Summer solstice is almost upon us. You know, the phase of this trip around that sun that marks the true onset of summer.
We’ve all seen the social media posts with funky patio lights and carefree al fresco dining; vintage glassware, impossibly perfect outdoor furniture (that would wither with one rainfall), and no mosquitoes.
This side of 40, we all know that it’s never that perfect. But it can come pretty damn close. The secret to enjoying summer, or anything else at this stage of the game, is a certain dude-ish je ne sais quoi. A few flowy, funky, retro tops to hide a multitude of middle aged sins, and plenty of liquids.
The idea of cottaging, camping and celebrating everything that can be celebrated is a great idea, but the reality can be a little tiny bit exhausting.
So I’ve created a little backyard oasis which includes a couple of sets of dated christmas lights which are now trendily referred to as ‘fairie lights’, a water feature from my partner’s ex’s house, and a load of carefree climbing vines. I added a few palms just to remind myself that when winter arrives, so do the snowbird deals to the Caribbean.
Creating your own, personal oasis leaves plenty of time (no snakey fifty kilometre traffic nightmare into the muskokas or Haliburton Highlands) to tear off your work-a-day clothes, throw on something loose, pour an icy cold gin and tonic and turn up the Jimmy Buffett in the backyard (before and after work, although you might want to substitute coffee before work).
In order to make summertime a little bit more summery and a lot less hectic may I recommend a few of my mid-life-mid-summer-secrets?
- The muu-muu. Call it a caftan, or whatever you like, but it’s a lifesaver. No bra. No panties. No public entertaining in this either, but you will feel somewhat goddess like with a generous heap of nonchalant I-could-give-a-craplessness. Mrs. Roper to the rescue.
2. An easy cocktail. I recommend a simple gin and tonic. Either Tanqueray with Lime, or Hendricks with cucumber. Either works. Poured over ice, it’s simple and refreshing.
3. Non-alcoholic beverages. Let’s face it, middle-age and empty nesting lets us fall into a relaxed way of being that does not always require assistance. A simple pitcher of pink lemonade in the refrigerator or a sumptuous hot tea can do the trick. My favourites include T by Daniel’s Night in Rio, or Tazo Wild Sweet Orange.
4. A damn good book that you can sink your teeth into. This could be a post unto itself, but I’m going to stick with just one book for now. If you are a mid-lifer, empty-nester, or a woman who feels like change is on the horizon, I highly recommend, Women Who Run With The Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Reading this will make you 100% confident wearing your muu-muu. I promise. No gin required.
5. Fire. Yes, that’s right you need some fire. It’s primal, it’s hypnotising, and it can bring you back to yourself after a long day at work. If you have the space, try a firepit, maybe a chimenea, and for smaller spaces, try a little fire-pot.
6. Soundscaping. A water feature can add that lovely trickling sound that makes you think that you’re somewhere other than your urban cage. If there’s no room for that, or no budget, try some of the 1990’s Dan Gibson Solitudes tracks cranked up to drown out the neighbour’s nattering,
Celebrating the sunshine is quintessential to summertime, and creating your own oasis optimizes all of that joyous vitality that the season brings. Wishing you the relaxed kind of muu-muu, gin-drinking, pink lemonade, feminist-reading kind of summer you deserve.