I don’t remember ever really wearing shoes in the summer. I remember sleeping in late, I mean really late. I’d try to push it until noon if my parents didn’t drag me out sooner. I remember the sun streaming in through the window as I slowly woke up, beckoning me to come out and play.
I remember running through the sprinklers, chasing each other with squirt guns. Riding my bike and not holding on to the handlebars. Swimming for hours on end in the pool with my friends.
Summertime meant going to the movies and reading lot’s of good books while baking in the sun. It meant 4th of July picnics, fireworks, making ice cream on the porch and of course sparklers. For me it also meant weeding the garden, picking green beans and peas while trying to avoid the grasshoppers.
The best parts were the lazy days spent in a hammock dreaming of what I wanted to be when I grew up, imagining the places I’d go and of course playing outside with my friends, exploring and not having to be home until it started to get dark. My mom would help me scrub off all the day’s dirt, put me to bed and I’d sit and listen to the crickets and enjoy the cool breeze from my electric fan.
Those were the days. Back then I had no idea what it was like to be too busy. I guess I figured I’d always have time for those things. I would always go swimming, take the stairs two at a time, try to catch fireflies in a jar.
But then of course I grew up. I had places to be, things to do – and somewhere along the way I forgot how to take the time to really savor life like I did as a child. It’s so easy to get caught up in the “have to’s” and put a lot of the “want to’s” on the back burner.
No matter how “grown up” we think we are, we must never lose sight of what it means to be human. To relax and unwind a little, invest in some quality time with the family, to go out and play with the kids while they’re still at home, marvel together at the wonders of nature, and share some laughter with friends.
It’s true, as adults we do have responsibilities. I’m not suggesting anyone quit their jobs and lay around the house all day, but it’s something to be mindful of. Intentionally creating a little space for ourselves to dream and create in this overly busy world is so important.
Here are some tips that I have stumbled across on my journey that have helped me clear some space in my life. Maybe they will be of benefit for you too:
Make a list of things you’d like to do this summer –
You know, all those things you say you’re going to do someday? I don’t necessarily mean big, bucket list types of things, that may be a little more than you’re ready for at this point, but what about going to the bookstore and picking out a great summer read, invite some friends over for the afternoon and make ice cream, take the kids to the beach. Enlist the help of your family to come up with some ideas and then actually SCHEDULE them on the calendar!
Take some time to be still.
Pour a glass of lemonade and go sit outside. Watch the birds, find shapes in the clouds, it doesn’t matter, just take a few minutes to appreciate life.
Go take a walk.
There’s nothing more energizing than a 10 minute walk. Stretch your legs, breathe in some fresh air and refresh your mind.
Do something your future self will thank you for.
This has always been a great way for me to exercise a little self care. Get the coffeemaker ready the night before, wash the dishes right after dinner so in the morning you wake up to a clean kitchen, organize your junk drawer so you can easily find what you’re looking for next time – you get the idea.
Get some exercise.
If you’re not a regular exerciser, start with 5 minutes a day. The important thing is to get the habit started, you can build up as you go. Your body is made to move, and you will be amazed at how much better you’ll feel physically and mentally.
Give yourself a break.
Really. Promise me that you won’t miss out on that sunset your spouse wants you to come see, that thing that your son wants you to watch him do just because you need to finish one more thing.
Believe me, the cleaning can wait, the laundry will still be there when you get back – just go experience life and stop worrying about it!
Get out of your comfort zone and try something new.
Start with just one thing. That is how we grow. There’s a saying that says “If it scares you, you should probably do it.” You never know, you just might like it.