Let's face it, summer has never been quite the same since you left the classroom and entered the world of full-time employment. Sure, there's the warm weather and adulthood doesn't preclude a vacation, but the magic of those 12 glorious weeks of freedom is gone.
The dirty secret most of us learn, albeit in different ways, is that the magic is as much about our bank accounts and new responsibilities as it is about the fact that few jobs give you more than a month off each year (not even all at once), much less the entire summer.
You'd go insane stuck at home for three months watching daytime television and eating snacks. What we all need is a summer when we travel to some exotic location, or meet a bunch of A-List Hollywood types, or both.
Athletes live a much different life than you or I and social media has given them a way to remind us that summer magic can be recaptured. Photos of beautiful sandy beaches, gorgeous humans and any variety of infuriatingly fun activities are posted in real-time.
Twitter and Instagram may offer a compelling glimpse into the lives of our favorite athletes, but they also provide a window into the ridiculous awesome time many of them are having, while we sweat and kill mosquitos.
Some athletes take it to a whole new level and make it very apparent that they are indeed having way more fun than the rest of us.
If Grizzlies guard Tony Allen's goal in life is to make his own look like the glorious tropical scenes featured on postcards sold at a Caribbean gift-shop, then the man succeeded.
Newlywed Allen and his bride have turned this summer into a thoroughly documented montage of what most of us wished we were doing right now—snorkeling, wining, dining and generally being immersed in a tropical paradise.
Trail Blazers power forward LaMarcus Aldridge may be using Twitter to broadcast all the amazing locales he's visited over the summer, but before you let envy mutate into angst, notice that he's also spending some QT with his adorable son Jaylen.
Aldridge may be enjoying the sights, sounds and flavors of Europe—including his inaugural crepe—but he's also being a great father. There's nothing wrong with that.
If Steelers wideout Antonio Brown is worried about filling the very swift shoes of Steeler-turned-Dolphin Mike Wallace as the team's No. 1 target, he's certainly doing a great job of hiding it.
Based on Brown's own musings and pics, this is the Summer of Antonio, and quite the eclectic summer at that.
First, I'd like to note: There was never any question about whether Coyotes winger Paul Bissonnette was going to have a better summer than you, only to what degree and how well it would be captured in photos.
The man's Twitter handle is 'BizNasty2point0' for goodness sake. Do you know what that means? He's an improved version. Biz has clearly been sticking to a strict summer brogram of shirtless escapades with hot ladies and plenty of booze.
Newly anointed member of the Houston Rockets, the enigmatic Dwight Howard, has made drama and conflict a constant presence lately, but he obviously has the ability (and cash) to leave it at the office.
Sure to infuriate jaded fans of the Lakers and Magic, Howard has truly enjoyed himself this summer, even as he certainly kept the Lakers front office—and his agent—quite busy.
Elephant rides, golf outings and...comedian Nick Kroll? Thus is the life of a reasonably successful NFL player and don't think for a moment that such summertime decompression has softened the razor-sharp candor of Vikings wide receiver Greg Jennings.
Yep, he just questioned the leadership capabilities of his former quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Come to think of it, should we be skeptical about the opinions of a man who has ridden an elephant?
Many of the athletes featured here have traveled to some spectacular places or just had the kind of made-for-a-teen-movie good times that—while impressive—don't cohesively fit into any single theme. For Clippers guard Jared Dudley this does not apply.
His tranquil summer days of luxury and worldly, but sedate, adventures can only be described as A Gentleman's Retreat.
Freshly unemployed NFL free agent safety Jordan Bernstein is going to make sure you, I and all in the world know he's having way more fun than any of us.
If the too-cool-to-be-genuine-wait-he's-just-way-cooler-than-me Instagram snapshots of his spirit journey don't do the job, then he's clearly articulated his winning philosophy on a pretty awesome t-shirt.
