My Life 30 Challenges to Make This the Best Summer of Your Life by Christina Mead Want to have a hands-down, feet-up-in-the-air, spinning-around-in-circles-yelling, best Summer of your life? (Is that even a real question Christina? What are you writing? Of course they want that.) Okay, I won’t ask you anymore ridiculous questions like — yes, or no, are tacos the best and only appropriate meal for Tuesdays? I’m done. I swear. Let’s talk about your Summer. It’s here. And since I love and care about you from the bottom of my blood-pumping-cardiac-muscle, I don’t want you to end up like this: You know what would be tragic? According to Leo Bloy, “The only real sadness, the only real failure, the only great tragedy in life, is not to become a saint.” I would add, the only great tragedy in life is to not become a saint and have lots of holy fun along the way. Because Jesus loves joyful people. Don’t let these precious, sun-filled days fly by in such a way that you look back and realize you’re the same person you were before. Behold — 30 challenges to have a fun, happy, holy Summer: 1. Spend more time out of your bed than in your bed. 2. Sleep outside once a week and invite more and more friends to join the camp out each week. “And in the mornin’ (you’re) makin’ waffles!!!” 3. Stop trying to get a beach-bod and instead challenge yourself to make 3 healthy changes this Summer. 4. To start with — stop. drinking. soda. 5. Learn a new prayer. Maybe the St. Michael prayer for your future soda cravings. 6. Memorize a new Bible verse every week. 7. Memorize all the dialogue in Wizard of Oz. My aunt did. It’s not impossible. 8. Put on a backyard musical of the Wizard of Oz and become a YouTube sensation. 9. Road trip to the closest state line and make a really big deal about crossing it. Like, a really. big. deal. The more confetti the better. 10. Pray a 54 day rosary novena. Trust me, you’ve got the time. 11. Watch documentaries instead of PG-13 or R rated movies. 12. Clean the bathroom every Saturday morning for you parents without being asked or complaining about it. 13. Learn how to do your own laundry. 14. And then do it. Every week. 15. Hurray you’re on your way to adulthood. Now eat a popsicle and never forget your precious, precious, fleeting childhood. 16. Speaking of children, go volunteer to babysit or play with some kids whose parents need a break. 17. Because every parent needs a break. Even yours. So get out of the house. 18. Remember how some people don’t even have houses? Go help out at a homeless shelter. 19. And be grateful for all your blessings. Write down 3 things you’re grateful for every day. 20. You can include Life Teen. Actually why don’t you go to daily Mass and pray for us? 21. It would bring us joy. Which is a really cool thing you can do! Bring joy to others. Give random gifts or affirmation notes to your friends, family, strangers, pets… 22. Also give away some of your own stuff. Simplify your life by giving away ⅓ of your clothes. 23. Read one of the gospels, like as in all of the Gospel of Mark not one gospel reading from one day because what kind of challenge is that? 24. Go to Confession once a week and talk to the priest about how to kick sinful habits, even if it’s something you feel isn’t a big deal, like jealousy, or vanity, or lying. 25. Build a new piece of furniture or a tree house. From dumpster findings. 26. Have a garage sale and give the money to me. 27. Just kidding. Maybe. No… give the money to your church. 28. Make this the Summer in which you end the bro-tank-plague that has been affecting you and making you resemble every frat-boy-that-you-never-want-to-be. 29. Because you can be classy. Be classy this Summer. 30. Wear clothes that reflect who you are as God’s son or daughter rather than call attention to your body. Because you are more. Go forth and have fun, be creative, and be a saint. I’m praying for you.