It’s mid-July. About a month ago my kids got out of school. About a month from now, they will go back.
That means one thing: halftime.
I never participated in competitive sports growing up, so at the risk of butchering a perfectly legitimate sports analogy, let me tell you what I think happens at halftime: The team goes into the locker room to rest and regroup. The coach reviews what has happened thus far, draws some circles and arrows on the chalkboard, pats them on the butt, yells at them a little, and then gives the team a pep talk with instructions on how to finish strong. I believe they also drink Gatorade.
Today I woke up feeling like I need some time in the locker room to rest and regroup. See, what I expected this summer to be and what this summer has actually been are NOT THE SAME THING. For example:
What I expected: to go to the pool most days, sit in a chair and read books with a giant bottle of ice-water next to me, and look up occasionally to see my children happily frolicking in the water. I purchased a pool membership and maybe 5 books, give-or-take, to read by the pool.
Reality: I’ve been to the pool thrice in the last 6 weeks. I brought the same book each time. I never took the book out of my bag. Sometimes I read that same book before bed. I have yet to finish the first book.
What I expected: to get up early every morning and write until noon. I planned to post something here on the blog once a week, write to my email list once a week, do a Facebook Live every Friday, and complete the edits on my Bible study (which is due to be released this Fall.)
Reality: Week 1 looked exactly like I planned–Go me! Week 2 I posted twice, but skipped the FB Live and the edits–Good effort! Week 3–I don’t even know, man.
What I expected: farmer’s market, fresh produce, grilled meats…easy, healthy, relaxed dinners with the family on the back porch most nights.
Reality: Boxed mac & cheese. Peanut butter on a spoon. Cheese sticks. Dry cereal. Take-out. Honestly, I’m not sure if or when my family has eaten. Left to their own devices, they usually resort to chips.
What I expected: to take my eldest daughter shopping for cute bed sheets and a tiny fridge and a new laptop for her college dorm room, and then tearfully launch her to college in August.
Reality: On the last day of high school, my daughter announced that she has decided to take a gap year. Instead of college, she intends to get a full time job and work for a year while living in her own apartment. This has made me very anxious because this came out of nowhere. I realize college is one of many viable pathways to adulthood. It’s just that she has scholarships and a roommate and AP credits…I want to be supportive, but honestly, I’m still in denial about it all (I have yet to notify the university with the hopes she’ll suddenly change her mind!). I don’t really know what reality is or what it should be right now.
What I expected: to prepare for a Fall launch of our church’s new women’s ministry by reading a few leadership books and making weekly lunch dates with key women in my congregation to listen to their hearts and discover how I can best serve them.
What I expected: to spend 30 minutes, or so, each day working on the Michael Hyatt book-publishing course I purchased in the spring.
Reality: Oh crap. I totally forgot about that Michael Hyatt course!
And of course, I did not expect to spend days at my dying father’s bedside, nor did I expect that my daughter would get into a car accident and total her car (the very next day–no serious injuries, thank God). Furthermore, I did not expect that this summer would be hard and sad and stressful. Truth be told, I’m feeling a little roughed up.
It’s halftime, you guys.
I’m in the locker room, trying to make sense of the first half before I go back out there and do it all again. It’s time to take a look at my calendar, my goals, my expectations, and my reality. I want to make some changes so I can finish this summer strong. I still have an entire month to do so.
And so do you.
Maybe you are crushing your summer goals. Maybe this summer is everything you hoped it would be–or BETTER than you hoped it would be. I’ve had summers like that, too. They’re the BEST, right? If that’s you, let me be the first one to pat you on the butt and hand you a cold Gatorade. Way to go! Keep it up, you’re doing great!
But, if you’re like me–muddy and bruised and tired, not sure what the heck just happened out on that field–join me in resting and regrouping. It may be time to ramp up our offensive line. (Do I sound sporty? I don’t even know if I’m using the correct terms any more.)
In my endless quest to live a well-balanced life, I have discovered that the best way to recover from an extreme and difficult season is to push hard in the opposite direction.
For me, that means
clearing my July calendar of everything that does not breathe life into me
allowing myself time to grieve the death of my dad and the sudden emancipation of my now-adult daughter (two things I did not expect and cannot control)
family vacation at the beach
readjusting my goals and expectations for the remainder of the summer
fresh produce 🙂
I began the push-back today. I wiggled out of a few commitments that were very good, but not good for me right now. I took some time to get caught up on normal, everyday things like laundry and dishes (this makes me feel so centered). I took the kids to the pool for an hour. I bought some fresh peaches and served them with tonight’s dinner (a dinner I actually cooked). I snuck my teenage son out for a surprise ice cream treat.
It’s not perfect–life rarely is–but it’s a step in the right direction.
Summer’s not over, team. We still have a chance to finish strong. Now go out there and CRUSH IT.
*pats all the readers on the butt*
Q4U: How’s your summer going and what, if anything, do you need to change to find your summer balance?