“Every Man Makes His Own Summer.”

“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.”
— Robertson Davies, “Three Worlds, Three Summers,” The Enthusiasms of Robertson Davies

* I was thrilled to be featured in the Living category on Flipboard. Check it out!

* Join the happiness conversation on Facebook — lots of interesting conversation there. Or follow me on Twitter, @gretchenrubin.

  • Peninith1

    Oh hurray, you have found Robertson Davies–a writer whose work, far away from this rather dour quotation, has often made me happily laugh out loud! I hope your choosing him will encourage visitors to this blog to look for his great novels, which all are serious as can be, yet narrated with a comic spirit and a witty voice. Tempest Tossed . . . The Cunning Man . . . the magnificent Deptford Trilogy . . . What’s Bred in the Bone . . .

  • LivewithFlair

    Hello, Gretchen!  I have returned from my heavy summer in Colorado and finally went into the woods in PA to have an adventure.  It was a mushroom adventure.  Enjoy the pics:  http://livewithflair.blogspot.com/2011/08/ugliest-mushroom.html

  • Fawn

    Wow! This quote really sums up our summer in Norway this year.  It made me realize it is my own responsibility to create at least a small adventure before fall strikes in a week or two. Great post!

  • Though I could not do much in this summer has some great plans for the next one and will surely try it out…

    Online Business
    Virtual Assistant

  • Annstanland

    It’s super to see that you’re quoting a well regarded Canadian!  Thanks so much! 

  • Mike DiCerto

    Summer provides the magical dew. The prima materia  for adventure. And in summer an adventure can be as simple as sitting it your yard- the wondrous warmth on your face as insects work and provide your play. Its always been my favorite time for adventures of all dimensions. 

  • Rebecca Stevenson

    Last year circumstances did not allow for us, either, but we’re making up for it this year. 🙂

    I noticed your book in a Cambridge New Age bookstore (of all places) last week and spent most of the weekend reading your blog archives. (A lot of your older entries have been hit by spammers, but you probably know that.) I find the idea of a happiness project very cheering in itself, and I’m glad that it’s become such a success for you and for other people. Lots of good advice, lots of thought-provoking observations, and lots of interesting links here. I’m particularly interested in your advice on making connections, an area I find very challenging. Thank you for all of the work you’ve put into this.

  • chellieroo

     OK to the adventure part, but “no character”?
     In July & August it’s never cold. The windows are always open, I wear sandals & tank tops even though you can see my bra straps, the dog stinks the day after her bath & we swim in the lake. I get tan even through the 30 spf & my hair turns to straw. We pick strawberries, then raspberries, then basil for pesto, then blueberries. There’s Shakespeare & music in the park. I generally resent going to work.
    Insofar as I choose to wear, to pick, to swim, etc I suppose I choose my adventure (or make my own summer). 
    I can’t agree, thought,  that the absence of unpleasant weather or short days should count as lack of character (& wonder that a Canadian, who may have shorter days & more cold than do I in Maine,  should say so!)

    • E Persyn

      In Canada, our summers are short and our winters are cold, but that certainly doesn’t make for lack of adventure. Summers include the glories of getting half dressed and being okay with it, letting your straw hair do it’s beachy wave thing, and eating delicious fresh fruit- i totally agree. but winter, as cold and frigid as it may be, includes the joys of sipping a hot chocolate with whipped cream under a blanket, or making a snow angel or snow man, going sledding. There are many joys in each season, but I fully agree with the quote above, noting that you determine in the season, and lead your own adventure!

  • Yasmin

    I took this thought in a different way…like “every man makes his own summer” for me means that every person can make his or her life by their perspective.
    Hope I am making myself clear. I mean by remaining positive and always
    In-Spirit as suggested by Dr Wayne Dyer my summer can be eternal. No one can
    steal the joy and enthusiasm of my spirit. On the other hand if I am downcast
    in summer it means this is winter for me…a long, cold, gloomy and endless
    winter. The next line that validates this point for me is “My summer has been overcast by my own heaviness
    of spirit.” So outside summer alone
    cannot be a source of joy. I like the concept of summer of spirit. Exactly that’s what I feel. As for adventures they
    could be those of a spiritual nature like seeking more awareness and peace,
    trying to align myself with the energy source, which means going in search of
    spiritual adventures. Though I do not know the whole context of the extract yet
    for me it is beautiful in this significance.

    • Jenny

      well said, so inspiring words of happiness…

  • Bruna

    I believe that regardless of what we feel and wish for, at the end God’s hand is the one that completes everything….Man may think he can do, change things and decide things by himself, but ultimately no leave falls without God’s hand….all the rest is relative…..

  • Denise

    Just finished listening to your book, “Happier at Home” and loved it! I decided to use your ideas to start a “happier at school” project. I have picked out two things that went well and two things that need improvement to work on in school. I even invited other teachers to join me. My hope is to stay positive and treat each child as the way I would want my child or grandchild to be treated. I plan to carry this through for the entire year and plan to keep a journal of each months resolution. I love my students and love to teach so I am hoping this will be a win/win for us all. Denise

    • gretchenrubin

      I’m so happy to hear that it struck a chord with you.

    • Danae Zytkoskee

      Thanks for inspiration Denise! As a fellow teacher, I am going to follow this advice as well.

  • andreaballard

    I participated in a scavenger hunt last year that solved the summer dilemma for me. There were weekly challenges to do things like get outside, pick some fruit, play in the water, have a picnic, etc. Making it a game made it fun for me (and my child).