I don’t know about you – honest, I don’t! – but when I was growing up summers were long, languid affairs. You spent a lot of time just hanging out, doing nothing. It was a time to play soccer with your mates, make up games of your own, and sometimes just hang around staring at the sky.
I didn’t appreciate it then but it was a time to just be, not to think about the future or the past, to simply enjoy the present.
But once you get out of childhood, college and work and family mean the luxury of laziness is not an option. You have to work or when you do take vacation you are too busy trying to cram as much in as possible to really just stop and relax.
Or if you are unfortunate enough to be out of work then you certainly aren’t thinking about a long vacation, and days are filled with trying to find a new job or just worrying about your situation. Either way, not much fun.
But just because childhood is long gone – in my case way way long gone – doesn’t mean you can’t recapture some of that summer-time feeling. You just have to work a little harder at it that’s all.
Take advantage of the longer days, the light, the heat, the warmth. Use those as tools to help you just take a little time for yourself and reflect, even meditate, on your life.
For instance, after work instead of going straight home take 15 minutes to go for a walk; take the time to enjoy the trees, the light, the scent of flowers, the wind, the warmth. Focus on those and not on the problems at work or what you are going to have for dinner, or what activity you have to do with the kids later.
For just a few minutes, pretend you are a kid again with nothing but time stretching out in front of you.
If you don’t have time after work what about first thing in the morning, what about lunchtime. You don’t need long, you don’t need a special environment. All you need is a little time, a little space and a willingness to cast your mind back and clear the thoughts of the present out of your head.
It’s amazing how many problems melt away when you do this. Things that have been bugging you suddenly don’t seem that important. Arguments you have been having with a friend or loved one seem silly so you resolve to forget them or apologize and move on. Problems at work don’t seem that difficult.
There’s nothing magical here. You are just giving your mind some breathing room, some time to push the day-to-day stuff aside and focus on nothing. It’s really quite wonderful how big a difference a little peace and quiet can have on you.