Favorited Reflections on My “Summer of Proust.” by Gretchen Rubin

I like this notion by Gretchen Rubin of defining an ‘adventure’ for the summer. I try to do one ‘extracurricular’ activity per quarter (e.g. 12 hacks in Q1, or how we used to do a month in another European city each year), but framing it as a seasonal adventure has a more human ring to it. Makes it an epic tale of which you are both the narrator and protagonist.

A season is 13 weeks, and that is a useful time span to plan something for. It is small enough to keep an overview and keep track, and long enough to do something meaningful even with little bits of time. I’ve been doing my own planning in 13 week periods for 6 years now, and name those 13 weeks periods by season (although they actually coincide with quarters).

With Summer almost behind us, what will be my adventure of the Fall?

Every spring, on the Happier with Gretchen Rubin podcast, my sister Elizabeth and I talk about our yearly resolution to “Design your summer.” This resolution was originally inspired by this passage from Robertson Davies:

“Every man makes his own summer. The season has no character of its own, unless one is a farmer with a professional concern for the weather. Circumstances have not allowed me to make a good summer for myself this year … My summer has been overcast by my own heaviness of spirit. I have not had any adventures, and adventures are what make a summer.”

This passage inspired me to make sure that every summer has some sort of adventure.

Gretchen Rubin, in turn citing Robertson Davies