It’s true what they say.
When we’re kids, all we want to do is grow up, and once we’ve grown we deeply pine for the days of worry-free play and simple childhood pleasures.
Each generation passes on its encouraging, important message to never wish our life away, while each young person seems to rush to the next phase, eager to check off items on the imagined list of what constitutes a fully lived life.
Brené Brown speaks beautifully about this—specifically calling out our daily challenge to lead “extraordinary” lives for all to see, while potentially missing out on the deeply meaningful “ordinary” that is our day to day. (I’m taking more than a bit of paraphrasing liberty, here. For more on her spectacular work, visit her site!)
Summer is filled with with this kind of easy, meaningful ordinary.
You see, I am a true June, east coast baby. Addicted to the shift in temperature and energy; the rush of the school year slowing down for a few weeks before the real heat of summer swoops in. Summer brings with it a nostalgia unrivaled by any other season for me—no holiday stresses or back to school jitters—just hours of warmth and light and joy.
I’ve often wondered: how do we recreate those sacred, care-free energies in adulthood? And how do we carry the heart of those extraordinarily ordinary values with us as our lives continue to change, responsibilities grow, and we hurriedly strive for each milestone to be checked off the list?
I think, maybe, it looks a lot like remembering what made us come alive as kids. Relishing that time in the evening when BBQ dinner plates have been cleared from the porch table. When tummies are full of watermelon, corn on the cob, grilled fish/chicken/beef/veggies…grilled anything, really.
It looks like sharing popsicle desserts on the front stoop with neighborhood friends; fingers and lips sticky with the melting flavors of sugar infused fruit. If there are blessed children in our lives, it may look like bubble blowing and chalk art on the driveway or sidewalk. One last lap around the block on a bike before the sun finishes setting. A few quiet minutes on the hammock with a book or a sister, swinging in gentle rhythm. Hide and Seek in the dark—racing barefoot to find the best hiding places, flashlights catching glimpses of new and mysterious corners. Watching the backyard twinkle with the greenish glow of lightning bugs, and the subsequent catching of these little creatures to fill up a jar.
It’s found in being still while taking in the occasional thunderstorm from the safety of the front step; the sky momentarily lighting up the neighborhood, the smell of rain mixed with cooling blacktop and freshly cut grass. It’s found in our ability to turn the pleading for “Just 10 more minutes, Mom!” into granted self permission of just that: 10 more glorious minutes outside.
It’s found in taking a shower after a long day at the beach, changing into only an over sized t-shirt while letting our hair hang wet on tanned shoulders, leaving damp marks just below the collarbone. We remember by inhaling the lingering smell of sunscreen and sleeping with the windows open and a fan running; a humming white noise to accompany the symphony of crickets and cicadas outside.
Using just the sheets—cool, comfortable, soothing on skin slightly pinked and tightened from time in the sun, still holding the faint scent of chlorine from a swim in the pool.
Bare feet from first light to last. Earthing our toes in the dirt, sand, water, grass. Making plans and then committing to no plans, for a while. Flowing. Feeling freer in most moments when we submit to being fully in them. Time stretching on with longer daylight hours, tempting us to grasp those 10 more minutes.
Summer waits for us each year.
She waits for our remembering. To never wish life away for the sake of meeting goals or mental deadlines; to play and run and be in childlike uninhibited ways.
Summer waits for us to remember delicious, ordinary freedoms. And I, for one, cannot resist her call.
Author: Tricia DiGaetano
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Author’s Own