Many articles aimed at the boomer plus generation are about planning for the future. Have you planned for your retirement? Your mortgage? Your health care? These are important issues we all need to think about and do something about sooner than later. But there are other issues that need to be thought about and done something about sooner than later as well. Such as: Have you planned your summer calendar yet?
Whether you are already retired, working full time, part time, or thinking about all of the above, now is the time to mark a few dates on your calendar. If you are like me, time flies by in a blink of an eye and all that. Sitting on your sofa in February, two feet of snow outside, below zero temperatures, dark mornings and dark evenings, one can’t really see the forest for the trees. The summer for the winter. Yet, before you know it, spring will knock you over with a flower bud and you will be scrambling to plan everything at once. All of a sudden people and places are booked, money is nowhere to be found, and you harbor a subtle grudge that you didn’t think about the fair or the picnic earlier.
Many places offer discount tickets ahead of time. Renaissance faires, travel tickets, casino trips, all can be cheaper if you book ahead of time. I have bought tickets to the Renaissance Faire and Irish Fest ahead of time and saved half to two-thirds of the gate fare. Think you might change your mind come gate time? There will always be someone to buy a bargain from you. And if you’re buying travel tickets, it gives you plenty of time to practice blackjack or research great restaurants.
It’s easier to have a picnic with friends, a trip to the zoo, or a family get-together if you write it on your calendar ahead of time. Sounds simple, but how many times do you talk about “getting together” and never do it? Or talk about getting together and suddenly everyone is booked? Plan it. Write it down. And get everyone else to do the same. You won’t be sorry.
Many a year I have wanted to go to a county fair, craft fair, or art show, only to remember the date a week or two after it’s over. Sometimes a walk around the square does wonders for your psyche and soul. You don’t have to spend money to people watch or craft watch or just plan exercise. But you can’t do any of those if the day pass you by. Write these occasions down way ahead of time. If you go, great! If not, at least you can’t blame your bad memory.
Sometimes I find planning ahead for walks in the woods or taking my grandson to the park gives me incentive to do something fun and healthy (something I need to do more of these days). Impromptu is often a great way to do things, but if you planned to do these things a day or two or ten ahead of time, you might not plan something else to do. (Or worse…your grand-kids won’t plan something else to do.)
Meeting a friend for lunch can be a trial-and-error fiasco if you don’t get it in writing. “How can you mess up a lunch date?” you ask. “Just go the next day/week/month.” That’s true. One of my best friends lives two hours away, and often the only time we can meet is for breakfast or lunch halfway between us. But if we don’t plan our rendezvous ahead of time, a hundred other things get in the way. And often the other party has just as full a calendar as you do.
One of the most important reasons to plan your spring/summer/fall ahead of time, though, is so you can do some of the things you really want to do. My life is full of work, chores, and repairs. When I get to the end of the line, I don’t want to be lying in bed remembering work, chores, and repairs. I want to remember the trip to the beach I took with my family. The shopping spree I took with girlfriends. The outdoor concert I went to with my husband. I don’t want to feel bad about the beach and the shopping and concert I missed because I didn’t write it down. Because I didn’t remember it. So don’t feel bad writing everything down. Your social life – and your heart – will thank you for it.
Now – where did I put that calendar?