Ever since my preschool teacher gig ended the last week of May, I've had a lot of extra time off. Even with two (actually, due to some boring stuff I don't want to go into, it's now officially THREE) other jobs apart from the preschool thing, I can't seem to get enough hours to fully occupy my time. And I know that when schools get out around here, I'm going to have to devote full days instead of full afternoons to my nanny job--but in the meantime, I have a lot more time to do absolutely nothing.
Now, if this time had been handed to me back in January or February, I know exactly what I would do with it. I'd work on writing stuff until my fingers fell off. Since I kind of like my fingers attached to my hands, I guess it's a good thing that I didn't have a lot of free time then.
The thing is, there's something about the summer that makes me feel...well, I can't think of a word for it. Lazy was the first word that came to my mind, but that's not what I'm looking for. I mean, I can be lazy (yesterday was an example of how I can unforgivably waste a lot of time playing computer games when I'm supposed to be working on writing--and I hope never to repeat it--but something tells me I will). But I think a better term to describe how summer makes me feel is...relaxed.
I blame it on the fact that I spent my entire childhood going to school for every season besides summer. When summer came, no more work. I got to sleep in late and watch tv and read books and play outside and go swimming and go on vacation and just do nothing until August. And my parents are teachers, so they had summer off, too. I had no concept of people actually having to WORK in the summer. And I guess even now part of that mentality is still present.
Sometimes I get really worked up and think I have to do a lot of stuff--and work is important. The things I do with the time I've been given are vitally important. But sometimes I start thinking that if I'm not doing this one certain thing (like writing, going to work, etc.), then I'm wasting my time. And summer is a nice reminder that it's okay to relax. It's a reminder I need annually.
Last summer I decided that I was going to try to experience every season instead of just getting through them. With summer, that meant I was going to spend more time doing relaxing things that were still important. I went on daycations to see friends that live a few hours away. I sat out on my front porch with a glass of iced tea--just to listen to the sounds of the crickets. I put on my spf 100 and went to the pool. I made low calorie root beer floats. In the fall, I made a point of actually going to the state fair (since it's so close and I'd NEVER been before--what was I thinking?). I carved a pumpkin. I made a full Thanksgiving dinner (complete with a 13 lb. turkey) just for myself (even though one other person did show up at the last minute). Winter was harder because I'm one of those notorious WINTER HATERS, but even then I tried. I mean, Christmas is easy. It's my favorite season, my favorite day, my favorite favorite favorite. But after Christmas, then comes that two and a half month period where I hate everything...except for hot chocolate (which I couldn't have because I'm dieting, but oh well). But I did a lot of knitting (because that's a winter activity, yo). I got a new coat which helped things a lot--it's always better to brave the cold when looking adorable and fashionable...and because of all the knitting, I also had a lot of cute scarves to wear. Mainly, I kept telling myself that spring would be all the sweeter after I finally got through winter. Then spring came and my heart rejoiced! Life! Flowers! Butterflies! Warmer (but not too warm) weather! Allergies...well, okay, so spring isn't perfect either, but that's what Claritin is for.
So it's summer again (or so the temperatures outside tell me, even if the calendar still says it's spring). And I'm learning (once again) that it's okay to relax. I've had a lot of time off. Some of it I've wasted. Some of it I've spent LIVING. Even if I'm not working or writing, I can still do something important--like go have lunch with a friend I haven't seen in a while or having a picnic just because I can.
I really think that one of the reasons God invented summer is to remind us to slow down and take time to relax. I get in such a hurry sometimes to do do do, get done get done get done, be somewhere be somewhere be somewhere that I forget it's important to take time to breathe. God did give us work, but He also gave us rest. And sometimes rest means doing something different from the treadmill/hamster wheel routine. Sometimes it just means taking the time to appreciate life.
So whatever else happens this summer, I plan on really living.