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Reflections for the End of Summer
Although I already feel heavily invested in the rhythms of September, I want to spend some time reflecting on the golden season that was summer. If asked, I would definitely tell you that I value reflection, but in all truth, it’s often easier for me to skip the reflecting and just go straight to planning whatever comes next. Even if I have good memories from whatever I’m reflecting on, it feels uncomfortable to me to examine the things that I did (or did not!) do. I have the tendency to always feel like I fell short of what I wanted to accomplish. I’ve been noticing that I’m tainting more and more of my good memories and moments by thinking about everything I should have done differently, and that makes me sad. I want to practice walking into the discomfort of reflection and building the ability to appreciate the good things that I did/experienced, while being honest about what I’ve learned and how I can improve in the future.
I’m using some prompts from an episode of Laura Tremaine’s podcast Ten Things to Tell You to guide my thoughts. (“Episode 184: 8 Questions for the End of Summer”, if you’re wanting to listen to it yourself.)
What was the highlight of summer?
This summer had so many gifts to offer!
What can never happen again?
I made zero dollars for two months since schools were closed for the summer and it didn’t feel worth procuring and learning a new job during that time. I don’t want that to happen again, unless I’m busy raising children, volunteering, traveling, taking classes, or using my time in some other productive way. Ideally, I could find some way to make money from home in the summers. That’s something that I need to keep turning over in my mind.
Another thing that will likely never happen again is using a meal subscription service. An Instagram ad pulled me in by advertising an extremely affordable week of meals. I selected meals that I thought I wanted to eat but for some reason, once those neat and tidy brown bags were lined up in my fridge, I procrastinated on making them. I felt trapped by them. (I know… that sounds ridiculous!) It was kind of satisfying to have everything pre-measured, but it felt like a lot of packaging was used. I also found the recipe cards disorienting to use. I am not a visual girlie at all. I need black and white, with instructions in one neat paragraph. If you make it colourful, put it in a chart, and add pictures, my head spins and I miss things. The one recipe that we truly enjoyed was a meatball sandwich with marinara sauce and pesto mayo. I will definitely be re-creating that one!
What summer energy am I bringing into the fall?
I enjoyed spending a lot of time with friends and family this summer, and I want to take that social energy into the autumn season! I want to push back against my tendency to withdraw from social things when I feel nervous or overwhelmed. I want to learn to enjoy an evening with friends, even if I am nervous about going to work the following morning. Nervousness about the near future doesn’t get to steal my enjoyment of the present moment (she said quietly, hoping not to attract the attention of the nervous energy.)
Also, this summer I spent a lot of time walking. In July, I got 485,510 steps! It’s not sustainable for me to do that much walking during the school year, but I do want to continue to do lots of walking.
Where do I need to switch gears?
I need to embrace going to bed earlier and planning meals that work well to take with us for lunches.
What is one word, idea, or habit I can cling to for the next ten weeks?
This may sound a little bit cheesy, but so far this month it has been helpful for me to simply remind myself that I am a capable human. I am capable of finding a way to help a student who needs support. I am capable of staying calm in tense situations. I am capable of learning from my mistakes without feeling despair over having made the mistake. It feels like I need to step outside of my own mind in order to do even tell myself that I’m capable, but every now and then I feel like I actually am beginning to believe it. In this blog post about fear, Lucinda Kinsinger uses the words Take Control to describe what I’m trying to express here.
What are 2-3 things I really want to make happen this fall?
I want to visit the Art Gallery of Ontario (in Toronto), go hiking somewhere I’ve never been before, and continue to work at making writing a part of my daily routine.
I also want to enjoy all the pumpkin and apple recipes and drink all the pumpkin spice lattes. The food and drinks of autumn are so appealing to me!
How do I want to feel at the end of the year?
Hmmm. At the end of the year, I want to look over the guiding values that I have chosen for my life (courage, authenticity, creativity, peace, and presence) and be able to think of situations from this fall where I made small choices that honour those values.
What about you? Are you in fall mode yet? What’s something that you hope will happen in your life this fall? Do you have a favourite autumn drink or recipe?