Thoughts on Life and the Perpetual Busyness of Midsummer

At some point, I believe at the beginning of the year, I’d promised I was going to return to old school blogging, with more off-the-cuff thoughts interspersed between the travel guides, style tips, and home stories. Part of the motivation was that those are what I enjoy reading, the other part being these are far easier to write. I’m a writer, not a photographer or a graphic designer, so anytime I’m just writing, it flows quickly. I can churn these out in minutes. And, now, I’m sticking to my promise.

Back in college, I remember hot afternoons spent doing a lot of nothing. On the off days between internships and jobs, we’d debate whether to drive over to Scottsville to go tubing, plan a drive down to Charleston because seven hours seems like nothing when your list responsibilities is short, or wander over to the Corner for a midweek brunch. Summer was a long stretch when time stood still, and the days blended together, each one culminating in covering our sunburns in sundresses and wandering over to Coupes, wondering where the evening might take us. We lived on $1 burger nights and the occasional Take-it-away sandwich.

The idea of summer hanging heavy in the air came to an end with the realities of real jobs in our 20s, and, now, well into our 30s, the idea of summer has all but disappeared. There’s the pressure of packing all of the iconic vestiges of summer into a few short weekends and perhaps, if we’re lucky, one weeklong vacation. Because, in between those cookouts, days on the water, and afternoons spent slathering on SPF in a swimsuit, there’s work, life, and more work. You can’t put off a deadline because it’s 85 degrees, sunny, and the pool is calling. Instead, we sit inside in the air conditioning, waiting for the weekend and hoping that the weather will cooperate as soon as Friday afternoon makes it debut.

This summer, in particular, has felt burdensome with busy — the kind of busy that steals me away from enjoying the seasons. A few years ago, I made savor my word of the year because I wanted to savor each day, every month. It was part of the motivation of doing my monthly to-do lists, where I write down the seasonal bucket list items I want to accomplish each month. Some months are better than others. But my daily to-do list always has to outweigh the monthly to-do list, and, the requirements of existing, from cleaning to errands to work, seem to be at odds with living.

If you ever read the book Four Thousand Weeks, that resonated with the way I often approach time and the passing of the seasons. It’s a melancholy approach, absolutely, but I’ll get wrapped up in the idea that I only have, let’s say, sixty summers left, and I somehow need to squeeze the most of every moment. It’s probably why I never watch TV and have an easy time saying yes to most plans. I want to get the most out of time, yet, on the average day, work and life get in the way.

But now that we’re officially at midsummer — if you count from the first day to the last — I’m trying to embrace that melancholic thought of how many summers we have left. If that’s what will motivate me to close the computer or let the laundry wait until tomorrow, then so be it. Because busyness is perpetual, but the slowness of summer is not.


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