Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Squeezing the Most Out of Summer
Summer is a quiet, calm song wafting on a gentle breeze, promising love and happiness.

Summer is a sparkling jewel on the horizon that helps me pull myself from the quicksand and keep going when it might be easier to give up.

Summer is the softly lit respite I long for when I suffer under fluorescent lighting.

I love summer.

I teach for a living. So, for me, maybe more than for other adults, summer is important. Summer is this shining light at the end of a, sometimes, very dark tunnel. It's the carrot I drag myself behind when the school year gets tough and I'm tired and burning out. I promise myself the sacrifice will all be worth it and I'll be rewarded with summer.

Summer vacation is short this year. I lost a week to snow days, so today is actually my first day off. I've been home for a few days already though, having used leave days to take off optional teacher workdays. It's not that I lacked things to do at school. It's that I lacked energy and enthusiasm for the tasks.

This week isn't really off either. I took an extra contract for some work on a new district initiative, so I'll work two days this week, too. I'll work four or five others days over summer, here and there. But, mostly, I've got long hours of time to use as I see fit.

So, what to do, what to do?

First and foremost: write. I've got two books to finish, for goodness sake, and another one or two waiting for me to start them.

Secondly: do lots of fun summer things with the kids that don't cost very much. Squirt each other with the hose. Blow bubbles. Take long walks in the shady woods. Eat ice cream. Read.

Thirdly: make myself relax. This is harder than you might think. I'm used to working very hard. On an average school day, I prepare twelve meals (four people, three times a day), teach six classes, facilitate a meeting, prepare six more lessons, run at least one life errand, do a load of laundry and a set of dishes, care for the dog, and write my daily minimum 650 words. I try to exercise, too. Though I fail at that most of the time.

It's both lovely and difficult to go from so much to do to a smaller list. I have to stop myself from taking on every organizational and repair project that has come up since last summer. I have to tell myself that it's okay to spend some hours on the couch reading or watching television.

Time resting is not time wasted. That's my summer mantra. So, on that note, I think I'll take a book outside. It's nice this morning.

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