My favorite season is summer. I love the long days, the warm weather and as a Chicagoan, I especially love the tons of activities, festivals, concerts and street fairs. I don’t know if it was designed this way intentionally, but because we have such a cold rest of the year, for the three real months of summer that we get, the city really shows out and enjoys itself.
I haven’t encountered another city that makes the most of the summer as Chicago has. Kanye literally used “Summertime Chi” in a song to reference what the “Good Life” feels like. With so much I can do, I make sure not to get tempted into doing too much or “the most,” if you will. I actually want to enjoy the summer season. Furthermore, regardless of the season, I don’t like the feeling of being stressed, or on a time crunch all the time.
A Case for Being In the Moment
To combat this, once a year, or once a season, I take a month off of most, if not, all commitments. The prescheduled events that you agree to, months in advance and when the day comes you’re confirming via text, hoping the person has fallen out of love with the idea themselves. I try to stick to more, shorter notice activities and spend the month, just doing what I want based on how I feel, without being tied down to any one thing.
It feels glorious.
Our society is overbooked. Even our smallest kids have extracurricular activities. I know toddlers in gymnastics and grade school kids in basketball, cheerleading and chess club. When I ask my parent friends to hang out, the response is usually centered on any number of children’s activities like a birthday party, swim classes, or Girl Scouts. Which is great, but these same adults are dropping the kids off to try having their own form of fun. Fully booked days abound. It’s exhausting.
Can you really give your full attention and be in the moment, if you’re booking your events back-to-back? I have known women who are, in my opinion, addicted to being busy. They are always out and about, spend a lot of time in their cars, and always have something to do. These women are tired, a lot, and they never seem to complete anything. They of course do, but whatever they complete, soon gets replaced by another task.
It’s Okay to Say No
I know there is a lot happening in every city, beginning in the spring, and you want to do it all — whether you just want to or feel a sense of obligation. Avoid that urge and say “no” to some things. The weddings, graduation parties, and prom send-offs — it’s a lot. If you have to say “yes,” come up with a plan for when to leave, keeping yourself open in case you want to stay. Keep a calendar of events; the visual of all of your plans will help you see how busy you actually are, and may encourage you to de-clutter your schedule.
You can’t do everything that pops up; what you can do is leave yourself open for surprises and discovering something new. If the thought of doing an activity that should be fun, makes you tired before you even show up, you may want to cancel politely. Why be overbooked?
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Summer Slowdown: The Fun of Being In the Moment