I will not book out my entire summer before summer begins

Sunset on Marco Island

The first day of summer has only just passed, and this year, I’ve made a promise to myself. In the Before Times, everything in my life was booked out weeks, if not months in advance. That left very little time for spontaneity, relaxation, or self-assessment.

Kristen Bell said in a recent speaking engagement with BlogHer, “The only thing you can’t purchase or get back is time.” As we weave our way toward the After Times, I vow to cherish the time that I am given and treat it like the precious piece of my world that it is. 

June 20 marked the first official day of summer, and in May, I made the decision that I would refuse to have every weekend of the entire season booked out before it began. That’s only 13 weekends. 26 full weekend days (plus Labor Day and the Fourth of July).

Between weddings and showers and birthdays and anniversaries and graduations, our weekends get eaten up quickly like Cheetos at a slumber party. But not this year. And for those of you who invite me to your parties and events and whatnot: I hope I can make it. I do. I love seeing you and celebrating with you. And if I can’t make it to your party, I hope we can go out for dinner or lunch or play games and actually catch up after this wild (yeah, wild. Let’s run with that, for now, but make sure we recognize that awful doesn’t even begin to describe it for the majority of people) year.

I love my friends and family. But I need to start setting boundaries for the sake of myself and Brian. So henceforth, unless it is something that requires a firm RSVP (like a wedding) or advanced planning (major travel), I am only opening my calendar up two weeks out. I even developed some language to use as I start engaging with friends about making plans.

“Would it be okay if we touch base in a couple of weeks to confirm?”

Okay, fine, I’ll probably add a few apologies and “hi I’m a giant weirdo,” but I feel really good about this decision and my language. And I’ll work on being less apologetic about it later. I suppose that comes with time. 

I have a lot of things I need to prioritize, and seeing a full calendar of social engagements and obligations will only stress me out about not having time to focus or take a break or just spend time with my extremely introverted husband.

Does this mean there might be times when I don’t have plans and my extroverted self really wants to do something? Yes. But that leaves room for spur-of-the-moment date nights, or summer evenings with my neighbors and a few bottles of wine. It leaves us open to possibilities of something new and different. Or sitting at home with a board game or movie just the two of us. And there’s no one I’d rather be just the two of us with than Brian. 

Have you changed the way you manage your time as you start to emerge from pandemic life? What are you doing to improve your stress levels and resume a new normal instead of going back to The Before Times? Tell me everything!

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Gonna take some time to do the things we never have

Last August, I discovered I was losing something. No. I had lost something. I didn’t realize the extent to which it was missing, but I knew I needed to make a change. My ever-present smile was dimmer than it had been in a long time. I was suffering from depression. I should have noticed months prior. When surrounded by writers and creators, I hid in my room instead of reveling in the joy of being around like-minded people. I knew that I needed a change in my life, and I struggled to figure out what it was that I needed.

As it turns out, I needed to follow my dreams. I needed to take some time off from the corporate desk monkey life and see if I could do this writer thing for real. So I’m writing. A novel, actually. I’ll tell you more about that soon. Of course, in the time I’ve had, I’ve also managed to use it wisely and do some really important things.

The first of these tasks was to finally memorize the lyric’s to Toto’s Africa. Because everyone else knows them, and I’m tired of “mumble mumble BLESS THE RAINS DOWN IN AFRICA mumble mumble.” It turned out to be the exact right thing to do, because it spoke to me about taking time to do the things I never have. And so I continued on my journey.

I saw Hamilton. And proceeded to memorize the lyrics to Act One and most of Act Two of the show. Give me time, and Act Two will be finished as well.

But I haven’t just been working on lyric memorization.

I crafted homemade apple butter, applesauce, and pear butter.

I made homemade beer cheese spread.

I started cooking real meals again, the way I used to when Brian and I were still in the budding stages of our relationship.

I also eat a lot of food.

I cleaned my kitchen. Like once. I’m not a miracle worker, you guys.

I may have done laundry a couple times too.

Brian knew going into this marriage that I was not an organized cleaner or anything like that. Phew

I helped my bestie plan her wedding.

I planned two wedding showers.

I hosted another kick-ass Halloween Party.

I really like throwing parties.

I created a Disney-focused Instagram account.

I decided to start Disneybounding (dressing like Disney characters) in my regular life, and it was the BEST decision.

I spent a lot of quality time with my niece, indoctrinating her into the world of Disney by watching a different Disney movie when she would come over. 

Disney is life, you guys.

I did stand-up for the first time.

I began training at The Second City.

I submitted work to (and was subsequently rejected by) McSweeney’s and other fancy publications that I plan to keep submitting to.

A sense of humor. It’s important.

I dyed my hair pink.

I finally made all those Shutterfly photo albums I’ve been meaning to make for the last several years.

I set up a desk in my front room where the light shines in an open space that makes me so much happier to write in than a cramped office.

We adopted a puppy.

I let this blog fall to the wayside while I found myself, rediscovered my voice, and figured out what I wanted to do with it. But I finally have a plan, you guys. And I hope you’ll stick with me as I move forward!

I am living my best life, and I am so incredibly proud of the things that I’m accomplishing and the person that I am. This journey is making me see how incredible the world truly is, and I can’t wait to make my mark.

What are you doing to live your best life? Or what’s a change you can make to start moving in that direction?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!