(Note: If you don’t know the show “How I Met Your Mother,” Barney Stinson is Neil Patrick Harris’ character. But I repeat his lessons here, so there’s no need to watch the show to get this article. But you should still watch it. Just saying.)
There are two elements to spring break: the things everyone says you should do, and the things that make your break truly awesome. This issue of the Spectator features a spring break tab filled with varied opinions on what makes spring break great, what the best destinations are, and what spring break is “really about,” but I’ll reiterate the one thing most of us have already said: spring break is something most of us desperately need and should be something enjoyed. Unfortunately, with inevitable limitations imposed by money, work schedules, and flaky people, it’s nearly impossible to have a perfect spring break. But guess what: perfection is desirable, but unattainable. What everyone can have is a spring break that is legen—wait for it—dary. That’s right.
Step one: Usually, Barney Stinson’s idea of a good time is clubbing and chasing tail, and if you want to do that, that’s awesome. But there are far more unique things that can happen than your generalized sinfests. Like licking the Liberty Bell. Don’t listen to what anyone tells you to do for spring break. A spring break without heavy partying can still be awesome, and if someone snidely asks you what you and Granny are doing, calmly suggest to them to make their doctor’s appointment in advance for when that unexpected rash shows up.
Step two: The usual destination spots are cool and all, but make any place your own and it’s the most awesome place to be. Does Barney Stinson shun the little bars and pubs of NYC in his pursuit of legendary experiences? No, his favorite bar is a little Irish pub called McLaren’s. Likewise, you can go to any tiny spot in Florida or Georgia and try some new water sport or have any other new experience you want (I won’t judge). It is, after all, the people and the experience that matter, not the size of the name on the map.
Step three: Do what you need to do. If you need your spring break to be your time away, have it. If you need your spring break to be your time to let loose, do it. Whatever goal you’ve got, go for it. Do you see Barney giving up on his quest for awesomeness when someone gets in his way? Uh, no. And neither should you.
With that said, here’s my perfect spring break:
We begin by making the trip to a little-known beach spot in Florida, where we spend time cooking out, hanging out on the beach, playing music, and drinking. (We’re all of age.) I attempt kneeboarding or water-skiing and don’t do too terribly. We catch some yummy fish and teach other new songs while we chow down.
We head into town and check out some of the hangout spots. Suddenly, a bus pulls up beside us—yep, the Girls Gone Wild bus. In the midst of the frenzy to get towards the bus, there’s an outbreak of violence in which Joe Francis, and only Joe Francis, is punched in the face and arrested. After that excitement, we find a bar by the water and grab some drinks, and watch the sunset on the ocean. We head back and spend the night chilling, and wake up the next day ready to go scuba diving. Under the sea, we explore the reefs and marvel at the wondrous sea life. I watch as a couple of my friends attempt to joint the 20-feet-down club, and fail when they startle a pufferfish that startles both of them in return. Then, out of nowhere, a pod of dolphins approach and we play with them for a couple of hours. We head back to eat in town and have an amazing lobster dinner, followed by dancing and drinking at an awesome nightclub. We take the stage during karaoke and knock the socks off the house. In fact, a couple of us are approached by a talent scout who just happened to be in the area. When we finally head back to Valdosta, we’re exhausted yet refreshed, and have new dolphin friends, new music connections, full bellies, and great memories. In short, my spring break was the perfect amount of chill, crazy, luck, and relaxation.
Yeah, all that isn’t going to happen. I doubt Joe Francis will be arrested, and it’s illegal to swim with wild dolphins in Florida waters. But I’m just saying, spring break is one of the few times per year where life comes at you and you can grab it by the horns, unfettered by work and school commitments. It’s that willingness that makes life awesome, not breaking social norms or being crazy. Whether you’re volunteering, having a romantic getaway with your honey, checking out museums and ghost tours in Savannah, partying hard in Panama City, or fishing or canoeing this spring break, it’s what you do with life that makes it legendary. So…swimsuit up, and let’s go!