Remember when you got a summer break — long, lazy days with no school, no dressing up (except maybe for church on Sundays) and no worrying about how many calories were in your peanut butter and jelly sandwiches?
As my siblings and I entered the working world, my dad told us, "You can get more done in six days than you can in seven."
My dad is a wise guy. (Wise man? No, that still sounds wrong.)
The wisdom behind his principle is that we need to rest. No matter how much piles up on our desks, no matter how many volunteer efforts we are asked to pitch in on and no matter how many recreational activities crowd our calendars, we need to make time to relax.
Recently, I've found myself scheduling each day to the max. And, wouldn't you know, my dad is right.
While I enjoy being involved in a lot of things, if I don't give myself time to anticipate events, relish them in the moment or reflect on the results, my mind seems to always be whirling around the question, "What's next?"
So I have been challenging myself to dedicate several hours of each week to down time — parts of the day where I forget what needs to be done, walk away from my phone and just chill.
For me, restoration comes from spending time reading, playing piano, scribbling out scripts, sitting outside to appreciate nature and — no judgment, please — napping. (I'm not sure there is a point to being awake when it's over 90 degrees outside, anyway.)
Those are my things, but everyone is different. For others, rest may include fishing, video games or gardening. Some folks like to hike, sew or cook. I wish that I enjoyed those things, but I don't. Letting go of that aspiration to hobbies that seem cooler or more productive has given me peace of mind as I realize I do not have to love doing what seems to come easily to everyone else.
Though I no longer get months of vacation during the summer, making a short "must-do" list and setting aside time for a few special things makes me feel like I haven't completely wasted the season.
Here is the list of the Top 10 Things That Make Patricia's Summer:
1. Make s'mores with my friends around a campfire. (Completed on Memorial Day weekend, though I wouldn't mind doing it again.)
2. Go see a summer blockbuster film, complete with a tub of buttered popcorn, at the movie theater. (I'm still debating between seeing "Toy Story 4" or "Men In Black: International.")
3. Spend at least two hours at the pool.
4. Sit on the porch of my parents' home with my mom and watch the fireflies in the yard.
5. Finish reading one novel. (I am nearly done with "Across the Great Divide" by Michael Ross.)
6. Eat a snow cone. (I've had several, thanks to the many fine local snow-cone stands. My current favorite flavor mix is lemon, lime and orange with Nerds candy added in.)
7. Watch a thunderstorm. (Again, I've had several opportunities to do this, sometimes with my camera in hand.)
8. Take a day trip to a nearby attraction. (I have this planned for the first week of September, when some friends and I will go to Chase County.)
9. See a play or musical. (I saw "Bus Stop" at Kechi Playhouse last month and will probably see at least one other show there and at Music Theatre Wichita.)
10. Take a mid-afternoon nap. (Check.)
Whatever your plans are for this summer, I hope they include time to relax, talk with family and friends, escape (or enjoy) the heat and, most of all, take care of yourself.