Student Life

Summertime ... and the Learning is Easy

June 05, 2007

Summertime ... and the Learning is Easy
The cherry blossoms are starting to fade and fall to the ground, reminding me that spring semester is nearly over. Summer break looms like a child’s birthday balloon buoyantly hovering above a crowded room. From this vantage point, the next 12 weeks seem like plenty of time to tackle those neglected home decorating projects, catch up on nearly 20 years of scrap booking, and finally finish that bed quilt I started over a year ago. Surely, with all this reclaimed time on my hands, this will be the year I’ll be able to get the yard in shape, organize the crawl space, and paint the master bedroom. And while the kids are out of school, maybe we can spend more time together hiking, swimming, and going to the zoo. Oh, and of course I’ll have more time to read to my heart’s content, build a blog, and pursue freelance writing opportunities. Ideas, like puffs of air, fill my mind, stretching and enlarging the walls of my imagination to capacity.
Yet as much as I want to believe that I can truly cram all of this and more into three short summer months, I have the same uneasy feeling I have after every New Year’s when I quickly lose mental steam because I’ve set far too many unrealistic goals for myself. I know too well from past experience that the summer days will probably dribble away like a melting Popsicle in the glaring sun leaving only a sticky mess behind. And without a predictable routine in place, I know how easy it will be to let the kids lounge around until noon in their pajamas while I complacently let mundane household tasks usurp my best intentions. Before I know it, four o’clock in the afternoon will suddenly arrive and I will realize too late that nothing of value has been accomplished, another day squandered. For me, the curse of summer is my alternating resistance to and craving for structure and order. Every year, I tend to severely underestimate the distractible quality of summer, fighting against its rhythm of simplicity and minimalism instead of embracing it. Maybe I need to reevaluate my “grandiose summer plans on steroids” and take the advice of writer Christina Katz, who said, “Happy is the mom who has accepted her life circumstances and is working to be just a tiny bit more productive every day.” Clearly, I need to relax a bit, and take the lounge chair approach to learning for awhile. As long as I have my handy laptop and access to the public library, I have plenty of projects to keep myself busy. Focusing on the small actions, like taking small sips of refreshing lemonade, will probably bring more pleasure than straining to swat at the cloud of aggravating aspirations just beyond my reach.

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