Life in the summer takes on a different rhythm. My regular weekly commitments pause from June through August and time just feels different. I have more freedom. My calendar isn’t as booked. I spend more time at home. I’m an introvert, so I cherish my ‘cave time.” I gain energy, not from social situations or being surrounded by people, but from having quality time to myself. This recharges my batteries. It helps me check in to see how I’m doing. From fall through spring, I sometimes have a hard time finding this treasured time. It’s a balancing act. But, in the summer, extra time is plentiful. Instead of church meetings, music practices, and assorted group gatherings, my time is busy with bike rides and pool time and reading and movies and dinners out with friends and family game nights and home projects and being still.
I haven’t alway appreciated this slower pace, the simplicity of living this way. A few years ago, I sought medical help concerning digestive issues I had been struggling with for years. During one of my visits, my doctor asked me what I did to relax. ‘Oh, I don’t take time to stop and just sit around,’ I responded honestly. ‘There’s too much to get done. I like to stay busy. I always need to be doing something productive.’ After further discussion with her and reflecting back on that conversation, I realized that the practice of staying busy and neglecting myself, the act of NOT taking time for the simple life, was having adverse effects on my health. From that point forward, I began viewing my time of leisure as a ‘prescription’ – a doctor-ordered regimen necessary for my health and well-being.
Because my calendar is less active, most of this intentional relaxation time occurs during the summer months. The look of my ‘me time’ can vary, but there are definite consistencies. A comfy chair; a mode of reading or reflection; and a calming beverage of choice. Most often, my haven is my back patio, where my precious adirondack chairs reside. I love adirondack chairs. Mine are lavender. They’re adorable. Wearing jammie clothes is a must (think of the comfiest clothes you own . . . not your pajamas, but the closest thing to them). My go-to comfy outfit usually includes my “Simplify” Life is Good t-shirt that my mom gave me. I love how Life is Good shirts already look like they’ve been washed 100 times and feel that way, too. My relaxation space is a “no screen zone” – free from iAnything devices and computers. No push notifications to distract me. No ringing or tones that disturb. I have great views of the sky from my purple chair. I love watching the clouds drift by as I think and smile and dream. I enjoy the sounds of nature. The birds chirping and even a deer passing by once in awhile.
My ‘adirondack chair time’ allows me a space to stop. It’s a practice that gives me permission to simply be. I love it when the ordinary becomes extraordinary. To the outside observer, it’s just a porch. It’s not the fanciest or cleanest or most ornate or even the comfiest. But, it’s home. It’s special. It’s me. My time there is joy. Maybe it’s so special because it is a space bound by seasons, only to be enjoyed for a limited time. My time there ends once colder weather arrives. Maybe that’s what makes it so sacred. It’s fleeting and I don’t take it for granted. For every moment I enjoy in that space, I am grateful. Thank God for the simple life.