Wasn’t June just yesterday? The whole summer stretched ahead of us? Plenty of time to do everything we wanted because THIS was the year we would do it – have that magical, productive, adventurous, whatever summer we always dreamed of.
Only, it’s August. School starts back shortly (or it already started if you homeschool through the summer like us). And there is no time left to start on the the list, much less finish it.
I feel like that right now. We had great plans for the summer. Some of them we accomplished. Some, not so much. It can be frustrating, especially if you start comparing your summer with those of your friends or, even worse, with all those “magical summer moments” shared on social media (please do remember, you’re only seeing a piece of their lives, and only what they choose to share – but I digress!).
What happened? And how can we not end the summer in a puddle of defeated tears thinking that, once again, summer slipped away and we wasted it?
By taking three steps:
Investigate your summer.
Sit down with a paper and pencil and think these things through.
- What did you want to do this summer? If you had a literal bucket list, pull it out.
- What did you do from the list? What didn’t get done?
- Why didn’t those things get done? Some common reasons might be:
- You overplanned for the time you actually had – like me realizing that two months is actually not enough time to finish 30 American Heritage Girl badges.
- You overestimated your resources, whether financial or energy.
- You made other choices and did other activities instead (which may have been bad or good).
- Life happened, and circumstances changed – like not taking a vacation because you got sick.
- What worked? What did you do that wasn’t on your list?
Celebrate the good!
See that last point? Rejoice in it! What good things did happen this summer? What special memories were made? What do you want to remember to do again next year?
We had some special moments together as a family this year. My husband and daughter being in Town Theatre’s The Little Mermaid was one of them. That was a big one.
A much simpler one was discovering that at certain points during the summer, we were able to see the International Space Station pass over our house. We began checking on when it would come and, if it wasn’t a crazy-middle-of-the-night hour, we laid a blanket out on our front lawn and watched our sky for that bright, fast moving light. And in those moments interspersed through the summer, we found our own kind of magic.
What was good in your summer? Don’t tell me there was nothing. Find those moments, like a miner looking for gold nuggets. They’re there, somewhere.
Evaluate the future.
What lessons do you want to carry into the fall? If you didn’t make a dent on your list because of overplanning, that’s probably not a problem limited to the summer.
Look at your potential fall calendar. Are you overscheduling your family in a way that you will regret later this year? It’s not too late to let some things go. If you had some magical moments like we did marveling at the stars, can you do more of that as the days grow colder and shorter?
Did you discover a new love for a sport this summer that you can pursue this fall? Did you find a camp this summer that you want to make sure you sign your child up for next year? When your vacation turned into a staycation, did you find a new adventure here in Columbia that you can experience next year, too?
Repeat after me: This summer was not a failure! Dig in and investigate what actually happened. Celebrate the good. And evaluate how to let it impact your future. And realize – it’s not over! It’s only the beginning of August. There is still time to make some memories before schedules change and the crispness of fall beckons us to make new lists for a new season.