Summer is quickly approaching. At every life transition, we have an opportunity that we admittedly often miss. We are notorious for not taking the time to be intentional about how we would like the next season to look, whether it is an actual season like summer or a life season like raising teenagers or empty nesting. Most of us know the saying attributed to Benjamin Franklin, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail,” but how often do we still have the best intentions to live fully in a season and then get to the end and realize we missed the mark?
This is not meant to be a guilt or regret-inducing post. Do not dwell on the past – we cannot change it. Drop the “I wish I would haves” and look forward to the next season and what can be done better. This post is also not meant to encourage you to plan every second of your summer or life with activity. As summer approaches, sit down and consider how you would like things to look. And if you really want to do these things, write them down and hang them on the refrigerator.
Where would you like to go?
· A bucket list international vacation
· Getaway with your girlfriends
· A road trip out West to visit national parks
· A nearby state park you always say you want to get to
· More family trips to the cabin
· More alone trips to the cabin
· Tent camping with the kids (some of you just said, “I would rather have my teeth pulled.” Do not stop reading this post and decide it is not for you – just move along to the next section!)
Who would you like to see?
· Grandparents, parents
· Aunts, uncles, cousins
· High school or college friends
· Someone you know who is sick or dying. It does not feel good to go to a funeral and have someone say, “David would have loved to see you.” Knife in the heart. Go if you can.
What would you like to do?
· Go to a concert
· Declutter the house
· Have a garage sale (some of you had a similar reaction to the camping one – just move along)
· Participate in church services
· Learn a new skill
· Have a cookout for the neighbors
· Attend a community festival
· Bike a new trail
· Help an elderly neighbor
· Be a tourist in your own community
If you have children, what can they do? (Some of these are great ideas for us to do as well).
· Do daily jobs (really, they can)
· Limit technology use (they will survive)
· Spend time outside every day being active
· Practice instruments, read, practice sports skills
· Limit technology use (oops, did we say that twice? It is that important!)
· Volunteer at a local homeless shelter, food shelf, or humane society
The options are endless. Endless. As you plan and consider, avoid the temptation to overschedule. Keep some (or a lot of) days, evenings, and weekends open to be spontaneous or enjoy dinner out at a patio restaurant or have a movie night with loved ones. When you get to the end of the summer, you are not allowed to feel any guilt or shame at what you did not accomplish. Instead, it is our hope that you finish summer feeling great joy over what you did and ready to take on the next season.
We also hope you get to the end of summer feeling refreshed and renewed, and as our mission states, that you can “laugh without fear of the future.” Be so blessed.
Heather Schmidt and Jodie Schmidt.