When you’re a kid, summer stretches out before you, an endless string of long, sun-warmed days, and nights ripe with the possibility of adventure. I remember those summers. When I was growing up on Bayberry Hill I measured time in books read, spent whole afternoons in the shady boughs of a sugar maple in our front yard, and indulged often in cloud gazing.
Now that I’m a grown up (and a mom, to boot), summer doesn’t look quite as idyllic as my childhood memories recall.
Along with sunshine, summer brings the need for even more juggling than the rest of the year. Summer camps, family trips, and extra play dates – all of these things require extra planning and preparation, not to mention precision execution. And all this is added on top of the usual demands: housekeeping, grocery shopping, running to the vet and orthodontist and (gods of retail be kind) Costco.
Oh, and there’s also that little thing called “work” which doesn’t seem to understand the concept of summer vacation. Nope. It just keeps chugging along, tugging me in one direction while the allure of the beach tries to pull me in the other.
Ahhh … the beach.
We are so lucky to have such a beautiful stretch of Atlantic coast to call our own. Each year, I begin the summer swearing that this will be the summer that I spend more than a paltry handful of days enjoying the white sand, clear water, and lovely salt air.
But, who am I kidding? My summers are full of best intentions, and yet they always come to a close with so many things left undone. I promise myself that I will attend more concerts at Crane’s Castle, that I will finally get my act together and host a cookout, that I will hang a hammock (and take afternoon naps in the company of favorite novels and tall glasses of raspberry iced tea). The list goes on and on.
Perhaps the most bittersweet thing about summer is not that it seems shorter and shorter each year, but that there are more and more things I want to cram into those diminishing days. There are so many experiences I want to share with the people I love – everything from whale watches and mountain climbing to sitting in the dark, watching fireflies or having a lemonade stand on the front steps.
Summer is already halfway over, and my bucket list for the season has hardly a dent in it. The days are slipping through my fingers. (Are there still strawberries at Marini’s? Oh, I hope I haven’t missed them!) I can hear the ominous ticking of a metaphorical clock, counting down the minutes ‘til Labor Day.
I have to stop and remember that less is more.
Summer bursts at the seams with opportunities for fun and adventure and even a little bit of magic, but it’s impossible to wrap our arms around all of it. In fact, it’s exhausting. So, this year, instead of weighing my summer down with a long list of things I must do, I’m going to focus on really savoring the things I am doing. I’m going to take my time, ban multi-tasking, and stop scheduling one thing on top of another on top of another.
Summer should be about slowing down, unplugging, and relearning the art of doing nothing. We’ll still have adventures. We’ll still find magic. We’re just going to take each day of summer one at a time. They’ll last longer that way.
Image Credit: jamelah e.
This piece was originally published in the Ipswich Chronicle as part of my bi-weekly column.