When I was gainfully employed, I swear it was easier to let go of summer. While working, I couldn’t enjoy the outside world at this time of year.
Now that I can be out in these remaining days of summer, I’m so sad to watch them fade away. I didn’t know what I was missing in these last, sweet moments of the season. Now I do.
Now I have time to notice the changing colours and the tangy, cool edge of the morning breeze. I notice how the sky becomes a lighter, translucent blue and how the crows all get together to make travel plans.
I’m sad to see summer go, but I love watching her walk as she heads off down the road.
The passing of time speeds up as we get older. When I was young, I recall commenting how quickly time was going as I moved from grade to grade in school.
The older folks responded, “You think time moves fast now. Just wait. It passes quicker and quicker the older you get.”
They weren’t kidding.
Time does pass more quickly as we age, but here’s the good news: growing older increases the value we put on time. When we know there’s less time ahead, we appreciate it more.
I squandered so much time as a young adult. All those moments spent daydreaming, pretending, and posing, I wish I had them back now.
But I also understand that in youth I was trying to sort out just who I am. Now I know, and that makes life a lot easier.
I’m not stumbling around trying to identify myself. I’ve got a pretty solid idea of who I am, where I am, and where I’d like to go.
It wasn’t until my early 30s that I’d established this sense of identity. Then I got traction and found a couple niches into which I fit perfectly: writing and teaching.
There are people I meet in their late teens and early 20s who already have a secure sense of self and a confidence I never possessed. It’s a gift I envy. There’s no point, though, in comparing my rocky path to others’ journeys. Every life is unique and all lives are difficult.
Now that I appreciate my time more, I’m reluctant to waste it. Days are too precious to view them as something to get through or as something to fill.
I want to stretch time out, to live days deeply and fully as I can. I want to honour time.
In this part of my life, how can I best do this?
I love working. I’m not as fast at it as I used to be, but I’m better at it, that’s for sure. I don’t work frantically anymore. These days, I’m slow and steady, and the products of my labour are much improved.
It’s not always possible, but I try to do work I enjoy. If I don’t enjoy it, I try to see value in the work beyond enjoyment. This strategy helps me to do my best when engaging in tasks that aren’t my favourite.
I also love lying around watching TV, but this isn’t what I consider genuine relaxation. Relaxation is best found in the moments we savour.
Our backyard is pleasant this summer, full of blooming flowers and fresh vegetables, and with birds and bees to watch. This season I’ve enjoyed taking my hot mug of tea or cold bottle of beer outside. I sit on the white garden bench and drink whatever I’m drinking slowly until my mug or bottle is empty.
Meditation is also genuine relaxation. It takes practice to empty the mind of thoughts, but once you’ve got the hang of it, it feels good! I’m kind of hooked on that feeling of mental spaciousness.
Real relaxation isn’t meant to fill up time or space; it’s meant to slow time down and hollow out a quiet space in our lives.
Learning new things is a good way to use time. The older I get, the more curious I am. I’m especially interested in learning more about words and the world. That’s why I like completing my editing certificate program courses and why I enjoy traveling.
Connecting with people is a very positive use of time. Life is beautiful, but it’s also difficult.
If we can bolster each other by connecting kindly, our relationships are meaningful and mutually beneficial. You can’t do much better than that.
Although letting go of summer is hard this year, I’m grateful for the chance to reflect on the change in seasons.
The reason I don’t want summer to go is that I’ve spent more time with her this year and have appreciated her presence more.
Getting reacquainted with summer has been a worthwhile experience, and there’s nothing wrong with missing a true friend when she’s gone.
by Lori Knutson