Welcome. August begins on Sunday, a new month, a good time to set an intention for the coming weeks. There’s so much that’s uncertain, that we can’t figure out or control right now. Doing what we can to add some predictability or structure to the days can help things feel a little more coherent.
Start small. In fact, stay small. As with creating a routine, it doesn’t take much to add some structure. For instance, you might choose one of these new books coming in August and plan to read for, say, 20 minutes a day. It’s a modest, perhaps humdrum, goal, but easily accomplished and within your sway.
This month, I’m going to watch the documentaries “Woodstock 99: Peace, Love and Rage,” about the music fest that became “a hellscape of overflowing porta-potties, hungry and thirsty festivalgoers, horrific sexual assaults, arson and even deaths” and “Enemies of the State,” about the Air National Guard veteran Matt DeHart. I plan to complete Gerald Durrell’s “My Family and Other Animals,” an excellent recommendation for comfort reading from the Books desk’s Tina Jordan, and to move on to the other books in Durrell’s trilogy about his family’s years living in Corfu. I’ve got a couple exercise challenges I’ve set for myself. I’m on a good flossing streak I plan to maintain.
These plans aren’t grand. They’re not the entirety of a big and exciting life, but rather the scaffolding underneath it. Those big plans — for socializing, for travel, for returning to on-site work — might be in flux as we learn more about the Delta variant. What’s not in flux? What can you decide to do and then follow through on? Let those plans create reliable structure that undergirds your days this month.
Keep sending your “instant summer” lists! Tell us the things you read, cook, watch and do that, no matter the time or place, instantly conjure summer for you: email@example.com. Include your full name and location and we might feature your contribution in a future newsletter. We’re At Home and Away. We’ll read every letter sent. More ideas for leading a full and cultured life this weekend appear below. See you on Wednesday.