As the first ever freshman to win the Heisman Trophy, following a remarkable season when the dynamic quarterback for the Texas A&M Aggies personally shredded SEC defenses, one would expect Johnny Manziel's to be a baller summer.
However, "Johnny Football" may have overdone it, considering his boozy late-night shenanigans have kept the star in the headlines as much as they've been captured on Instagram.
Bulls power forward Taj Gibson has employed a tried and true formula for summer fun: combining tropical beaches, fancy cars, lids and—most importantly—lots and lots of peace signs flashed for the camera.
His only blemish? Gibson was just scratched from the Team USA's Olympic Basketball Team.
NBA free agent center DeJuan Blair has had a great summer by any measure, even if he's still trying to find a spot on a team. So, the Lamborghini isn't his, but rarely is such a spectacle anyone's.
His summer days have encompassed champagne-sipping, tropical vacas and some cool dudes hanging out by what looks like a pretty amazing pool; and he's a wiz with the Instagram filters. Win!
Here's the deal—in my book, any summer that includes some one-on-one time with an actual penguin is automatically vaulted into the top-tier category. In fact, it goes beyond June, July and August to include the whole shebang.
Not that Texans defensive-end/pass-swatter J.J. Watt was in need of an automatic qualifier. He's suffering from a glut of riches; not only is he at the top of his game, he gets to live the J.J. Watt life of penguin-cuddling and beautiful sunsets.
Chris Bosh, purveyor of exquisite photobombs and now two-time NBA Champion center of the Miami Heat, kicked off his summer with a victory parade and is unwinding by touring Italy with his young son.
Who knows how much the little can truly absorb while visiting the ancient city of Pompeii, but the elder Bosh is ensuring that his boy has already beaten us in the battle of summer fun.
Broncos receiver Eric Decker was certainly thrilled when future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning joined the team last year, but it's not like Tim Tebow's worm-burners could ruin this guy's life or summer.
Decker probably spent more than a few nights pinching himself and wondering how he scored the trifecta: Manning, smokin' hot wife Jessie James and a summer vacation in Hawaii.
Eagles receiver and electric special teams playmaker DeSean Jackson has the kind of DNA that is simply incompatible with summer doldrums. Seemingly impervious to the ups and downs of life and work, he just keeps running plays.
And, let's be real: We all loathe the fact he's standing behind Snoop Dogg in that photo, instead of us.
Giants defensive back Prince Amukamara looks like a dude hardwired for happiness. Seriously, look at that perma-smile; who wouldn't want to hang with him in a dive bar, much less all the fantastic places he's traveled?
Even if these photos were snapped in front of the Staten Island landfill, Amukamara would make this list...because he is the catalyst for summer fun.
49ers tight end Vernon Davis may have come just a hair short of winning the Super Bowl in 2013, but this clearly down-to-earth guy obviously grabbed this summer by the cajones.
While others may have toured the wine country of France, or sipped cocktails in Abu Dhabi, Davis engaged in a melange of interesting activities, impressively pivoting from goofy to chill to quasi-cowboy.
The seemingly inexhaustible star wideout for the Giants, Victor Cruz must wear out his friends and intimidate those who'd like to make friends with the young All-Star. Impeccably dressed and forever unfettered, joining him likely comes with high expectations.
He's having more fun than you—that's without a question—but if you or I tagged along, would we be his baggage?
Pelicans point guard Tyreke Evans must have read my journal, because he stole my dream summer: jet-skis in impossibly clear tropical seas, Las Vegas and recording my album. Seriously, this is unacceptable.
Evans' expression says it all—what are you doing right now, because it sucks compared to this.
One doesn't typically associate one of the PGA's stars with a YOLO kind of summer, but golfer Rickie Fowler is not one to stick to past precedence.
I'm not sure how the guy coordinated his season of gorgeous women, go-karts and one impressive mustache, but his Instagram account looks like it was pulled from the mind of 16-year-old guy who was asked to envision how he'd spend his last day on Earth.