I was at the water park a couple of weeks ago, watching my son organize the troops for a water-gun fight. My two year old squealed in joy as she ran in and out of the spray, and I had a rare, and brief moment of solitude on a nearby bench. I took a long deep breath. The kind that keeps your attention inside, and reveals whatever is in there. Then it suddenly dawned on me, I am stressed.
WTF? It’s summer!
Why am I stressed in the summer? The sun is shining, the water is cool. There’s no school to hurry for, no activities to get to. What could possibly get in the way of my kick-ass summer???
Well, no wonder I’m feeling stressed.
As I felt my body clench around all of that, I got mad.
I don’t want to let this summer pass by while I worry about all the things that I have to do, and check my phone every two minutes for who knows what (seriously – WHY do I do that?)
All year long, I grind my teeth through the wetness of the West Coast. My body, still not used to this climate after 22 years of living here, shivers and clenches while dreaming of sunshine, or at least a hot bath.
But no longer, because it’s finally SUMMER!
It’s time to relax and go with the flow of the day, right?
Sure, I need to pack snacks, diapers, and a change of clothes for the kids (depending on which activity ‘flows’ into our day). And sure, there’s nap time that really should be at home (lest we have a grumpy baby on our hands), and snack time every hour and a half, and “Why are we always doing what she wants to do?” and “whaaa I want screen time” and…oh well I digress.
Aren’t the popsicles yummy though?
Anyway, I made a decision that day. Well, more like a promise, or a series of promises.
A KICK-ASS SUMMER MANIFESTO!
And here it is:
#1. I will keep physical distance from my phone as much as possible! I will not be a slave to the ring, the ding, or the tone of that damn machine. Nor will I be compelled to check-in with my virtual community every 10 minutes just because it’s there. I refuse to interrupt the flow of MY life to browse through other’s people’s lives because my experience is HERE and NOW, and outside in the beautiful sunshine. And to be perfectly honest, that phone just stresses me out, and there’s just no-room for that in MY kick-ass summer!
#2. If I am here, my mind will be here too. I will not obsess about the next blog post as I play with my kids in the pool. I will not organize tomorrow’s schedule as I have sex with my husband. I will not worry about work when I’m on vacation, and dream about the beach when I’m at work. I will not think of my friends when I’m with my kids, or miss my kids when I’m with my friends. My mind will not stray, wonder, or run away. And when it does, I will gently bring it back because in about two and half seconds, this kick-ass summer will be over and all that other stuff…well, that will still be here.
#3. I will have some FUN, dammit. Hey kids, here’s some news for you: This is my summer too! Yes, I know that this is YOUR childhood. I’ve had mine, and with it – many adventurous and free-flowing summers. I promise I will do my best to give you your very own adventures. But I’m not actually as old as you think I am, and even if I was, old people still need FUN. So here goes, I will do things this summer that make ME happy, and not just the “I’m happy when you’re happy” kind. I mean the kind that gives me butterflies, and makes me laugh till I pee my pants. The kind that reminds me of who I really am – that goofy kid that loves jumping into the waves and get thrown around and around, and not know (for just a split second) if this time – the ocean will win. And then do it again, and again. Damn, I miss that kid…
[that’s me (in the front) and my older brother (in the scuba mask) in the Red Sea, Israel. Not sure who’s the kid in the back]
#4. I will move my body every single day. Now you might say, “Don’t you have a two-year old to run after all day long?” and my answer to that is “Yes! But that’s not really moving my body”. That’s more of a “Wait! – Don’t Do That! – Careful! – Fuck! – Come Back! – Again? – Shit!”. Yea, call me crazy, but that’s not the kind of movement that makes my body sing. So this summer I promise to either bike, walk, hike, or dance every-single-day. Ok, maybe almost every single day (even God rested for a day, right?)
#5. I will go with the flow. That is my all time favourite part of summer- going with the flow. Now, when you are a grownup and certainly when you are a parent, going with the flow is quite different than it was when you were a kid. As a kid going with the flow meant walking out the door in the morning and seeing where the day takes you. As a parent it means being ORGANIZED! I’m talking snacks for every occasion, toys for when you’re tired of running after the little ones, certainly a change bag for the pre-toilet trained folks in the group, sunscreen, hats, change of clothes, phone (keep it in your bag), money, and anything else that would keep you flexible and mobile enough to enjoy the flow of the day.
#6. I will take it easy on myself. When I make mistakes or sway from these rules, I will gently and lovingly nudge myself back on course.