When Endless Summer Ends

I just looked at my calendar and I realized that I have only a week and a half of full freedom left, and only two weeks until my classroom will be filled with students old and new, outwardly showing the ‘cool guy’ devil-may-care attitude and inwardly agonizing over every little thing.

With the new school year drawing so close, I was reflecting back on the summer and realizing how little of my cheerily written, carefully numbered, heavily underlined “SUMMER GOALS” I had achieved: I touched my guitar once; I traveled only in my two pre-planned trips; I planned nothing out for the school year; I wrote none of my planned screenplay.  In fact, my summer days consisted of a lot of sitting: sitting at the pool, sitting on the couch, sitting at a few happy hours, sitting on someone else’s couch as I babysit their kids…fantasy, meet reality.

However, the great perk about this kind of lazy summer is that I am genuinely a teensy bit excited to get back into the swing of things.  Not ALL the way excited, I’m not a crazy person, but there is a small part of me that can’t wait to feel productive again.

However, there is a large portion of my brain that is only too willing to frown overbearingly at my summer ‘activities’.  You wasted two months, it says.  You could have done so much more.  What a trash person.

And there is some truth to that–I COULD have done more.  I SHOULD have taken advantage of my freedom more.

Yet, because of the 29 years I have spent living in this body, I know that I am the most dynamic and effective when I have 20 different things going on at once.  As all of the cliche’s know, there’s always a calm before the storm.  And considering that the school year is definitely most always a storm, I have a feeling that I will more than make up for this stretch of laziness and hit the ground running.

With that being said, this summer was not a total loss.  I have learned several things about myself that have been very useful:

  1. My most effective weight loss tool is not trying so hard.  I approached my fitness with a very laissez-faire attitude this summer–going to the gym when I felt like it, eating reasonable amounts, opting for less strenuous activities like going for a walk versus a run—and guess what?  I lost three pounds.  I have discovered that my body is extremely susceptible to stress, and apparently it views heavily working out and restricted diets as stress and refuses to lose a single pound.  The moment I stop?  BAM!  Weight falls off.
  2. I need structure.  One would think with the endless amounts of time that was available to me, I would have turned into a productivity machine.  Alas, this is not the case; I had spurts of inspiration here or there, but the majority of the time was spent bored.  Yes, I had zero excuses and yet I still sat on my ass and accomplished nothing most of the time.  Yet, talk to me in the school year, and there are days I get through a workout, a full day of teaching, grading, talking with students, calling friends and family, a blog post, and reading a bit in one book or the other.  I am given the same amount of time, yet because I HAVE to do one thing (teach), this spurs me to go on to do so much more.
  3. There are things work-wise that I enjoy besides teaching.  I have been helping my boyfriend with a TV series that he is producing in quite a bit of behind-the-scenes ways–composing e-mails, creating lookbooks, scheduling photoshoots, hiring various people to help with said photoshoots…the list goes on.  This work is actually pretty fun for me because it utilizes so many of my stand-out skills: organization, talking to people, and written communication, to name a few.  I could have never imagined myself doing anything but teaching, but this little foray into the world of Hollywood has me thinking that I could actually enjoy something else if teaching ever stops making me happy.
  4. There is value in doing nothing.  The endless days that I spent lazing around taught me, if nothing else, the value of having something that you want to work for.  When I had nothing to truly accomplish, I felt so bereft of meaning in my life.  Yet when I have things to do, I often bemoan how busy I am.  Having a significant stretch of time filled with emptiness made me realize how truly grateful I am that I have a purpose bigger than myself for most of my time.  If you want to realize how much you need something you wouldn’t normally cherish, be it a job, the ability to run, or vegetables, try having a long stretch of time where it is taken away.

Overall, while I am pretty sad to see the last few sands of summer trickling away, I am excited to move on to my 6th (SIXTH!? SIXTH. OMG.) year of teaching and to hold myself accountable for other personal goals that I want to meet.  I know how I work, and I work best when the pressure is ON.

So, here’s to gathering up steam for another whirlwind of fun, frustration, laughter, tears, accomplishments, mistakes, learning curves, and LIFE. *clinks glass*  Let’s go get’em!

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