The other day I dropped everything and took a swim. I was multi-tasking, working at the lake with my kids. It was blistering hot. I was sweating onto my papers. So I dropped my work in the beach bag and hit the water. It was a perfect day. I cruised around with my eyes half closed, enjoying the warmth of the sun, the cool of the water, and the shouts and splashes of kids as they jumped off the dock. A classic summer afternoon.
I’ve never been one to enforce a rigorous summer schedule. My kids have it pretty easy. I no longer even fake the intention to have them complete the summer math workbooks their school suggests. Since I have three kids, I’m probably responsible for a huge percentage of the drop in academic achievement the district sees in the fall. But I’m loathe to push schoolwork in the summer. Maybe it’s because I long for the carefree feeling of my own childhood summers, where the months stretched ahead full of endless opportunities and outdoor activities, not math facts and science camp. Or maybe it’s because I prefer they do something physical – golf, hiking, baseball, lacrosse, dance, swimming. Plenty of time to sit behind a desk the rest of the year.
Or maybe it’s because when you live in Minnesota you never quite lose the melancholy sense that we have so few of these perfect summer days, really.
When I worked in a “real” office I barely noticed summer. I spent my days in air conditioned isolation, so I’m grateful for the flexibility I have now to move my “office” to the beach or the porch. But there are days I have to fight the urge to set my work aside. I know I’m not the only one. Anyone who’s lived through a Minnesota summer knows there are days it seems no one is working.
Now fall is approaching and for me, it’s time to get serious. Get a schedule. Get to some networking events. Get dressed every once in a while in something other than a swimsuit or yoga pants. Put some structure behind all this work I somehow manage to finish despite our lax summer routine.
But I’m going to try to keep that summer urge to every once in a while, even in the midst of a stressful project, anxious day, or an endless to-do list, take a few moments to enjoy my surroundings. And soak up a little sun if there is some.
Do you take leisurely approach to summer or are you all business? Post your comments or send them to firstname.lastname@example.org – and have a great Labor Day if you celebrate it.