A Phoenix Burning


So, today is the first day of summer vacation!  School is over, the sun is shining, plans are made, goals are set…or not.

Having been a teacher, my natural biorhythms are strictly connected to the school calendar.  Through school, through college, then through my career, September, not January was the beginning of the year, and June, not December was the end.  July and August have always been Twilight Zone months for me.  Suspended animation so to speak…a time to live differently, unscheduled and unpressured.  Even though I’m no longer teaching, I still feel the shift.  Along with the time shift, comes my natural tendency to want to set summer goals.  Although I quit that habit two years ago, I still feel the urge.  I used to make a list at the beginning of every summer…all the things I wanted to do.  The list would drone on and on, and It would look something like this:

*  picnics at the park

*  beach days

*  wash all the windows

*  clean out all the closets

*  read five novels

*  paint kitchen

*  finish scrapbooking

*  make a quilt

*  etc.

And then, the end of the summer would roll around, and I would have crossed off just a couple of things, berating myself for being so unproductive…feeling as though I had “wasted” two months of my life not accomplishing anything.  “Where did the summer go?”  I’d lament.  It was an all or nothing mentality, and it was very unhealthy.

So two years ago, I sat down to make my list—got halfway through, then crumpled it up.  I opted for an alternative.  I spent the summer jotting down each thing I DID accomplish on the list, as I did it.  We’d go swimming at the lake, I’d jot it down.  I’d wash the windows in one room, I’d jot it down.  I’d do five scrapbook pages, I’d jot it down.  By the end of the summer my list was extremely long and full.  I hadn’t actually accomplished more that summer than I had any other summer…It was simply a shift in consciousness…a recognition of the positives, rather than the focus on the negatives. 

So, if you are a summer list maker, I encourage you to make your list…only create it as the summer wears on, rather than before the summer starts.  You will surprise yourself with your list of accomplishments.



3 responses

  1. karmardav

    Wow, long school year for you this year! We’ve been out for a week. Did you have a lot of snow days? Or does your system wait til after Labor Day to go back? We go back at the end of August.

    Funny how people are about lists. I think if I made a “summer to-do” list I’d just end up feeling disappointed. I have my reminder list, written on a dry-erase board for those errands and things I can’t forget to do, but that’s about it.

    June 25, 2008 at 9:28 am

  2. We go back the Wednesday or Thursday after Labor Day, so we end later.
    That’s exactly what would happen with my to-do list…always disappointed with my lack of cross offs. That’s why I do the accomplishment list instead. Much better for the soul! lol

    June 25, 2008 at 9:43 am

  3. Zandic

    I make lists and I make them more detailed so i get more satisfaction from crossing off the smaller tasks i have accomplished..
    – wake up
    – get out of bed
    – get dressed
    – leave house without keys
    – call sleeping wife
    – call sleeping wife again
    – call sleeping beauty again
    – call rumplestilskins again
    – give up on wife and break into house
    – get keys
    – leave for work

    I could cross out this ENTIRE LIST from today and that all happened BEFORE 5AM… WHOO WHOO..

    June 25, 2008 at 10:55 am

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