Every day this summer I have been spending about 20 or 30 minutes outside on the back patio just before work starts around noon. The two lane highway that our townhouse backs up to is closed for the whole next year, and there is zero traffic out there, other than the occasional turn around or mail truck. It is absolutely serene each morning. Other than the country road, there is a sprawling cornfield, birds, and animals scampering about. I get a small dose of vitamin D as I sit back and relax, listening to some songs on my phone and pretending I am at the beach, minus the sand in my suit.
Usually this time of year I am anxiously waiting for Fall to begin, wiping my sweaty brow and counting down the hours and minutes until pumpkin farms and trick-or-treating. This year has been different, though. This summer I am pausing more often, taking these twenty minutes or so on most days to reflect, regroup, and just BE. A break from the chaos of loud children. A break from work. A break from talking, from thinking, from always go, go, going!
I have never been a very “zen” kind of gal, but this summer I have found my ohhhmm. Who knew?! Okay, probably lots of people. Well, I am often late to the party. I got into Candy Crush years after it became popular (level 564 tonight – woo hoo!). I still say “Bye, Felicia” to everything and everyone. I am completely obsessed with the ridiculous Bachelorette/Bachelor shows and I started with Ben’s season, y’all. Always bringing up the tail end of what is popular, that’s me.
I have jogged in the past and occasionally felt that “runner’s high”, the boost of endorphins that often follows exercising. However, I never thought that I would get so much satisfaction from doing absolutely nothing. That sounds silly as I write the words; who doesn’t love relaxing?! ME. I honestly do not always know how to slow down, how to let go and relax. I literally cannot sit back and watch my favorite show if the kitchen counter tops are cluttered. I am a list-aholic, and I am constantly and always checking things off and reorganizing my to-do list in my head and on paper. Birthday gifts to buy, school supplies to gather, activities to get the kids to, always running through my head what is coming up down the road. It is who I am, it is how I function, and it has helped to make me a successful nurse and mom. BUT. It is not always good.
Sometimes I can’t sleep. Sometimes I can’t focus. Sometimes I cannot, for the life of me, simply relax. And so this summer I have been patio sitting, for a little bit each day. I think the sun and nature surrounding me have helped me to let go of everything, if just for a moment or two. It has been wonderful for me to grab my alone time and sit with my thoughts, with my favorite songs, with my silence. I have slowly started to better appreciate the warm weather of summer, in my almost 36th year of life. Such a short period of the year, this patio-sitting summer has brought me fresh insight and warmth. It has helped to refill my bucket each day, and has improved my mental health greatly. I have been more productive when I get to work, and more calm upon arrival. It has just felt good.
I am never going to be someone who can easily relax when there are a ton of things to get accomplished. I am always going to hate bugs and sweat and sunburns and melting in the hot summer sun. However, I can be someone going forward who somehow makes a small amount of time each day for herself. I can definitely be someone who takes each season as it comes, finding ways to decompress and relieve stress by being open to trying new things. I can learn how to comfortably patio sit in my mid-thirties, something I thought was only for nature lovers and little old men. I was most definitely wrong about that. Patio-sitting has been my very small but very life-changing endeavor this summer, and I am so grateful for this new peaceful, joy-inducing hobby. Grab a chair or lounger and try it out for yourself. Just not mine, that one is taken. As I tell my kids and hubby every one of these beautiful summer days, “If you need me, I’ll be out on the patio. Try not to need me.”