For the past couple of years I’ve joked that I have reverse seasonal depression. Seasonal depression, if you are not aware kicks in when daylight savings time ends. Long winter nights and less sunlight, along with feeling trapped inside by the cold, can wreak havoc on some people’s mental health.
But not mine. I really like long winter nights. I don’t mind having to do things in the dark, especially now that I have an assortment of really good flashlights. And, as someone who enjoys the cold, I never feel trapped inside. Winter is instead my favorite time to be out and about in nature. You can walk around without getting sweaty and you don’t have to worry about ticks and other insects.
Instead, when I joke that I have reverse seasonal depression, I mean that instead of wintertime gloom, I have summertime gloom.
For most people, summer means fun. It is a time of warm weather, vacation, less responsibility, and carefree enjoyment of everything those three things bring.
To me, summer isn’t really associated with fun anymore. Summer is work. Summer is the busiest time of year for park rangers and brings with it lots of people, some of whom suck, dealing issues with said people who suck, and more work.
So, while everyone else on the planet seems to look forward to the warm weather and later sunsets that summer brings, I’m always less than thrilled when it rolls around and counting down the days until Labor Day.
However, this summer I determined I’m not going to let the summer time gloom get to me. Instead, I’m going to devote my free time to stuff that brings me joy.
For me, a big part of personal happiness is making stuff, particularly when it comes to writing and woodworking. Because of this, I’ve decided to take up several “summer projects.”
In 2019, I started writing this blog post based on a Youtube video from one of my favorite creators, Austin McConnell. The video, titled “Let’s Make Something This Summer” is a six minute and thirty-four second call to action from McConnell. His challenge is simple. There are ninety-three days in summer from June 21st to September 23rd. So, use this period as a deadline/timeframe to make something meaningful.
Without a set deadline, most people, myself included, don’t finish things. A deadline brings urgency to a project. It bears down and forces you to complete your project, regardless if you want to complete it or not. Or as Seth Godin puts it, you must ship your work, i.e. submit it in a timely manner regardless of if you would like to keep adding to it, editing it, or rejecting it.
I have so many unfinished projects, in large part due to the fact that I am terrible about setting deadlines and shipping my work. This is best illustrated by the fact that I haven’t even finished writing my 2022 Christmas letter, even though Christmas was six months ago.
Chief among these, are two unfinished writing projects that are crying out to be finished. One has been unfinished for five years, the other for three months. (Note: These projects do not include my 2022 Christmas Letter, but I promise I will finish that and send it out too!)
Both projects are burning a hole in me to write, but yet they linger perpetually unfinished.
If I put myself up for it, I know I can finish both by the end of the summer.
In 2019, after getting all hyped up by Austin’s video, I pledged to spend my summer making and starting writing this blog post. I wrote exactly four sentences before abandoning it. As for what my summer projects were, if I remember correctly, one was the aforementioned writing idea that I’ve had for five years and the other was a woodworking project. I did actually finish the woodworking project, a sign post for a my parents house, but a full year and a half later than my end of summer deadline.
We are not doing that that this summer. This summer we are completing our fun summer projects by the end of summer deadline.
Before September 23rd rolls around this year, I’m going to finish my two long-delayed writing projects and my 2022 Christmas letter. Plus, woodworking wise I’m going to make a live-edge coffee table, because I really need a coffee table and I’ve been saying I’m going make one for four years now.
So, what do you want to make this summer? Comment below and we can hold ourselves accountable to finishing our summer projects by the end of summer.
A Note on the featured picture: This is a sunset over Lake Superior from a top the Log Slide at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore from my Great Lakes Road Trip last summer. The Log Slide is a 500 foot, near vertical sand dune. You can go down it in, less than two minutes. But the hike back up will take you hours and is so physically exerting that signs at the top of the dune advise you not to do it unless you are in good physical health. After a full day of hiking, I didn’t make it to the Log Slide until the sun was setting. So, I watched the sunset from the top, and said “next time” for sliding down it. Therefore, to me this picture represents a future summer project.