Summer Stress: Take It Outside

June 24, 2013

Since the green started to appear, I have seen so many magazine covers that offer 67 ways to take the stress out of summer. Wait, what? Summer stress … who says that? Summer and boredom go together, not summer and stress. Or, at least that is my very fond memory.

Growing up on a farm, summers were the ultimate opportunity to use your imagination. There were very few distractions, unless you count the oddity of a cow being born with two heads (that happened once).

Lack of things to do — and my mom’s unappealing suggestions for what to do when we were bored — spurred me to get creative and to work with what I had. That included my siblings and the land around us. Our yard didn’t have a pool, but when we designed floor plan after floor plan out of grass clippings, you better believe we included a pool off the dining room. I think boredom is a very creative state. I want more boredom now. I want to pass on boredom to my 3-year-old. Bring it on.

Passing on boredom to the next generation

Passing on boredom to the next generation

Since we are so conditioned to have tasks, deliverables and deadlines, here are some of mine. Jump in with me … I promise to collaborate on the design of our 4-bedroom house.

  • Find some shapes in the clouds
  • Create an entire house floor plan with grass clippings
  • Make pizzas on the gravel road using only elements from nature (we never had pizza with green anything on it, yet we always put something green on there—basil fancy!)
  • Refine your strategic influence when trying to get your mom to take you to the “city” pool
  • Go for a walk in the woods and get lost. So lost you end up in the nearby town 4.5 miles from home and you have to call someone to come pick you up.
  • Take time to stand and stare

I remember feeling like I could literally die from boredom. It didn’t happen and I am sure grateful now for those long summer days of relying on the nature around me to entertain myself. You begin to create because there is nothing to prove, nothing to lose, nothing else to do. Looking back, it’s very freeing being creative for no other reason other than you freewheel and fill time.

For the sake of creativity, perhaps we need to slow down and stay offline from time to time.

Now, go make a pizza in your totally fantastic grass clipping house. Darn … I wish we had documented our creative works. But, that was pre-iPhone and Instagram.