The Last days of Summer

Ah, these last, lingering, long days of summer—how are you spending them? Are the kids back in school? Maybe you’re stretched out on a piece of warm sand? Or perhaps you’ve moved on already, succumbing to those first, enticing Halloween candy displays at CVS? Regardless, the end of summer is nigh, with longer twilights and shorter day lit hours. What are you doing to squeeze out those remaining drops of summertime fun?

 

One of the few advantages the rest of the world has over a place like Santa Barbara where it’s always perfect and the weather allows for every type of hedonistic pleasure is that because warm weather is more limited where the rest of us poor schmos reside, we experience greater pleasure in its fleeting presence. Now, I say this somewhat bitterly because nobody relished the perfect clime of SB more than I; here in DC, I am unable to enjoy our relatively pleasant dog days because I fret that a cool and less humid August augurs an even more dreadful winter than we had the year before. Even now, I worry about securing sufficient quantities of Winter Melt De-icing Mix to forestall that icy slide. How’s that for seeing the glass half empty?

 

But, back to you and what you’re doing to live in the moment, regardless of whatever carpools, sales quotas, committee meetings, or tax liabilities you have hanging over your head. Re-booters appreciate that the evanescent quality of time can serve as a powerful motivator for us to get off our duffs and tackle that thing we’ve been meaning or wanting to do. Why is it so tempting to push things off? To procrastinate—even when it comes to activities or people who please us? Are we really that lazy? Let’s get a move on people, come on, chop chop! There’s only so many days left when you can sneak off while the sun shines…

 

When you reflect back on what you did this summer, how much of it involved restorative pleasure? For those amongst us who skew towards Puritanism, it can feel decadent to take time out for ourselves when we have children’s activities to orchestrate, businesses to manage, or current affairs to comprehend. Stepping away from the intensity of our frenetic lives can feel irresponsible or profligate—especially when we compare ourselves to that worker bee next door whose hive never stops buzzing. Yes, they appear to be accomplishing more than you, but SO WHAT? I can’t tell you the number of people I personally know who spend all their time being busy because they’re terrified of what might happen should they have a moment to think. Is that something to admire?

 

As someone who loves to accomplish concrete goals, who savors the tangible fruits of my labors, this prolonged period of enforced idleness I have had to endure has made it impossible for me to avoid reexamining my definition of what the word “productivity” means. My prolonged and agonizing period of unemployment has necessitated me to look elsewhere for fulfillment, to seek out new standards of measure, to acquire a patience and humility I would never have found if my life had gone as planned. I guess, when I think about it, this goes back to the essence of re-booting because things occur beneath the surface even when it appears that nothing’s going on at all. The way this applies to you is that when you take that afternoon to lie by the pool or spend a few hours hanging with your buddies or arrange for someone else to look after the kids while you stare at the wall practically comatose, you’re not doing nothing. You’re really not! There’s a lot more going on inside than you realize or can understand, and it needs time to manifest. Many of our greatest strengths and insights only show themselves when we are relaxed and alone; we cannot force them to appear. Does what I’m saying make any sense?

 

So, before you get caught up in autumn’s round of horse competitions or art shows, school fundraisers, business travel or last quarter stats, before you start to tackle that to-do list glaring at you from the refrigerator door, listen to that internal whisper which beckons pleasure, which summons solitude. Follow it. Let the magic unfold.

Summer shadows

 

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