It's Midsummer's eve - tomorrow is the mid-way point of the year, in the summer (hence, Midsummer) and the the beginning of Summer.
We live with a constant pressure to be busy, to do more, and to feel as though we "aren't living up to our potential" if we slow down to savor our lives as they are, if we take our bites slowly to make them last.
So here are:
Five Things I Will Not Be Doing This Summer
1.) I'm not going to worry about homeschooling.
Using the Oak Meadow PreK "curriculum" we started doing morning circle, learning new poems and fingerplays, songs, and more. I'm also slowly working through a treasure trove of information from Christopherus and can see the benefits of each.
This summer, I'll work these things naturally into our days (waiting at a restaurant? oh yes! Having trouble getting a little one to stay with us? You betcher.) and we can start back with more formal morning circle as the weather cools down in the fall.
2.) Stress about heating/cooling.
Toward the end of the cool season (well before the hot and then cold snaps) we ran out of oil (intentionally) for our decrepit old furnace, and then started to run low (like REALLY low) on pellets for our pellet stove that we used as our primary heat.
We were never cold. We baked a lot, snuggled under blankets, wore beautiful woolens, savored hot teas, and ate lots of soup.
We've since had our friend Spartan install ductless minisplits that do both heating and cooling. As long as we have power, we have energy efficient, environmentally friendly comfort.
Reusable squeeze pop molds are amazing.
When it's too hot to be pleasant? I'm just going to turn it on a little. When it's so muggy that I can't even move without dripping (even though it's only 75 degrees out) I'm going to dehumidify.
3.) Lean on sugar, caffeine, chocolate, or any other food.
We're still getting back into the groove of things after HandsomeJoe was away for almost a month straight.
For the last two weeks, we've been eating clean. For me this means no sweeteners/sweet foods (except the stevia in the shake mix I use in the morning), no coffee, rarely black tea, no grains, little to no starchy vegetables (potatoes, etc.), and no alcohol.
My head is clearer, I can breathe more freely, and my energy doesn't flag nearly so heavily at various times throughout the day.
One thing about cutting out all dietary "coping mechanisms" is that I've been faced with my weak moments more strongly. I can't just self-medicate and move on.
I've been journaling, focusing on my breath (a kind of quick meditation) and keeping away from electronics in the evening, and going to bed a little earlier. Having to practice self-compassion, letting go, as well as processing via paper, is allowing the stress of the moment to truly depart, rather than simply hang around me like a cloud.
Once I reach a couple more goal milestones, I'll slowly add back in some healthy fruits and an occasional treat. The thing about treats, is that if you have them all the time (or even very regularly) they're habits, not treats.
4.) Turn On The Television.
Yep. That's right. I'm not going to even turn it on.
It's really incredible how quickly kids get used to watching a LOT of television - shows, movies, videos, etc. It's also equally amazing how quickly they forget all about it and get used to playing rather than being zombies on the couch - plugged into someone else's idea of entertainment.
For a few weeks after we pulled the plug, we got lots of requests, a fair amount of whining, and a couple of beginning tantrums that got quickly nipped in the bud.
Since then, I can recall only a single request, and the negatory answer was quickly shrugged off as I listed what we were going to do that day.
If "it's not what we do," then it's not a "thing." Instead, we go outside, we garden, we go berry picking (or whatever is in season) we go to the park, we go visiting, we play, we work, we live.
I'm not going to the gym. I'm not going to go for a run, I'm not going to do weightlifting exercises, I'm not going to get on any treadmills, rowing machines, stair climbers, elliptical machines, or other equipment.
I know what I "should" be doing. I can give myself a whopping guilt trip into trying to add these things into my summer. But I'm not going to.
If I get an hour to myself I'm going to spend it nurturing my soul, recharging my batteries, and doing things I love. I will not be body-shaming myself into doing things I hate in any misguided attempt to fit a mold that's inches taller and countless inches skinnier.
I will however be taking walks in beautiful places with my darling girls, I will be sprinting to catch them before they step out into the parking lot, I'll be hauling bags of compost and buckets of dirt as we keep working on our grounds.
I'll be carrying groceries, grumpalumpgirls, and baskets of wet laundry out to hang on the drying rack. I'll be making baby dinosaur noises as I stretch a little before I rise in the morning, and all the other wonderful ways I can savor being alive in this body this summer.
What will you not be doing this summer? What will you be letting go of to make room for what's truly important?