Isn’t summer great? Summer is all about the beach and palm trees and pool hangs and family time and friend time and drinks and grilling. All good things come from summer!
….for about 5 weeks….
I don’t know about you but as much as I love all of the above about summer a whole, whole lot, about a month or so in, I remember the not so nice side of summer. It’s hot. (I try too hard not to complain about this because I feel, as someone who lives in the US, where switching locations is about as easy as saying, “Hey, let’s try this flavor of ice cream”, that I choose to live in Florida and Florida is hot. Summertime or not, Florida is hot. If I don’t like, I can leave.) But I think even this summer, some of my friends in milder climates are agreeing it is very hot.
Aside from the heat and my son reminding me every 20 minutes that he is bored and why can’t we go do something fun like everyone else he knows, the most difficult thing for me about summer is the loneliness. That seems counterintuitive, right? Summer is supposed to free up all this time. Summer is supposed to be about those pool time hangs and those late night summer dinners, where kids stay up way too late and we all regret it the next day. Summer, by definition, seems to always include people.
But summer is also a season when we all try to cram as much fun as possible into 8 weeks. We go to the beach. We go to the mountains. We go camping. We go to hotels with big water slides. We go visit family. We go, we go, we go….And when we go so much, we aren’t very present at home, are we? My little family traveled more this summer than we ever have and it was so great. We had such adventures and we saw some really amazing old friends we never get to see.
But we weren’t home very much for a while. And then we came home and attempted to figure out the summertime routine, and we realized everyone else was also traveling and having fun and enjoying summer. And conversations with dear friends started going like this: “Which camp is your kid in this week? Oh wait, we’re doing that one next week. Well, can we do dinner on Friday? Oh, you’re leaving town on Friday. But you can do NEXT Friday, well, shoot, we aren’t here then. Ok, maybe in August? Like late August? Like when school is back in session and backpacks have been purchased and alarms are being set again? Yeah. That works. Ok, see you in August.”
Summer is great. Late bedtimes are great. The sun taking forever to set is great. But I keep having more and more conversations about how I haven’t really seen anyone in a while. And really, to be honest, how completely exhausted I am. All of that going, it made me tired. The constant scheduling around my work schedule and Greg’s work schedule and the sitter had to cancel again, can you take Levi with you to work half a day and then my mom will get him? All of that shuffling, it makes me a little tired.
So I find myself here on (quick calendar check because it’s summer) July 23, feeling worn out, lonely and distracted. And here is my point: It’s ok.
It’s ok that I’m tired. It’s ok that I’m a little bit lonely. It’s ok that I’m distracted and discombobulated because my routine has been a little out of whack for the last few weeks. It’s ok that summer is so much fun and it’s also ok that summer is hard for me.
This morning I committed to stop putting so much pressure on summer to be a relaxing, rejuvenating season. That’s not summer’s job. Summer’s job is to give me a little more time. What I do with that time is my job. It’s my job to take stock of my heart a few times a month and admit that I’m feeling worn out and bleh. It’s my job to hunker down a couple of times during the summer and rest or journal or talk to my therapist about how hard summer is.
Maybe what I’ve just said has you thinking I am way out in left field and summer is the best thing to ever happen and who cares if your bag never really gets unpacked? That is so great. I am so glad you love all of summer. I want to be you…especially if you found a cute bathing suit this year.
But, if you feel a little like me, and you’re staring at the back end of summer just hoping you make it to fall, I want you to know, I’m there too. Let’s be there together and let’s take the pressure off of summer for a while. Let’s remove the countdown clock in our souls of when school starts back up and let’s replace it with a sticky note reminder that says, “Take a beat.”
Take a beat. Slow it down. Phone a friend. Read a book. Breathe in and then out. Do it again. Hug your kids. Watch a movie. We’re almost there. Take back these last few weeks of summer and remove the pressure to cram it all in. In fact, shove it all out. Push all of the commitments and summer fun-tivities out for a minute and then add them back in one at a time, being sure each one brings you some joy or relaxation or connection.
Summer is almost over. Let’s take a nap.