Friday, June 28, 2013

Summer is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans

It's about balance, right?
Author's note: This post was written on Saturday and retroactively posted to Friday but don't tell anyone.

Summer. What to do? It's the end of June and already I feel liked we've packed some good stuff into our Summer Break. So far, one or more of us has been to the Provo Rec Center, Seven Peaks, Moab, made a movie, and visited Chicago. We've been on bike rides. We've seen most of the major blockbuster movies together. 

We are a family that, most of the time, doesn't do much. We sit and play board games, video games, watch TV and movies, and eat. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.) More activity has been good for us.

I'd like to continue to be more active as a family this summer. Some ideas are: go to Goblin Valley for a weekend, maybe try to get to Grandma's in Lodi, CA (stopping at some cool stuff along the way), local camping, Park City, Vegas, and Disneyland. If we manage to do one of those, it'll be a success.

One reason for all the excitement about plans this year is that we did absolutely nothing last summer. We had a good reason though. This weekend marks the one year anniversary of my wife's pacemaker surgery and all that near-death drama.  This year, there's this sense that we want to soak a lot more in because—and this will sound melodramatic—you never know when it will all end. Do I want my kids to remember our time together as one, long couch marathon, or do I want them to remember it as a time we did a shload of cool things together?

What I've realized more than anything is that I've had blinders on for a while. I've seen life as this trek I have to trudge through rather than something to be savored actively. Getting out and among other tourists, locals, weirdos, and hobos helped me to appreciate my life more and enjoy other people more. 

When I was in Chicago recently, I tried an experiment. As I walked through the city, I kept my head up and kept a smile on my face. It was cool to see how many people looked me in the eye. Only a handful of people smiled back, and I think this method attracted more vagabonds but ... I felt connected to everyone. Like we were all acquainted. It helped me finish a transition that I've been making the last few months. Coming out of the enclosed, selfish, drudgery, and into a more open, grateful place. No matter what you believe, this life is the only time we will have it. Either it's over when you die or it becomes something totally different if you get to live forever. Why wait, sit, and waste?

It's allowed me to look at this summer with more hope and happiness than I've had in a long time. It's helped me to feel real joy for the good things that are happening to the people I know. It makes me want to be a part of life and participate. I want everyone to get out, do things they love, with the people they love, and I'll be doing that too. Sounds like a plan.

What are your summer plans?

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