Summer is a time many of us look forward to and long for. Long days. Chilling in a hammock or on the beach. Barbeques, cold beers, time just hanging with friends…or playing with our kids. We remember the endless summers of our youth – catching fireflies, licking dripping ice cream cones and bomb pops, spending afternoons in the lake or the pond or the pool – and envision what a wonderful season we’ll have.
Then reality hits. There’s too much to do, too many emails to answer, and too many responsibilities.
And then it’s fall.
Maybe this isn’t true for everyone, but it’s true for most of the people I know and especially true for those of us who are wired hard to accomplish, prove, and achieve – or those of us who are wired hard to take care of others, sacrifice, and be the one that makes sure everyone else is okay.
I have both of these wirings…and more. I was raised in a cult by one parent (my mom was a Moonie, or member of the Unification Church) and in an environment of sex and drugs by the other (my dad was a drug-dealing, New York City bartender). My brain wired in a bunch of self-protective ways – “Always do more. Always try harder. Take care of everyone and everything. Save the world.” These were the (wacky) rules I created to live and survive by.
They’re also the wacky rules I’ve worked hard to break away from, and through that process, I’ve learned quite a few useful things.
I’ve learned over the years that life is too short to miss. As someone once said to me, “Life isn’t a dress-rehearsal.” This very well may be the only life I get, and I’ve certainly wasted some of it when I don’t allow myself time – and space – to chill. Research has shown that we are more productive and effective when we give ourselves breaks and fun – and what better way, or time, to do that than to dive into the joys of summer.
You too may be wired with the same “rules” as me or with some other habitual ways of being that get in the way of you really relaxing and enjoying yourself. But if you want to let go and chill, here are a few ways to start.
Life is short. Summer is shorter. It’s there for us to enjoy and savor, or it’s there for us to miss. Give yourself permission to really let go and chill this summer, or if you need permission from someone else, I give it to you now. You will be happier – and better off – when you do this.