This summer I reacquainted myself with a few things that had been missing from my repertoire of life over the past 9-10 months.
Much of my summer was about slowing it down, reining it in and walking instead of running (and even floating instead of standing). The last week or so I have had several conversations, read many a post, and thought a lot about the speed at which we are all living. Updates on life encapsulated in a 140 character (or less) tweet, sending a brief text filled with abbreviated words and much punctuation, a Facebook update with a photo to illustrate the moment, or a 2 minute voice mail left for someone that I would much rather have actually spoken with.
I spent a week in the wilds of New Hampshire with family and re-experienced something I did a lot in summer as a kid: floating on my back in a lake, looking at the clouds. When you are on your back floating on the water, the clouds are magical again, the sounds from the shore are muffled with ears under water, and the water is buoyant and comforting.
There is all the time in the world to gaze at the sky, to float as if weightless, and to get re-acquainted with that phenomenon I hadn’t felt in too long: nothing is more important than the right now.
As September approaches, and schools are starting again, we are gearing up for the coming fall and then the impending holiday season, I want to hold on to the floating and dreaming time I experienced in a lake in New Hampshire, I want to hold onto a piece of summer. So to that end, a few things to add to the repertoire:
- Fit in at least 3 (but preferably more) real conversations per week: whether it be by phone, or on Skype or in person. 3 conversations that are full and real and not limited to a tweet or a text or a post. Real live connection in real live time.
- Eating watermelon while standing knee high in water and watching the sun go down is just as important as the time spent in front of a computer. (Or substitute a seasonal/regional activity for the watermelon eating.)
- In the rush to get where we’re going–be that a $ goal, a personal best, getting product to market, or finishing that business goal–time to reflect, not rush, doesn’t need to be left by the way side.
- Put the To-Do list away and ponder and play with ideas, even if those ideas have no immediate end point, no immediate pay off. No pressure, just play.
- Get together once a week with a friend or colleague for some fruitful, delicious interaction time. No projects. No work. No collaborations. Suggested activities: get some driveway chalk and play a game of hop-scotch, get a jump rope out and remember some childhood jumping song, shoot baskets (even if like me, you throw like a girl), braid each others hair, or go for a walk and talk about your wildest dreams, or reminisce about your favourite summers.
- Accept as many impromptu invitations as you possibly can, and arrive with your phone turned off, happy to be in the company of a wonderful person or a great group of people.
- Go see a movie at the theatre instead of streaming Netflix on your laptop or tv at home. Buy popcorn or whatever movie snack you love, and sit down and be transported away.
- Arrange a once a month gathering of friends from many of the different areas of your life. Introduce them to each other and share a meal and laughter and delight in the loveliness of friends getting to know other friends.
So here we come to the doorstep of September, the bridge into fall, the time of year when everything picks up and starts moving. Even. Faster.
I am making a pledge to myself, to keep the lessons of summer close, and hold them even closer as the days speed up and the calendar fills up and and I want to remain filled with ease (as well as energy), and I want to skip (instead of run), and I want to experience (instead of rush). Please join me, and if you’d like bring your own list of things that you learned on your summer vacation.