The other day my kids were lamenting about the summer being almost over and how we haven’t done some things that they really like to do. I too have missed our annual pilgrimage to the ocean or a day spent in the inside of a trampoline park while a thunderstorm performs overhead. But mostly I thought this has been the best summer ever.
I worked less this summer than I have since 1996. I did the math on that and didn’t really care for it so let’s just call it a real long time. The reality of not having childcare has meant that half my day is spent with the kids and half my day is spent working. That half with the kids is frequently a lot of fun. We’ve gone to more playgrounds than I can count, we’ve explored trails and creek beds, we’ve gone to multiple lakes and beaches, we’ve taken hot sweaty walks, pet so many dogs, stopped to smell the flowers, inspect the insects, enjoyed the shade of many trees from a comfortable picnic blanket and eaten the not quite ripe raspberries off the bushes we planted.
I have done some of my best work. While the hours have been fewer the potency of the time has grown. Reaching out and being of service has become easier. The Values work that I’ve done personally has made the time and energy I invest feel purpose-full. This has contributed to my desire to do my best and a complete absence of procrastination (unheard of in previous seasons of life). As people have seen these differences in me I’ve felt called and thoughtfully encouraged to share the impact of knowing your Values and teaching others to identify theirs and THAT work? That work lights me up.
I have limited my opportunity to compare. Comparison is the thief of present joy. I know this and you likely do too but it wasn’t until this summer that I took that knowing into action. For a good chunk of this summer, I was completely off social media. I unsubscribed from every promotion in my email. I committed myself to looking at other peoples experiences of joy instead of their bodies. I have worn my swimsuits, I have jumped into every body of water available, I have worn shorts on the hike, I have not tried on a single thing that I fear would not fit or shamed myself for not “trying” to be better, I flat out refuse to be mean to myself. This piece of vulnerability? Huge for me.
I choose not to juggle. Not every day this summer has been blissful. Please. I have 4 kids, 2 dogs and my husband and I are both attempting to lead professionally fulfilling lives. It’s not easy. In the beginning of the stay at home season in March I chose to be very intentional and the practice of “what worked and what didn’t” were instrumental in feeling like we were making progress. This summer I came face to face with the truth that I am not a clown. I can not juggle. Any attempt to juggle will leave me feeling bad in a million different ways. If I can’t be fully present, I can’t be happy and happiness is important to me.
I’ve adopted the attitude of seasons. I’m living this season. Kind of like sports teams when they say “this is our building year” or “this is our championship year”. This has been the best summer of my adult life. And in a couple of weeks, we’re going to wrap it up and call it Fall. Will Fall look like this? for sure it won’t, it just might be better.