Don’t get me wrong, I’m o b s e s s e d with Netflix. I could tell you about almost every documentary, drama, or original series on there. An entire Christmas break was consumed by "Breaking Bad," and a whole spring break was given to "House of Cards." Any genre of entertainment is right at my fingertips, and this is the problem. Netflix is so convenient, I don’t remember the last time I chose to do something else over it.
This is my first summer on my own, and along with being a new responsible adult, I’m trying to make some better decisions, one of them being to tread outside the comforts of my bed and Netflix. If you’re in the same boat as me, let’s take this challenge on together and do some things beyond taking on "Grey’s Anatomy" 24/7. Here’s some of my ideas, PLEASE let me know if you have more, I personally think I need help.
1. Get a job: your parents and bank account love this option. Most things on this list cost little to no money, but I mean, shopping is always a way to spend time. Depending on the job, days will fly by, and you won’t even have time to think about the upcoming new season of "OITNB."
2. Take summer classes: I know I wasn’t the only kid forced to go to summer school (mine was called summer adventure, please stop). But in college, it’s actually a good idea. Classes tend to be a little easier, and cheaper depending where you go, and of course, it helps you get ahead of the game.
3. Explore nature: Even though some days it is way too hot to be outside for more than 20 minutes, on the cooler days, take time and explore the nature around you. State parks, lakes, trails, and if you’re lucky, a beach are usually only a short drive away. Pinterest is full of websites that list cool places to go explore, even if you think you live in a boring area.
4. Explore your town: if you’re from a small town, this might not work, but if you’re from a city, this can be a day-long adventure. Go drive around areas you’ve rarely seen, there are cool stores, restaurants, and other local businesses waiting to be discovered.
5. Explore other towns: After going around your own town, go look around other ones and see what makes them unique. Even discovering old abandoned towns is quite an adventure.
6. Deep clean: OK, everyone needs to do this at least once a summer; think spring cleaning on steroids. Go through your closet, bathroom, junk drawer, garage, car—literally wherever you keep stuff. After getting rid of some junk, deep clean so well Mr. Clean would cry.
7. Volunteer: No matter where you reside, there will be handfuls of volunteer opportunities, you just need to find them. Love dogs? Help out at a shelter. Love kids? See if you can assist at a local day care. Lots of high school and college organizations require service hours, and summer is the perfect time to get them done.
8. Read a book: This might not be everyone’s favorite activity, but if you find a book that sucks you in, time will pass in the flip of a page. If you need a good read, talk to a librarian for help, or hit up Urban Outfitters; they have the most eclectic and interesting selection of books like ever.
9. Keep up with a TV show…on TV: I know this whole thing is about not watching shows and movies, but how long has it been since you kept up with a TV show on actual TV? For me it’s been years, cliffhangers suck and frankly I don’t have the patience to wait a whole week to find out who killed who, but it’s a good way to have your cake and eat it too, one week at a time.
10. Exercise: Though you may have spent all spring working towards your summer bod, why stop now? Don’t resort to the gym. Run outside, you’ll sweat a hell of a lot more under the summer sun, but don’t stop there. Go kayaking, try yoga, hit up a bike trail—the options are endless.
11. The French fry test: This one is conveniently located after exercising, but this is something I’ve always wanted to try. Drive around to every decently priced food establishment and order a small fry, then you and some friends (this might be too unhealthy to do alone) decide which place has the best.
12. The quarter game: Another fun game you can do alone or with friends. Hop in a car and flip a coin. If it’s heads, turn right, tails, turn left. Flip the coin at every intersection and see where you end up, just keep an eye on the gas tank.
13. Attempt to Pinterest: One of the best past-times resides in the depths of Pinterest. You could probably spend the rest of your life trying everything on there, recipes, crafts, work outs, let alone a whole summer.
14. Hang out with your non-immediate family: Nothing beats catching up with family. Call up your grandparents or favorite cousin and update each other on your lives. If you are close with your whole family, then plan a fun night out.
15. Reconnect with an old friend: Everyone has a friend they’ve grown apart from, even though both of you know they’ll always be there for you. Go grab a coffee and reminisce.
Not going to lie, before writing this, I was watching Netflix, but by doing some of these ideas, I think I can break my addiction, and so can you. Summer is too precious of a time to waste on Jim and Pam or Leslie Knope, well the whole summer anyways. Sure it’s important to unwind these next couple months, but don’t forget to make memories. Netflix will always be there, people and places won’t.