poorly handled unrequited love and just fucking get with loads of people. You envisioned a summer of casual sex, tangles of tanned limbs, maybe a guy on a white sandy beach feeding you coconut. You deliberately set yourself up for parties, nights out, Facebook events. And somehow you ended up getting too drunk and throwing up at most of them before staggering out of Ubers, alone, and eventually accidentally falling into getting with someone you used to know at uni but aren’t even that bothered about. Hardly a summer of romantic abandon.
Write a book
Or something else really creative. Perhaps writing a screenplay, starring in the film and becoming famous. You bought a notepad, but mysteriously a Pulitzer winning novel didn’t spring from the pages.
Go to a festival in Croatia
Yeah man it’s in a castle and it’s on the Dalmation Coast. No I don’t know what that is either, but apparently there’s hot yoga so the ticket has to be worth the €760.
Get a girlfriend
Get a boyfriend
Buy a pet
Imagine the memories you could have spent together with Chopper the bunny rabbit.
Try and be happy for at least half of it
I only really enjoyed myself at Glasto this year. That’s one weekend out of the three months of summer. Must do better next year.
Meet up with Mike
You haven’t seen Mike and the boys since your last weekend at uni. It was meant to be a final goodbye, one last big blow out. And then, somewhat inevitably, there was the “incident”. The WhatsApp group is dormant. You said you’d get the gang back together again, and show Skeggy what it’s been missing. But you got a job and Mike got in a fight outside Spoons. The trial starts in November.
Make that really great app idea you had
It’s going to be bigger than angry birds
Get a job
Dad please I just need money for a meal deal.
Take a break from alcohol
Yes, you’re a boozy legend at uni but you said you were going to go easy over summer. You just couldn’t help yourself though could you Pintacus!
Watch Game of Thrones
What’s the deal with winter and why does John snow not know stuff? You still don’t know
You were going to go really hard in the gym before your Barcelona weekend, but then you decided you wouldn’t be spending that long on the beach so you left it. Then you were going to enroll on that bootcamp before your trip to Portugal, but it was sunny and pub gardens led you astray. Now it’s late August, you’ve actually gained weight, you have no fit pictures on your Instagram and you’re genuinely looking forward to the months where you can hide it all under a chunky-knit jumper.
Give up social media
Haha lol that was never going to happen #duh
Do your uni reading ready for next year
You know you’re not going to do it when you get there so you really should crack on except you’re not a fucking nerd.
Become Instagram famous
The summer is the best time to perfect your personal brand and turn it into a money making machine. Plenty of time to sit around taking photos of utterly banal shit and putting a filter on it. The idiots will lap it up. When the summer ends you’ll have something to show from your summer, and you didn’t even have to get off the sofa. Three months later, you’re just happy when the names turn into numbers of likes.
Grow a beard in time for uni
Father why have your genes cursed me so?!
Contributions from Daisy Bernard, Roisin Lanigan, Jonny Long, Annabel Murphy, Oli Dugmore, Conrad Young and Bobby Palmer