For many summers, I would write a note to myself.
It all began when I found myself moping around at the end of summer, sad about all things I didn't do. Depressing, right? So instead, I decided to write a note to read at the beginning of the next summer season. By remembering all the things I wanted to do, my hope was to find fresh inspiration as a new one unfurled.
My summer notes were always a mixture of to-dos, wishlists, and big, fat, dreams. When I was younger, the notes were chock-a-block with a zillion activities. Stuff like "plan a beach reunion for relatives near and far, hike the Appalachian Trail (or a part of it), go camping with friends, learn to make berry jams (and pies), churn homemade ice cream, attend your hometown festival, learn to knit, visit all high school friends, go to outdoor concert series and picnic under the stars, and please learn to make pasta."
That makes me tired just reading it, although making homemade ice cream and picnicking under the stars might be a good idea. Thank goodness I've learned to cut myself a little slack. Now my summer lists are more like a loving talk from a good friend.
Here's what my notes sound like now: "Let's not waste any more days obsessing about your less-than-perfect body in a swimsuit! What a flipping waste of time. No one cares. And if they do, they are not your friend. You have been blessed with a body that can move and has health and is alive today to read this note. Now get over yourself and get into the water!" Actually, getting over yourself is really good advice for any season.
As the Summer of 2023 is staring me right in the eye, here's what I want to tell myself:
What are you going to do with this one amazing summer ahead?
Wear more sundresses and espadrilles, that's what! Preferably while eating ice cream.
Don't forget to eat as much sweet corn as possible, absolutely slathered with butter and gobs of salt. Freeze some please so you can remember how it tastes in January.
And for sure eat loads of good heirloom tomatoes too.
Let's plan to swim in the ocean waves if you can. Or a lake or any nice water you find.
Hey, remember how you used to love to create little nature drawings?
How about sketching in your nature journal without worrying about how it looks?
Be sure to hold hands with your husband whenever possible and go on drives together like you did when you were dating.
Tell stories by a fire with stars shooting overhead.
Make sure you remind the people you love, how much they are loved every chance you get.
Not only by you, but by God too.
If you don't do anything, please do whatever you have to do to slow down. Your heart needs wide open spaces to play and rest.
This one season will never come by again.
So go ahead and sink your toes deep into all of it.
And PS. stop worrying about the swimsuit (again!)
No one cares. So neither should you.
What about You?
What would you put on your summer note? Will it be more practical or more loving advice? Wherever you land, let's all agree to make this summer about noticing the good things. And if you feel like making a little note or list, go for it. My summer encouragement is to give yourself permission to take it all in while you slow yourself down, in love.