Unbelievably, we’ve already arrived at the last week before Labor Day, the unofficial end of summer. Here in New Hampshire, parents are sending their kids off to school this week! Mercifully, in Maine, where I live, nobody goes back to school until after Labor Day, but even then, everyone groans about letting go of the long, langorous days of summer. (Except parents who are sick of their kids).
I’ve had a terrific summer with boating, hiking (light), swimming in the ocean and lakes, barbecues, reading, friends, family, and some wonderful long weekends away at lovely new places. I’ve also taken somewhat of a break from the internet to be outside more, doing active things. So, I can’t complain about it all coming to an end soon, as we in New England enter the Arctic Freeze Winter for the next seven or so months.
If you’re feeling blue about the transition, I’d encourage you to think of it this way: Would summer be as special to you if it were all year round? If you think “Yes!” then you should move to Florida or the Carribbean! If you thought “No way!” then savor what you’ve experienced this past summer. If you didn’t experience much, then begin making a list of the things you will commit to doing next summer, so you don’t continue the “regret cycle.” (You might also need some new friends who get you out more).
Another thing you can do is to anticipate all the delightful things about the Fall and Winter. Look forward to more “tuck in” time with more opportunities for indoor activities and more reflection. Won’t it be nice to not feel pressure to be outside so much doing fabulous things? If you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (depression related to lower levels of light), do the therapeutic “light therapy.” Anticipate the beauty of the changed color palette outdoors with all the invigorating things you can do outside if you’re dressed properly. Look forward to Fall and Winter rituals and holidays. And of course, you can also look forward to next summer. It will be here before you know it….
If you are a reader of mine, you may have noticed that I’ve been lax in the blogging department for most of the summer.
I’ve given myself permission to get out of my chair, off the internet, and to have a different kind of fun! I love talking to you all, I love writing and sharing things, but I get sick of the internet in the summer! I happen to live on the southern coast of Maine, which is filled with fantastic places to go, and interesting things to do, so I feel compelled to change up my routine, get outside more, be more social and PLAY!
Changing your routine from time to time can be an invigorating experience. The sense of novelty ramps up good chemicals in your brain, especially if you’re doing some new or different things with a friend or partner.
The change can expose you to new activities or people you may really enjoy.
You’re likely to learn stuff as you expand and switch up your repertoire.
Then, the ironic result may be that when you resume your usual routine, you approach it with fresh eyes and ears, and are likely to be more appreciative of your life as it was!
Every summer I encounter a similar thing: friends, family, colleagues and clients running around, off their usual structured schedules, forgetting appointments, late for dates, and all out of whack. I call it Summer Brain because maybe the heat and humidity, (and now the torrential rain), seeps into everyone’s head and acts like a blender, mixing everything up. People who are usually so precise and committed to dates, times, goals and schedules now all seem to have A.D.D. !
As a therapist, I’ve learned not to take it too personally, knowing it’s seasonal, and in the Northeast it’s probably related to the frenetic pace around capitalizing on the measly duration of warm weather. I make use of the found time when clients forget their appointments by filing, returning calls, organizing my desk, and wondering why I haven’t caught the Summer Brain bug? Unfortunately, when I charge clients for these missed appointments they often get annoyed, probably wondering what’s wrong with my brain.
But hey, it’s summer! We could all instead be shoveling two feet of snow off our roofs, then shivering in our freezing cars, negotiating black ice, and praying for summer!
Life is a trip…..
If you’re a regular reader here, maybe you’ve noticed my absence for the last several weeks. It’s been the dog days of summer here in New England, raining nonstop, then boiling hot, then more rain. In spite of the weird weather, we in the Northeast treasure our summers ferociously, trying to capitalize on the three months of the year when snow and blizzards are unlikely. So, I too have been haunting the beaches, the lakes and the mountains, rain or shine. But, most notably, I’ve been almost completely unplugged from my devices (except for my professional voicemail), and LOVING IT!!!
For weeks now, no blogging, no radio shows, no YouTube videos, hardly a tweet, no clever Facebook entries, no LinkedIn updates, no book drafts, no cellphone calls, nothing!
Instead of daily “tech dialysis” I’ve gone tooling around without the world being able to contact me, and the only one who even seems to notice is my husband who thinks it’s inconsiderate. (We’re working on a compromise).
I’ve gone to lunches and dinners with people I enjoy having conversations with, instead of whining to tech support.
I’ve gotten off my laptop and rekindled connections with colleagues and old friends. (They’re still alive!)
I’ve actually been reading books and magazines just for fun! Freedom from emails and Google!
I’ve been preparing for my boating license test, learning all about “starboard stand-on” versus “port give-way,” halyards, double clove knots, and such vital things I’ll need to know on the waterways when I’m supposedly “manning the vessel.”
I’ve gone on hikes, bike rides, and car rides in the countryside instead of doing professional gigs.
I’ve nurtured my garden, watered the lawn, planted new beds, and fought Japanese beetles instead of battling scam sites and internet viruses.
I’ve visited other cities, just for fun trips to see the sites. (Cheated a bit with some book promo).
I’ve watched movies, plays and silly TV shows without any “productive justification.”
And miraculously, without all the internet busyness, I’ve gone to sleep most nights at a normal hour, not on my usual vampire schedule!
I’m telling you, getting unplugged can be a total joy! How novel – life without devices! Try it!
Big Summer Cheers,
Tune in at 8:30 PM EDT for this half hour episode about the key attitudes for having a fun summer with or without a partner. I’ll also be sharing my big list of ideas for joyful, connective, or just creative things to do to capitalize on the season, with or without good weather.
Call in toll-free at 877-497-9046 to just listen in, or to join me on the air with ideas of your own. Hope you can be with me for this light but hopefully informative show!