May is a season of endings and beginnings both. For many it is the end of a school year yet the beginning of summer. For others, the end of elementary school and the beginning of middle school and so on. I believe this time of year is inspirational in that respect. We come to an end but are renewed in our efforts with our new beginnings, whether it be with something as profound as a graduation or as simple as the end of an ordinary school year. Summer entices us to celebrate.
What will this summer bring? Will it be a time of relaxation, rejuvenation in an effort to prepare for the coming fall? Or will it be a time to get caught up on all the things we never seem to have the time for during the year, like catching up with friends and family, or cleaning out closets, garages and stacks of old mementos.
But then there are those for whom the summer is just one big continuation of the rest of the year. There may not be that natural break that comes with the education system. In fact, it can be more burdensome in regards to daycare and finding activities for children when there is no school in place. For those I wonder, is there still a satisfaction that comes with the season? Will the family vacation taken in the summer be sufficient to rejuvenate and sustain those with lesser breaks?
We are a nation with longer work weeks, less vacation time, and less family leave than in most developing countries. We as a nation are doing much more with much less. Our pull ourselves up by our bootstrap mentality which has served our nation well, has also been a burden to self respite. I often wonder if the next generation, might turn as many did in the revolutionary sixties, to a more “turn on and tune out mentality”? Quality of life may be the new mecca for those of the newer generation. Rather than do more with less, possibly live with less and enjoy more!
We all need times of rejuvenation and self-care. If it is not built into our work schedule we must find a way to take those “mental health” days and care for ourselves. Return to our inner artist, renew or reinvigorate with something we feel passionate about. Even a sunny afternoon at Barton Springs can serve as a chink in the armor of life. There is a reason the old saying “stop and smell the roses” has survived the test of time.
I challenge us all to make the most of this summer in whatever way is kindly to your soul. Make it memorable in its love of time and joy. Make the most of the schedule you have to devote time to those whom you care the most doing the things you love. Create some forever memories. To new beginnings and happy summer!
Tara Ubelhor M.Ed., LPC