Every year, when I think about summer, I notice this big competition in my brain. On the one hand, I picture all the good stuff from my childhood - a blank expanse of days to do with what I want, run around in the sprinkler, go to the pool, eat popsicles, ride bikes until it's too dark to see, read endlessly without interruption, and go camping! On the other hand, the adult part of my brain stacks up a bunch of projects and tasks that are going to get done "this summer". Like my brand new website. And cool programs I'm working on. And lots of writing. And house renovation stuff. The list can get pretty long. And worrying about or avoiding what's on the "adult" list or slogging through too many projects in one day both can cut into my ability to enjoy the fun stuff. If I've worked all day I'm resentful that there wasn't some lovely pool time, and if I've avoided or worried instead, maybe "sneaking" some fun in like a marathon reading session of a book I can't put down, then I'm also kind of miserable, because I didn't do my work. This summer I've decided to change things up. The first thing I realized I needed to change were my unreasonable expectations about what I can actually accomplish in a summer. Summer is not infinite, even though it seemed that way in early June back when we were seven years old. The other thing I realized is that I was tired of not enjoying the "fun" things because I was only half there, the other half of me worrying about the big projects that were sitting untouched. So I decided to get gentle with myself. I sat down and created a beautiful vision board for summer with lots of relaxing pinks and blues, and words like "gentle", "short and sweet", "easy" and "celebrate".
I decided to prioritize a couple of extra-fun things for myself. I'm studying French! I'm practicing French every day, something completely new to me, and it is such FUN! I'm also making sure there are plenty of excursions, big and small, this summer. About two days after I made this board, I headed out on the Appalachian Trail for a week, and look at what I saw on the first day!
It's like my vision board came to life before my eyes, with the exact same colors. The woods were full of pink rhododendrons and fluffy white mountain laurel. The clouds and sky were lavender and blue. Truly magical.
Oh, and the couple of big projects like my website and programs? Now that I've given myself some space and permission to have some real and unobstructed fun, they're happening too, in a reasonable and happy way. Free (mostly) of angst. I know - it sounds kind of pie in the sky. But it's amazing how some tiny mental shifts can make such a difference.
If you're in a similar boat and want a little more help getting your summer straight and having it be a tasty mix of fun and getting stuff done, you're invited to my one hour class called Pie in the Sky! It's on Tuesday, June 25, 7:30 p.m. Central, on the phone (recorded if you can't make it live), and it's going to be fabulous! Pie recipes will be included! We'll figure out how you can savor your summer instead of slog through it, while still getting some major stuff accomplished. Details and sign up here. Come join if it feels delicious!