As grown-ups, we try to balance work with play, "regular life" with summertime rhythm, being with doing... and it's way too easy to let summer slip right on by. So here is my summer manifesto! I hope to promote a summer full of watermelon-chin-drips and firefly-winks plus a few lazy games of Cornhole (some folks call it Bean Bag or Bean Toss) -- or at least a daily porch sit to watch the grass grow.
1. Summer is a reminder that life is sweet. Step outside and allow the astounding beauty of nature (yes, even in this heat wave) to remind you that you don't make the sun rise or the flowers bloom and thus perhaps, just perhaps, you are not responsible for the world. Smell the breeze (unless you live next to Solo Cup like I do), feel the sun beating down on your skin, notice the colors; life is here right now.
2. Play is not just for kids. As I watch the neighbor kids play, I realize that one must play to be restored to their own true self (plus you may even look years younger after some fun!) Spend an afternoon with someone who hasn't kept playing, who has decided to keep putting off pleasure, and if that doesn't motivate you to get out the Frisbee or grab the whiffle ball bat, nothing will. Never say you are too old or too busy.
3. Forget big chunks of time. Instead, grab the invitations to savor the moment when they present themselves. Even one minute of actually tasting that juicy peach will change your day. If cancer has taught me anything, it's that life is short. We've all lost people we love. Use that to stoke your courage to leave the computer and make a fort with your kids or pick flowers from your garden to make a bouquet or...whatever it is you say you have no time for. That's the perfect place to start. Listen for your complaints and your "If only I had time" remarks. When you hear one, drop the complaint and do the can't, the impossible. It won't be perfect, but then part of the joy of summer is being messy and imperfect.
4. Do something outrageous. Hopefully, you have a memory or two of an outrageous feat from a summer past. Mine would be Sturgis, Summer 2004, a week filled with bikers, parties and lots of nudity (no nudity from me but had I known I would eventually lose my left breast, I might have taken the opportunity to show it off!). What would be a little outrageous for you? Or more than a little outrageous? It's not about nostalgia or recapturing your childhood. What enjoying the summer is about is remembering that your life is a choice and you can let it become a burden and a to-do list you never catch up with or one crazy motorcycle ride over to see Devil's Tower, with bugs in your teeth, and the wind in your hair. Now that's true summer!