In just a few weeks, school will be out for the summer. Long summer days will be ahead. Kids will be riding their bikes to friends’ houses, exploring the trails and capturing fireflies. There is something special about the warm summer air. It has always made me feel like a kid inside.
I remember a few years after I graduated from college when I had “grown up” and settled into my new young adult life feeling a sense of loss when the summer came. There was something in me that did not feel like I could fully enjoy summer since I was working. The funny thing is that I had been working over the summer since the time I was in middle school. As a preteen and early teenager, the work was very minimal – mostly babysitting and working at soccer camps but by the time I was 16, I was working full-time jobs. And yet I still felt I had the total freedom of summer time. So what caused this mindset shift in my mid 20s? It is hard to say. I was overall still having a ton of fun but I definitely recall silencing an
inner part of myself so I could put my nose to the grindstone and advance my professional career. I skipped out on long weekends at the beach and often left the office when the sun was setting.
Now I will be the first one to say that we often are faces we choices that require some compromise. We sometimes have to sacrifice short term joys, comforts and satisfaction for something that might be even more important to us. We do not however have to compromise ourselves.
When I think back to the summers of my mid-20s, there are wonderful memories but there were also way too many hours spent working for someone else’s values and goals. At that point in my life I had not identified and internalized what I was working towards except a pretty generic definition of financial success. Luckily, by the time I was 27, I had received mentorship and coaching that was able to help steer me in a direction that helped me center my decisions, including how I spent my time.
Perhaps there have been similar times for you where you have found yourself torn with how to spend your time. Too often expectations, obligations and responsibilities that have hardly anything to do with what we value, take time away from what we value.
Take some time before the official start of summer to focus on what you value and how you want to spend your time. Consider if you need to shift anything in your life to allow for you to fully experience summer ahead. You may not be able to have everything perfectly worked out by the time this summer starts – that is okay. You will have started a new an exciting journey ahead – one that is centered and driven by what you value. Let the kid inside of you shine this summer.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones that you did do. So throw up your bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”– Mark Twain
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