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June 20, 2014

NASH: How will you spend your time?

We have reached the point in the Gregorian Calendar that many people wait the entire year for. This weekend marks the official start of the season of summer and in turn brings with it the longest day of the year.

Some say that the day in November when we “fall” back and gain an extra hour is the longest day of the year, but most people use that hour to sleep since it happens at a time of year when it’s cold and dark for most of the day.

Over the next few days we will experience the longest time of daylight hours that we will have all year. Since the difference in the amount of daylight we have from day to day is negligible, most people won’t even notice a difference. It is very convenient that it happens now so that the largest number of people can enjoy that extra time outdoors. How will you spend those extra few minutes of sunshine?

Now that school is finally out many people use this time of year for their summer vacations. You get the most out of your time so it makes perfect sense to do it at this time of the year. For those who can afford to drive to the beach, that makes a wonderful vacation especially for people with young children.

Taking your children to the beach is the easiest vacation because no matter if they are toddler or teenager you can lather them with sunscreen and you won’t have to entertain them again all day. They may come to you when they are hungry, but toss them a sandwich and in a few minutes they are back outside building a sand castle or digging a hole to China.

This year would not be a good year for a beach vacation for our family because my children are too small. With two children under 6 months old it would be hard to have any fun with them on a beach. They may enjoy the water for a couple of minutes, but I think this year we will start them off slowly in a pool first. Maybe in a couple of years when they can walk around and enjoy the sand without the need to put it into their mouths we may head to Florida or one of the East Coast resorts.

There are plenty of things to do for those of us who plan on staying home this weekend. This weekend would be a great time to fire up the grill or the smoker outside. Cooking outside is something different to do with the whole family and helps the air conditioner out by not turning on the stove or oven. Burgers or steaks are great on the grill, or put some ribs in the smoker.

In many places it is tradition to have a bonfire to celebrate the Summer Solstice when magical things are said to happen during the shortest night of the year. It is tradition in some cultures to jump over the fire. Jumping over a fire three times, people are said to be cleansed and purified and their problems burned away.

Getting out and riding a bike during the heat of the day may seem to be overwhelming at this time of year for some people. This weekend would be a perfect time for a long ride because the sun comes up so early you could get plenty of miles in before it gets too hot. Sunrise is scheduled for around 6:15 this weekend so why not head to bed early one night and get an early jump on the day.  

Staying indoors is always a good option too when the weather gets this warm. With fewer people watching television this time of year it’s sometimes hard to find something good to watch, but with Netflix or other streaming services you can always binge watch some series that you have heard other people talk about that you never got around to watching during its original run. You can literally stay up for days and watch every episode of “Battlestar Galactica” either the original series or the 2003 reboot.

With the NBA and NHL finals over and (American) football still a few weeks out most sports fans are bored with just baseball to watch. This week the world’s most popular sport got a huge boost when the United States team beat Ghana in the World Cup. Most Americans don’t care much about soccer, but our patriotism gets the best of us when it’s us against the world. Even if we don’t win another game, at least every four years we get a geography lesson.

It doesn’t matter what you end up deciding to do with your few extra minutes of sunshine this weekend as long as you have fun doing it. Many people spend too much of their time these days doing the things they have to do instead of doing the things they want to do. Why not take the extra time to do some things that make you happy or have special significance for you and your family?

— Matthew Nash can be reached at dmatthewnash@gmail.com

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