New week. New month.
It’s the first Monday in June, and that means it’s time for me to . . .
Everywhere I go right now, I get this question: Any plans for the summer? It doesn’t matter where I go . . . hair salon . . . coffee shop . . . lunch with a friend . . . Lowes. Same question: Any plans for the summer?
(Maybe this doesn’t happen to you? It might be . . . just the Midwest? We are very small-talk-y here . . . ) (It’s one of the things that strikes Erin the most when she comes home for a visit . . . just how small-talk-y we really are.) (So maybe this is a regional thing.)
That question . . . any plans for the summer? . . . got me thinking. Our summers tend to have themes. Sometimes there are big plans. Sometimes there are not. But there’s always a theme. Back in the summer of 1976, for example, my summer theme was to get-the-best-tan-ever. In 2003 it was the summer-of-moving-my-family-to-Kalamazoo. The summer of 2007 was the summer-of-getting-a-puppy (Jenny). I’ve had summers of traveling. Summers of wedding-planning. Summers of exterior home renovation. Summers of caretaking.
This summer, though?
No real plans. (My ready answer for anyone who asks me.)
But I do have a theme! I’m thinking of this as my Summer of Zen. The summer of going with the flow. The summer of letting things unspool . . . as they unspool. It reminds me of my childhood summers, actually. Not much on the calendar. Just empty(ish) days to fill as I may. Possibilities . . . rather than commitments.
(This little guy – we refer to him as Namaste Frog – has been part of my garden décor for a very long time. Every year he calmly meditates by my pond, reminding me that . . . I should, too. No matter what kind of summer I’m having.)
Our summers seem to be little microcosms of our years. They’re like this little “bite” of time that feels . . . different. Separate from the rest of the year. (I’m sure this stems from our “school year” roots.) We often make summer goals for ourselves, or summer bucket lists. Summer days just have a different rhythm, a different schedule. And they’re fleeting (at least, they are where I live).
I think there is nothing more frustrating or disappointing than wanting a different summer than the one you’re living. (I have been there.) You probably can’t . . . get a puppy AND have a Zen summer, for example. And some years, you get dealt a big surprise in the midst of your perfectly planned summer theme. Because life happens.
So, at the beginning of this summer, I challenge you to figure out what kind of summer you’ve got going (either by design or by default). Name your summer theme. And then settle into it; own it. If you have an exciting summer of travel or exploration, own it. If you’re in the midst of a summer of home renovation (godhelpyou), own that. And if you’re having a Zen summer with nothing special on the horizon, own that!
Accept and enjoy whatever summer theme you’ve got going. (And always have an answer ready if someone happens to ask you about your plans.)
What’s the theme of YOUR summer?
Start Your Engines!
JUST A REMINDER: Tomorrow – June 6 – is the Read With Us discussion day for our current selection, Trespasses by Louise Kennedy. Bonny, Carole, and I will each be posting discussion questions on our blogs, and then we’ll be hosting a Zoom discussion later in the evening (7:00 Eastern Time). We’d love to have you join us! Please RSVP (in the comments or send me an email) if you want to join us on the Zoom (if you haven’t already).