A very minimalist summer

The calendar is telling me that I have less than a month left with Abby at home before she heads back to college … and I am so grateful that it’s THIS year and not last, when we were all so sad with the prospect of her leaving. This year, she knows what to expect. She has a class schedule she’s excited about. She has friends. She knows the ins and outs of campus.

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Vacation patio views.

And we all know that it’s okay that she leaves because she will come back. It’s been wonderful having her home, but she has a life that she needs to lead and experiences she needs to have … not here. She’s looking forward to going back — which makes it so much easier to let her go.

That’s not what I wanted to write about at all! I see the words are doing what they want this morning.

Here’s what I planned to write about: This has been a very minimalist summer and I could not be happier.

I have purposely kept the calendar light with the intent of enjoying the simple pleasures that come with an Oregon summer: Reading on the deck, taking walks around the neighborhood, spending time with family, picking blueberries in the garden, lots of coffee, meals outside on the porch (or in the park across the street from my office), going to the farmers’ market and weekend naps. I’ve been working on setting boundaries and pacing myself — not trying for 24/7 productivity — and I’ve found this has greatly helped my general state of mind.

I’m having fun. I’m balancing what needs to be done with what I want to do. I’m putting what’s important to me (family, health, creative pursuits) at the forefront and letting the rest take care of itself.

What’s helped me do this: I wrote a journal entry about my best memories from summers’ past. From there, I made a list of realistic summertime pleasures I could fit into everyday life (so basically everything I listed above). It’s not going to win any prizes for excitement, but I do feel like I’ve been able to enjoy my favorite season this year instead of watching it slip by.

“It feels like summer,” Johanna said yesterday afternoon as we sat on the porch. Totally agree, kid. This is the best summer we’ve had in years.

P.S. We just got back from our annual trip to Sunriver — another tourist trap of a town — where we spent lazy days reading on the deck, taking walks and visiting coffee shops. It was fantastic. And I’ve been working to incorporate vacation vibes into daily life now too, fresh off this particular experience.

I’ve read several articles on how the key to a simple life is to accept where you are, work with life’s natural rhythms and stay in the present. And I believe that’s true. Right now, I’m on the cusp of turning 46 (my birthday is Thursday) with one kid halfway out the door and the other starting eighth grade, working fulltime and living in the most beautiful area ever (not that I’m biased). I cannot be everything to everybody, including myself, but instead of raging against the machine, I fight the battle of just one day and accept what I have to work with in the moment.

I don’t know, that sounds maybe too simple, but on the other hand, I’m not sure why it has to be hard. 😉

Here’s hoping you’re having a great summer, too!

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8 thoughts on “A very minimalist summer

  1. sarahn says:

    Happy Birthday! I know what you mean – though we’re in winter here (I saw an icicle icon in my car this morning for 4 C. Let’s just say, I don’t recall EVER seeing that icon!). I felt in a rut. So I planned some fun things: making s’mores. NO ONE here had made them, so 7 of us gathered around and made them and it was wonderful. Plus fire and cold work together here…. And I planned a trip to see a friend too. Pleased to hear it’s a calmer summer with your daughter, now everyone knows what to expect. I trust Eric is also well.

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    • Trisha Walker says:

      Oh, that does sound fun! What did your friends think of said s’mores? That’s a summer staple in the States, although I think you’re on to something with the winter fire thing.

      How could I forget Eric? Yes, he’s fine — he’s been crossing off projects from his list, playing lots of Mario Cart with Johanna and has even caught her mania for “The Great British Bake Off” on Netflix (I can’t watch, it totally triggers my anxiety). He’s the best.

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      • sarahn says:

        Good to hear Eric is well – I now have a colleague Mario, so always amused to hear Super Mario being mentioned. So retro. Yeah we don’t get snow, so we can bonfire and smores any time of year!

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  2. Chris N says:

    Sounds like a very nice summer. I think it’s so important to be in the presence of the moment. Not trying to do too much and finding that balance is not as hard as some make it out to be. I’m happy you’re in that space. We are sweltering here in the Sierra Foothills. The next week looks just as bad with temps almost to 100. I try and get my chores done early and then just do almost nothing all afternoon. It doesn’t hardly cool off till @ 9pm.

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    • Trisha Walker says:

      Oh, the heat sounds miserable. We’ve been in the 90s this week, looks like next week too, but we don’t have humidity so it’s a different kind of “hot.” I hope your afternoons are filled with fun stuff like, um, books and coffee (or equivalent). And that shady spots prevail.

      I’m glad for the perspective this summer, too — it’s been nice.

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