It's been a good summer so far, yet I've been feeling a tad deflated of late.
I couldn't quite pin down the reason why. Maybe it was the incredible heat. Maybe it was the fact that the rat is still living in our garden, and in our attempts to kill the thing we mistakenly murdered a chipmunk instead. Maybe it's because I'm the only person I know who gains weight instead of losing it during the hottest months of the year. Maybe it's because we were thinking about trying to move to the country, but then, with Todd starting a new job and then being out of town for a week, we've missed the search-and-sell window of time that we'd need to change schools before the new year. Maybe it's because I'm yet again disappointed in the way my church handled a sticky personnel change. It could be any of those reasons...
But then I figured it out. The real reason for my slump is that late July is the mid-life crisis of summer. It's the point when you look back at what has transpired thus far, and ahead to what remains. Late July is when you begin to realize you may have squandered much of June, what with alternately thinking "we have all summer" and running around too much instead of truly appreciating the fresh green world around you. Late July is the reality check, when you start to actually number the remaining weekends in the season. It's the time of summer when you begin to understand that you won't fit in all the fun experiences and events you'd hoped to, simply because there's not enough time, or money, or both. It's when you glimpse the first back-to-school sales ads, and remember all the educational activities you planned to tackle each week with your kid... and didn't.
But it's okay. For all those things I'm reluctantly crossing off the list, the things I'm planning to put on next year's summer list, I'm also examining the list of fun things we have managed to fit in: picking berries, visiting museums and downtown, running through fountains, swimming, taking hikes, playing with friends, visiting with family, cooking out, sitting on the porch, reading and telling great stories, eating ice cream—lots of ice cream (hence the weight gain)... We haven't squandered too much, now that I think about it. We've had a pretty good balance. I even got the kid to paint with me this morning, "plein air." I lasted much longer than he did, but he made sand souffle in his sandbox until I was ready to break for lunch, and a light breeze was blowing, and the sun shone beautifully but not directly on us, and all was unbelievably well.
Coming to the 40-something point of summer is a lot like living to that point of your life: there are regrets, and there is also rejoicing. There is ever-increasing thankfulness, and an effort to strive for joy, with the growing understanding that it is a choice.
I suppose I was just feeling the mortality of summer pressing down on me a bit. Happily, we still have a few weeks left. And if I'm looking through the long lens, we hopefully have next summer, and maybe even the next after that. Life is like that; you can't dwell on the haven'ts. You have to acknowledge them, but only so you can work them into the next list. I'll try to spend much more time reveling in the Have Done category than grumbling through the Haven't Yet list. I strongly encourage you to do the same.
That said, however, don't sleep too late, or get stuck in front of the stupid TV. Those guys are summer thieves for sure.