All around America, college students are preparing to take, or have, in some cases, already begun their annual pilgrimages to places South, places sunny, places Daytona or Jamaica or Palm Springs or the Bahamas or maybe to places even further flung, like Europe or Alaska or Greenland or their parents' basements. It is the time known as Spring Break, also known as "March break, spring vacation, Mid-Term Break, study week, reading week or the Easter holidays in the United States, and some parts of Canada."
It is the stuff movies are made of, legends are formed from, tattoos may or may not be acquired during, and friendships and romantic relationships can be forever changed by. But why should college students alone be privy to this ritual? Why, why, why, should college students be the only ones who get to break during the seasonal shift between winter and spring?
Just because some of us have jobs and mortgages or rent and kids and pets with mouths to feed, just because some of us have been out of college for years upon years, too many to count (so we've stopped), just because we're getting harrowing reminders from our university reunion committees telling us it's some double-digit number since we last walked through the quad in our suede duck shoes and our snappy Bermuda shorts, carrying our books in a fine rucksack purchased at the Five and Dime, does not mean that we shouldn't continue to get Spring Break forever. "Spring Breakers for Life" is not just a message sewn on a pillow that one cries into nightly as one remembers the old days. It is a mantra. So, what's an old fogey to do about Spring Break? I enlisted the help of a few current (or recent, or once upon a time-ago) Spring Breakers to find out.
Suggestion No. 1: Break Up Your Old Routine.
The first rule of Spring Break is, stop doing what you normally do so much of and doing something else, too. Currently Spring-Breaking NYU student Myles Tanzer had a few ideas. "Airbnb someone else's apt and pretend it's a vacation. Go to the baths and have a spa experience," he wrote. "Take your lunch hour early and go to a diner and pretend it's brunch." Or, obviously, "Go see Spring Breakers."
Old Person's Experience: As an old person with a job, I did this by making a doctor's appointment in Midtown and going to it. Things suddenly felt a whole lot different out there! Also, I got a turkey panini from the deli outside instead of ordering from Seamless. Spring Break is crazy. (Ideas for the rest of week: commuting at an unusual time; getting drinks after work with a new friend; going to take a brisk walk in the middle of the day; picking a fight; wearing something brightly colored instead of black, beige, or grey.)
Suggestion No. 2: Consider Your Environment
It may not be the time to take a week off work and go to Myrtle Beach (in fact, it is surely not that time), but that doesn't mean you can't make some more localized changes.Yes, it snowed yesterday in New York City, but it can be no less tropical in your apartment or house than it is in Panama City, possibly only requiring a little nudge to the thermostat, if you have one of those things. Perhaps your apartment is already so unnaturally warm that you work up a sweat while showering. If so, you're in luck. And if your refrigerator makes a noise like when the Titanic was starting to sink in the James Cameron movie, you can imagine that you're on a booze cruise.
Old Person's Experience: I have my life vest on.
Suggestion No. 3: Make Some Fashion Choices
Your lodgings are boiling hot, so you might as well dig that plastic crate of summer clothes out from under the bed and put on a tank top and cut-offs, your swimsuit, or that summer dress that's so comfy. Add flip flops for full effect. (There's that clothing line, too, which may or may not make any difference to you.) While you're under the bed, pretend like you're touring a cave! (Are those stalactites or stalagmites? I always forget. Note: This is a good time to rest.)
Old Person's Experience: The other day I broke a wine glass so I put on some espadrilles while cleaning up to avoid getting cut.
Suggestion No. 4 Get Some Rest
"Sleep a lot," says Tanzer. In preparation, because you have a job and presumably some cash to toss about, buy some new bedding and pillows that you can really sink into. Go to bed earlier, or, maybe, in the wee-est hours of the morning, and the next day at work tell everyone how amazing the drink specials were at that little hole-in-the-wall you found in Cancun. Pretend the water cooler is the Trevi Fountain, or a pristine, uncharted tropical waterfall, and the paper cup you're drinking out of contains a tepid keg beer.
Old Person's Experience. Yesterday I got into bed at 10:30 to read a book and fell asleep with it on my face.
Suggestion No. 5: Do Some Research
Take a cue from the world's marketing departments. What better way to know your target market than to become your target market? That is to say, if you want to Spring Break, find out what real Spring Breakers are up to, using the tools real Spring Breakers use, like "Facebook" and "Twitter." Hashtag: #springbreak. Read, conversate, imitate.
It's almost 1:30. Which in Spring Break Time means it's time for a beer and a nap.— joseph birdsong (@josephbirdsong) March 19, 2013
Old Person's Experience: The Internet really is amazing, isn't it?
Suggestion No. 6: Take Cues from Stock Art
Brightly colored tees? Check. Smiling, happy faces? Check. Energy, so much so that it's palpable? Check. Lying down on the green grass of the quad while surrounded by all of your BFFs, screaming into the air, "GET ME OUT OF COLLEGE ALREADY!" or, comparatively, jumping into the air and being caught on camera in the midst of all that euphoria on, say, a beach, at sunset? You're Spring Breaking.
Old Person's Experience: aksldjfkladsjflajdsflkasd;jfkalsdfjakldsjf
Suggestion No. 6: Drink
With the caveat that if you already drink quite a bit you might want to use "Spring Break" to take a short sabbatical from the sauce, Tanzer assures me that liberal boozing is a key part of what the holiday is about. Our own Esther Zuckerman, who graduated last year, tells me that in order to imitate Spring Break, one should "Wear a pinnie and get wasted." (Then she admitted that for most of her previous Spring Breaks she went home and wrote papers.)
Old Person's Experience: Brunch.
Suggestion No. 7: Stop Being So Stuck on Specifics
Luis Paez-Pumar, who's still living the dream after graduating from NYU in 2011, explains that the free-flowing Spring Break vibe can go on all year "if your friends are committed to it. Just get the tequila shots (*shudder*) and the copious amounts of beer rolling and go dancing somewhere. By chance, I ended up at Niagara with a group like this a couple weekends ago, and it did sort of feel like we were still in college and on vacation. That's the best you can do!"
Old Person's Experience: Googling "Give it the old college try."