Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I'm Getting Ready to Sink My Teeth In...

It's almost August. That's vacation time for me. I am lucky to work for a school, which lets out in August, giving us all a well-deserved break. I spend all year dreaming of this time, and when it comes, I am overjoyed with the possibilities of how to spend my time. There was the year I chose to add about a zillion supplements to my diet in an effort to be healthier. Then, I tried raw food dieting - something I tried very recently again. Another summer, I decided to redo the whole entire house, room by room, until my family revolted (after about the 3rd day) and we ended up at the beach every day after that. Then there was the summer my mother came to visit, and I got in a little fender bender which sent my car to the auto-hospital for 6 weeks. I didn't go too far that season. I joined a new gym in August one year, then promptly dropped my plans in September when things got busy again. What I love about summer is the possibility of something different. I don't really care that the plans don't always turn out the way I think they will, or that we didn't go very far, or do anything truly exciting. I don't feel as though I have to return to work in the fall sharing some amazing summer trip or anything. I am perfectly happy to stay around home, kicking up some projects OR going to the beach - either is fine by me. The great part is the time to do things, or not do things that I love.
However, looking at around 5 1/2 weeks of time off can also be somewhat disconcerting. That is really a long time if you look at 5 1/2 weeks of keeping the kids busy, finding neat places to go and things to do. Teenagers don't really want to go to the aquarium for the umpteenth time, so they keep me on my toes. Thank goodness they sleep in, giving me morning time to figure things out over a nice cuppa.
So some ideas that have come up for me so far are:
  • Read a fascinating new book. (suggestions?)
  • Take a daily walk down by the Charles River
  • Learn to cook a new cuisine (I've not done too much Middle Eastern or French)
  • Learn how to needle felt faces
  • Read another fascinating book
  • Read Three Cups of Tea out loud with the family - it's the required reading for the boys' school this summer
  • Learn to love my bicycle
  • Find all the farmer's markets in my area and visit them
  • Learn a new art/craft form - screenprinting, batik, a different beading style
  • Knit something(s) for a good cause
  • Try a new jigsaw puzzle
So many things to try, and thankfully, many days to try them in. I always love this time of vacations - the time just before, full of incredible anticipation, and none of the disappointment of moments not created. Of course it's during the moments toward the end of the vacation that I will look back at this post and feel melancholic, full of wishes for more time to do all these wonderful things, or to further explore more wonderful things. Becoming content with what we have, what we do, and what comes next is a real challenge and lesson for me. Seems no matter how I live, there is always something else I am looking for. Perhaps what I really need to put on my list for the summer is to appreciate the time I have, the strength that gets me there, and the opportunity to refuel my soul for the next school year. It's really a chance for me to reconnect with my family and friends in a slower time frame. How could anyone look back on that and feel regretful?
How do you feed your soul during time off?


goldenbird said...

I love big chunks of time off. I don't have kids, so I have a little more freedom to be self-centered with my time. My favorite things to do when I have time to myself is knit, craft, take walks in nature, go out for lunch with just me and a book, browse thrift stores, read, nap, and watch DVD's. I just love waking up without having to hurry up and immediately rush off ... love to move slowly throughout the day, doing what I please with no obligations. I require lots and lots of downtime to function properly :-)

Hope you enjoy your summer and the rejuvenation that comes with it. A couple of my favorite books are Memoirs of Geisha and Bel Canto, both are excellent reads. The Twilight series is addictive if you haven't read it yet :-)

Jill said...

Thanks, Goldenbird. I have not read any of those books, so will look for them at the library next week! And I so love to do all those things you do!

Michelle said...

Hi Jill! I don't technically have vacation time these days (although some may say my life is a vacation-- but they clearly have never seen the laundry piles that greet me each night ;-)

I am about to have 2 hours completely alone on Sunday (the first time since Noah was born 10 months ago) and my list is quite long. I can't decide between crafting or reading, and staying home or heading out. (I know, I'm crazy...2 hours, and I'm planning it for days :-)

For books, goldenbird is right on Bel Canto-- one of the best books I've ever read! Also, anything by Laurie Colwin or Barbara Kingsolver--can't go wrong with them.

Happy planning!!

Jill said...

How great, Michelle- I well remember those days tethered to the young ones. It does change considerably over time - I'm not tethered to them so much any more, but on ever-vigil stand-by to supervise and love. I still can't go far for long! But not having to go into work is pretty spectacular, and let's me meet the boys' needs all the better.
Thanks for the book rec's - I appreciate it.


Angela said...

I second all the book suggestions!

I just loaned Bel Canto to a friend and she loved it. Also loved Memoirs of a Geisha years back. My friend and I were joking that we improbably wanted to be geishas while we were reading it. One of those books that takes you into a different world, in an accessible way.

And Barbara Kingsolver is one of my absolute favorites. The Poisonwood Bible is on my Top 10 list, and the audio book is fantastic. I raved about it so much my husband read it and also loved it. And you can't go wrong with any of her other books either. I'm not familiar with Laurie Colwin.

A book I read recently and quite enjoyed was a first novel called "Good Grief." It's about a young widow, but actually has a lot of great humor.

Annie Lamott is my favorite for when I want to feel like I'm hanging out with a friend (Operating Instructions or Rosie), and Bill Bryson is tops for making me laugh out loud. A Walk in the Woods is hysterical.