It’s been 2 weeks and 1 day since I started work again…but who’s counting? Apparently me. Every summer I make a list of all the things I will do during my time off and then during my summer, I complete about 2% of it. But this summer, was different.
You know how one of the first writing assignments teachers give to students is usually “Write about what you did over the summer” and there’s some kids who didn’t do too much and don’t have a lot to write about and there’s other kids who did a ton of stuff and can’t decide where to start and which thing to write about? This year, I’m the latter. I made a list of all the things we wanted to do and I completed about 90% of it. But it’s difficult to measure when, as the summer keeps going on, you keep adding to the list.
I won’t bore you with every. single. thing. we did over the summer. In a nutshell, we traveled. And I’m pretty sure there’s not enough room for everything on this blog. But what I remember most from this summer was how truly happy and carefree we felt (“we” being the kids and I – I think my husband was, for the most part, happy, but that’s for another blog on another day). But I do remember each moment pretty clearly and being very conscientious about living in each of those moments, which I don’t do often. I remember laughing a lot, cracking jokes, being carefree. I remember the kids getting along and listening (for the most part) and even when they didn’t, it was easier to let it roll off my shoulder. I remember speaking nicely to my husband 🙂 and being open to his plans. It was hard to come down from this high when summer was over and it was time to get back in the classroom.
One of the other “things to do” on my summer list was to read a few books. I didn’t read as many as I wanted to, but one of the books that I did read was this one:
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi struck me in multitudes of ways. Though some might think this book is about dying, I’d like to think this book is about truly living. What are we doing with our lives? Is it something we want to do or something we have to do? Am I happy in what I’m currently doing? If not, what’s making me feel the way I am and what could I do differently? This quote, from the book, has stuck with me ever since reading it:
“Life isn’t about avoiding suffering. It’s about creating meaning.”
I didn’t create meaning this summer because we traveled somewhere and did lots of “things.” In fact, many days were spent sitting around, doing nothing. I think what created meaning for me was in the way I was sure to savor these moments, to truly live in them and think about how special the moment was, whether it was riding the rides with my kids or hanging out with my sister in her backyard. Each moment was special because it was special, not because of what we were doing. And though it was back to reality soon after we came home, my intention as I start this school year is to continue to do my best to make meaning from even the most mundane moments that life hands me.