Summer is the great playtime of the year. It’s like recess — a break from the responsibilities. Except when it’s not.
I find myself holding this idea that summer should be FANTASTIC and FUN and SUN. But there’s still laundry and cooking and vacuuming. The bills keep coming and the everyday-ness of life still happens.
How can we enjoy summer for the respite that it is, while still living in the real world?
I’m watching calendar days fly by, and I’m filled with equal parts excitement and dread. Our family routines will all change in just a few short weeks when spring becomes summer.
And let’s not kid ourselves into thinking this starts on June 21. No, summer starts around here the moment the kids are done with school. And it’s not even the last day of school. It’s when school responsibilities give way to school fun days and homework dwindles as after dinner playtime extends. We’re close around here, and I’ve found one way that helps me get through it — and enjoy it.
I was inspired a few years ago when I watched a webinar by Lysa Terkeurst. It was around the time she launched her book "The Best Yes," which I highly recommend. Everything she said made sense and I found myself nodding along, but one thing stuck with me well beyond the webinar.
She introduced the idea of choosing a word. When faced with the season ahead, she chose one word that would become her litmus test for all other things that season. I don’t remember what her word was, but I remember that it felt easy. It wasn’t one more thing on my endless lists. No, this idea brought freedom.
I thought about it and realized that I couldn’t come up with one word, so I came up with three: family, books and relax. These were the very things my family needed most that summer.
Every time we had an opportunity to do something, an invitation, a request, a plea, I ran my litmus test: Does it support family, books and relaxing? If the answer was yes, we ran to it. If the answer was no, it gave me permission to say it wasn’t right for us right now. I let go, and it felt great.
Your words will be different. My words this year will be different (although I’m thinking that family one is sticking around!). I’m still picking my words. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking:
These are just a few ideas! Your summer can have whatever look you want it to. Choosing a word (or a few) that are the goals you have for this season will enable you to make choices that give you the very summer you want.
Yes, there are things we still need to do. The laundry needs to get done (although maybe less if you spend long days in bathing suits). We still need to feed our people (but maybe relaxed means simple meals outside or more takeout). Work needs to happen, and the lawn still needs to be mowed. But when we make our choices through the lens we want to look through, it will be a lot more enjoyable.
We get to choose how our summer goes.
This test is not one more thing to do. It is the very thing that will free you to let go so you can create your best summer ever!
What words will you use to create your best summer ever?