Los Cuentos with Pierre; Spring 2019

Okay, so you’re (finally) done with school and can’t wait to enjoy the summer shine in L.A. but you don’t quite know how to get started. Moreover, it seems like all these other kids have somewhere to go while you’re just sitting at home watching IGTV re-runs on your couch.

I’ve been there. It’s tough when your routine suddenly vanishes like the spammers on Instagram who follow just to unfollow, but here are the first three steps you can take on the very first day of your summer break to create an amazing time by yourself right away.

1. EXERCISE (yes, not kidding). This does not require WiFi, any long distances, or even that much time, frankly. The fact of the matter is that your body’s health totally affects your state of mind, which means that if you’re just sitting around at home all day, you’re more than likely going to get grumpy. Grumpy kids lead to awkward vibes, and awkward vibes are not at all what you’re looking to get the most of during your break.

So, does this mean you have to suddenly drop everything and sign up for the Olympics? It does not. All it means is that you need to STRETCH OUT your body in order to feel more relaxed throughout the day. You can do this on the very first day of your summer break in multiple ways, including the following:

I. 25 push-ups (or an amount more proportionate to your ability)
II. 25 jumping-jacks (same as above)
III. 1 Mile of light jogging (same as above)

I promise that if you can do any one or a combination of these at least three times a week, you will instantly feel better about nearly everything else in mind.

2. FIND A BOOK. TURN TO THE FIRST PAGE. READ THAT MF. Now let’s be honest, I know that flipping through the pages of a textbook doesn’t prove as IG-worthy as a trip to Magic Mountain or your best friend’s cousin’s quinceñeara, but I’ll explain how it’s just as good, if not better. Let’s be clear about this too: it’s true that when you’re assigned books at school and are required to read them, it can take a lot of the fun out of the reading experience. But this does NOT mean that reading overall isn’t an enjoyable, enriching activity for your mind. It just means that you’ve got to take reading at your own pace is all. Consider three key benefits you’ll gain from channeling your inner-reader this summer season:

I. You’ll improve your vocabulary, which is just better for everyone, including those of us who want to rap, those of us who want to go out on dates to drop a great one-liner or two, and those of us who simply want to better explain to others why they can’t tell ’em nothin’.

II. You’ll get away from home, even if you’re just home. This is especially important when you’re not really trying to go out to anywhere in particular but still want to get away from the predicaments of home. Now, I know what some of you might be thinking: your phone is the best way to get your distance, but consider this: your phone is a warm and tired object that rarely let’s you focus on just one thing. Over the summer, it’s going to need a break from you and vice versa. A book, on the other hand, is literally cooler since it doesn’t require batteries, and is much easier to focus on as it entails just you and the author on an adventure. The latter will not fail you. Trust me.

III. You’ll grow to see yourself in more of the world out there. Again, let’s be honest: your IG is filled with people who are like you but also not. In the throes of being similar to others you’ll inevitably compare yourself to others. But what if you’re really just comparing yourself to an idea you have about someone else based on appearances instead of reality? Don’t overthink it, though; Just consider this: reading allows you to relate to other characters and personalities out there in a way that doesn’t require you to compare yourself to them. This, my friends, is an extremely useful skill that you’ll appreciate being familiar with over the course of many lifetimes.

For a few favorite books by yours truly to get you started, consider Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, or even–if you think you’re tough enough–Alex Haley’s Autobiography of Malcolm X. You can also check out my BOOKS section on the site for more recommendations, which I’ll be adding more reviews to this summer (because of course I’m going to follow my own list).

3. SUBSCRIBE TO JIMBO TIMES FOR MORE COOL STUFF. By far the easiest thing to do on this list is to make sure you’re in touch for all the latest updates with The L.A. Storyteller. There will be more poems, stories, contests for Los Cuentos, and a world of other stuff in the making through the site. Subscribing will also guarantee that you don’t miss How to Beat Summer 2019: Part II. So, what are you waiting for? Find the subscription button on the bottom section of this column and DO IT ALREADY! And if you’ve already done that, tell a friend! Or FIVE. This is not a drill.

J.T.

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