I don’t know if it’s the school calendar, but June rolls around, and I immediately think it’s summer, even though summer doesn’t technically start until June 22nd this year. But like the holidays, there is a summer spirit that takes hold of us all in the best way possible. So whether you are a member of the hot girl summer, city boy summer alliance, or if you don’t fit into any of those categories, summer is always a good time.
My Summer Hot Take
I hated summer (the season, not the school break) as a kid. Summer in Florida is what I imagine hell feels like or as cool to it as possible. The heat, the humidity, and hurricane season led to more time spent indoors during the summer than most of us wanted as kids. Of course, it wouldn’t stop us, but we were all looking for ways to escape the heat, whether it was a slip-n-slide kind of day, a pool day (if you were lucky enough to have one or know someone who did), or a beach day. So much to my surprise, my first summer in Portland was eye-opening. It was perfect weather every day, minus the few 100-plus-degree days.
I’m trying to say that I am experiencing real summer for the first time as an adult and thought I’d spread the childlike enthusiasm.
Fun Summer Activities
Fairs and Festivals
I don’t know what it is about summer, but there is always an influx of state, county, and city fairs. And Portland is no exception. The Rose Festival is going on right now, and while I haven’t gone yet, it’s in the books. I have a love-hate relationship with fairs. They feel like a scam at times, but if you go with the right group of friends or family members, it can be the most fun you ever have.
Maybe it’s a pride thing, but there is something about winning prizes at carnival games that are rigged that makes me feel like the GOAT. And while we work towards our ideal summer bodies, the fair has no place for diets. How many times a year can you eat deep-fried Oreos, elephant ears, and funnel cake? As my aunt would say, “Everything in moderation.” And in this case, moderation is eating until you are sick.
Hiking is probably the most obvious thing on this list. Most Pacific Northwesterners’ first steps happen on a hiking trail, but as a native South Floridian, the outdoors are not something most of us explore. There isn’t much but getting eaten by snakes, gators, or panthers out in the Everglades. (I don’t trust still bodies of water.) But escaping the noise of everyday life to be surrounded by the quiet of nature has appeal. Don’t get me wrong, I have zero desire to go trekking up a mountain, but finding a relatively easy trail that ends in view is a nice way to spend a Saturday morning.
Join a Rec League
I don’t miss high school at all, but I do miss organized sports. I played so many different sports back in the day, in between all of my injuries, but all seem to disappear once you graduate. My roommates at college played pick-up basketball in college, but even as we got older and have since graduated, that time spent on the court got smaller. So do yourself a favor and join an adult Rec League. Even if you are a little out of shape, they can be a blast.
Find a league that suits your play level and go for it. Social anxiety is damned. Catch me playing beach volleyball this summer. I cannot wait for the league to start. Google rec leagues in your city and finds the sport you want to play.
I didn’t write this article so I could talk about the new hobby I’m hyper-focused on, thanks to my ADHD. It’s been a month since I started rock climbing, and it’s the most fun I’ve had doing something since I was in high school. (I missed organized sports.) But rock climbing gives me the same challenge that fencing gave me as a kid. First, there is the physical aspect of rock climbing.
Again, it’s only been a month, and I can already feel how much stronger I’ve gotten, but there is also the mental side that I wasn’t expecting. Figuring out how to move my body, what sequence of holds to use, and facing my fear of heights and falling when bouldering is an adrenaline rush that I’ve missed. There are a few rock climbing gyms in the city. If it’s not something you think you will want to do long term but want to give it a try, most gyms have day passes.
Summer Is Almost Here
I love the gloomy weather that Portland offers us eight months out of the year, but the city comes alive during the summer. It might be the Floridian in me, but seeing so many people lay out on the grass at parks with kids running around playing is nice. It feels like I’m in the ending credits of a feel-good movie. Except for those scorching days, Portland has the best weather during the summer. It would be a shame if you were to waste it all sitting inside playing video games. (Yeah, I’m calling myself out, so what?) One of my favorite things is to take my dog to the dog park and read a book in the sunlight. We are all just plants. We need some sun, water, and nutrients.
So go out and enjoy a nice beer, bask in the sunlight, enjoy the weather, and remember to have fun.