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Tips for Adulthood: Five Things To Do on a Staycation

My family is doing a staycation this year. We’re taking a few local trips here and there. But mostly – due to assorted work deadlines and general...

War and PeaceMy family is doing a staycation this year. We’re taking a few local trips here and there. But mostly – due to assorted work deadlines and general exhaustion with, well, life  – we’ll be at home in London.

Apparently, we’re not alone. Here in the U.K., anxieties around Brexit have prompted many more British people to vacation at home this year. In the United States, the word staycation is  now enshrined in the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.

I love London, so I don’t really mind being here in the summer. Still, the longer days, warmer weather, and changes to the kids’ schedules do inspire me to do things a bit differently, if for no other reason than to shake up my own routine.

So if, like me, this is a summer when you’re going to give traveling a pass, here are some ways to mark the occasion:

1. Discover a new place. One way to make a staycation feel special is to travel somewhere new near your home. This might be a new museum, a restaurant you’ve been meaning to try, or that park that’s just a bit too far to visit during the school year. At the top of my list is to take a backstage tour of the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, London’s oldest theatre. On their tours, a group of actors perform key events from this theatre’s rich history while you look around. I may even do this on my own, since I don’t think any of my friends or family quite share my thespian enthusiasm. (Adulthood fantasy #6 is where I manage a community theatre troupe in which I also make the occasional cameo. Hey, we all need to dream…)

2. Get a new toy. Usually, we associate the novelty of a new toy with children. But it’s an equally valid concept for adults, who also need to play. One year, my summer treat to myself was a collapsible bicycle (a Brompton, for those in the know). We don’t own a car, so I used the bike as a way to commute around my neighborhood. This year, as our espresso grinder gasps its last breaths, my new toy is more likely to be from the coffee gadget family (always a winner in my household).

3. Learn a new skill. On a previous staycation, my husband and I took the command decision that it  was an opportune time to teach our then (gasp!) nine year-old how to ride a bike. This year, given that I’m about to launch my own business, I’m thinking of really mastering powerpoint for once and for all. Don’t laugh. It’s a really useful skill!

4. Tackle something on your “dreaded” to-do list. I once wrote a post entitled “Five Ways To Get On Top Of Your To Do List.” One of the strategies I recommended was to divide your to-do list in half into long-term and short-term items. The idea was to tick something off of the short list every day, and to take a step towards removing something on the long list every week. I think this strategy works very well. But it does pre-suppose that every so often, you really do take that crucial step on the dreaded (long) to-do list. In my case, I’ve had “hang rest of pictures up” on my long list there since we moved into this house four years ago. Not kidding. This may finally be the year I do it. After that? Wash duvet cover…

5. Read some really long books. Let’s face it. We all have a list of books on our bedside table which – tempting as they might seem – we never get around to reading because they’re just too long. And I don’t mean the medicinal ones that you feel you *ought* to read so that you’re up to speed on such and such a topic. (Eternal Message of Muhammed anyone? Oh, is that just me?) No, I mean the really good ones that entail a level of commitment that’s just beyond your comfort level during a busy week. I love Karl Ove Knausgaard but many are his books intense. August just might be the time to tackle Autumn. If time, there’s always Tolstoy’s War and Peace. No, seriously.

What are you doing this summer around home?

Image: War and Peace book via Wikimedia Commons

Important announcement! If you like these Friday round-ups, I will shortly be launching a newsletter which offers a round-up of these “good reads” on a monthly basis, in place of this occasional column. The newsletter will also include lots of other juicy bits for those of us interested in the eternal journey of adulthood, including an update on books and films I’ve liked, the latest research on aging, and a few guaranteed giggles. If you’d like to get these “Good reads for grown-ups” delivered directly to your inbox, please subscribe to my monthly newsletter by clicking on the “Subscribe to my Newsletter” button on the homepage of this blog.
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