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Recreate Your Life: Summertime is the Perfect Time to Grow a Dream

Valerie and her rescue dog,
"Cokie Roberts"

By Valerie Young

This article originally appeared in Issue 187 of the Changing Course Newsletter.

Has the school calendar of your youth hardwired you into seeing September as the time for new beginnings? If you yearn for a new job, a career change or maybe even a total life makeover – summertime is by far the best time to act.

Summer is synonymous with fun. It’s possible to make a change and still have time for recreation. In fact, the word recreation literally means to “re-create.” And what better way to spend your summer than recreating your life! Here are six ways you can use the rest of the summer to grow a dream:

1. Catch a falling star.

When my best friend, Elaine, and I weren’t building forts or skipping rope we could be found lying beneath a shady tree or a star-filled sky. These weren’t idle pursuits. We were flexing our imaginations. As the most carefree of the four seasons, summers are made for dreaming. It’s the perfect time to gaze upward, to look inward and to imagine what could be.

2. Grow a dream garden.

Look within and you may find the seeds of a dream planted long ago. Left untended though, dreams will fail to sprout. Summer is the ideal time to cultivate our dreams both old and new. Start with good soil. What is it you care deeply about? What makes you happy? What do you want your life to look like? Now get rid of the weeds – the lame excuses, apathy, self-doubt, and fear born from lack of information. Tend to your dreams and watch them grow.

3. Take advantage of the longer days.

Even though those so-called lazy days of summer have gotten a lot busier of late, the additional hours of daylight do seem to add a bit more time to our lives. Once you’ve engaged in some active reflection, use some of this “found time” to start working toward your goals. Even if it’s only 20 minutes a day, it’s all forward motion!

4. Read a real thriller.

As you’re packing for the beach leave the romance novel or who-done-it at home. Instead treat your life like the adventure that it is by picking up a real thriller like Paul and Sarah Edwards' The Practical Dreamers Handbook or Create a Life That Tickles Your Soul by Suzanne Willis Zoglio. Maybe you already have a new direction in mind. Then take this time to read up on that exciting new career.

5. Invest in your dream.

Save both money and time by spending your vacation at home. Make it a real vacation by doing the kinds of things a tourist on a budget might do – go on a picnic, head to a museum, take a day trip. Stash the money you would have spent on a more costly vacation into a “dream fund.” Use your savings to take career-expanding classes, buy some snappy new interview outfit or even start your own business. If your dream includes relocating, do hit the road by using your vacation as an exciting research expedition.

6. Summer is the ideal time to ease into a new job.

With all the overlapping vacation schedules, many organizations operate in a somewhat more relaxed mode in July and August. As a new hire, that means the trial by fire period is apt to be a little less trying. If you’ve been putting off a job move until the fall, keep in mind the slower pace makes summer a great time to learn the new job ropes before the workplace once again launches into fall overdrive.

Recreating your life is about making choices. What choices are you willing to make to grow your dream? Whatever you decide to do, have a safe, relaxing, and inspired rest of the summer!

There are 6 comments. Add yours.

  1. Marg McCaffrey Piche

    One of the joys of my life is receiving the ChangingCourse Newsletter. Just wanted you to know how much I enjoyed the “Recreate Your Life” article. Thanks for the inspirational prod!

  2. Thank you very much.

    REALLY enjoyed the ‘dreaming’ article….very timely.

    I lost my mother just a short 3 years ago..and she always said to ‘imagine what
    you want – and just do it – it’s in you, because you are part of me’.

    She was a successful business owner, importer, and shop owner for over 18 years.

    Now I have my own business.

    Thank you for the thoughts.

  3. Steven Machado

    In the last five years I have developed an educational tool for children and adults 6 and above. The niche target market for this product has eluded me. Do you have any suggestions that will steamline my search?


  4. Elizabeth O'Brien

    Valerie, thank you so much for these inspiring words and ideas. When I read your articles, I feel like everything that I want is possible and good. You see that life is beautiful and you are the spokeswoman for seizing that beauty and creating a happy life. Thank you for being such a good role model and for continuing to show me the best in myself.


  5. catherine

    Hi, for months the newsletter has been my lifebelt, however just recently I haven’t been able to view it on email? I have been retrieving it from the archives but now I find I can’t retrieve the whole thing? Please Please help – I need these newsletters so badly!

  6. Hi Catherine,

    Make sure that you are trying to view the newsletter in your Inbox and not in a Junk/Spam folder where they sometimes land. You can also change your subscription from the HTML (if it looks like there’s a lot of code there) to the Text version (or vice versa) at

    If you continue to have any problems, please let me know – you’re welcome to email me directly at [email protected] and I’ll look into it and make sure we resolve the issue.


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