Make Your Own ‘No Bummer Summer’ List

But don’t make it about productivity

Michele Bigley
4 min readJun 15, 2022


“Swim with whale sharks!”

“Beat our walking record!”

“Go to the ocean as much as possible!”

This is just a snippet of this year’s No Bummer Summer list. Each June, I unroll butcher paper, grab colored markers, gather my husband and two sons, and start collecting No Bummer Summer ideas.

Our list usually contains over 50 entries, written in alternating rainbow markers, a sign of the color we hope to infuse in our goal to make summer more than just a season. The opposite of Katherine May’s term wintering, a seasonal giving in to all things slow, quiet and dark, summering is about openness, light, adventure. Summering is about living your best life.

Our only rule about the list is that it has to be aimed at fun, not productivity. We don’t include work goals. We don’t include anything that might read as productive. The goal for summer is to lessen the pressure to be anything more than we are.

The goal of summer is to have fun.

How have you lived today?

Grief therapist Francis Weller writes in his book, The Wild Edge of Sorrow, to wake each day and say, “I am one day closer to my death. So how will I live this day? I do not want to waste this day.”

When I ask these questions, and then think about how I spend the majority of my year being “productive” — toiling away at work emails, completing projects at home, repurposing life for more social media acceptance; going to meetings, and Zooming into other spaces — I realize that my productivity often feels like I’m not living.

Those glazed eyes staring at my computer screen are often considered so important that some days I don’t even go outside.

Obviously, working is necessary — how else will I afford summer? — and very few of us can ignore work. But when June arrives, I flip my priorities to honor adventure, fun, exploration, and enjoying the people I love as much as possible over obligations.

Summering might be the most refreshing gift we can offer ourselves, especially in times like these.

Making the most of…



Michele Bigley

Award-winning writer specializing in regenerative travel, environmental solutions and parenting. Michele’s writing a book about mothering in the Anthropocene.