Early Summer 2007
A good friend and I used to sit down every May and write ambitious lists of everything we wanted to do over the summer: ''This summer, I will take tennis lessons, learn how to kayak, speak Italian, and camp in Yosemite... .'' But ''this summer'' never seemed to come, and before our flip flops were barely broken in, we were writing our Thanksgiving dinner grocery lists and wondering how we once again missed out on that stellar summer we had so carefully masterminded in our day planners.
When I told another friend about these annual ''Summer Resolutions,'' she heartily protested: ''Summer is about liberation -- not resolutions!'' Hmm -- she had quite a point there. Liberation -- that feeling of being 8 years old and taking the last step off the bus for the school year, when summer felt like it lasted a decade and all kinds of adventures awaited just outside the front door! How simple is that, and infinitely appealing.
So where did this create-the-perfect-summer-or-die pressure come from? Was it from that dreaded school assignment every fall when we were asked to share what we did over the summer? In my school, nobody ever stood up in front of their peers to say, ''I played a lot and had a good time.'' No, in my neck of the Puget Sound, it was more like, ''We sailed up to Ketchikan, caught lots of salmon, and swam with a pod of whales'' or ''We spent the summer at my grandma's beach house in Norway and went horseback riding on a fjord.'' How could I not turn into a summer over-achiever?! Yet when I close my eyes and conjure up the most glorious summer memories of my life, I find myself savoring the mundane moments: the smell of freshly mown grass, the taste of a delectably icy cold watermelon, and that creaking sound of the bow line straining against the dock as you doze off to sleep (okay, so maybe that one isn't so mundane, but you boaters know what I mean). In the grand scheme of things, it's really a list of sensations that feed me each summer. And they're certainly nothing I have to orchestrate or stress over. With that realization, over the years I've learned to lighten up, loosen up, smell the mango mojitos, and chill out. I'm a lot happier for it (and I ended up learning how to play tennis anyway!).
Summer is about liberation. Do whatever gives you a sense of refreshment, puts a song in your heart, and helps you to relax!