Oh, summer. You start with such unbridled promise. The delight of showing off that first pedicure in new sandals, sunshine-filled trips to the garden center and quiet mornings before the kiddos wake up. You are bursting with potential and excitement—and then reality hits. What camps did I sign everyone up for? Have I talked to my mother-in-law about the trip to the lake for the Fourth? Why does the traveling baseball schedule keep changing and for the love of you know what can everyone get to bed before 9:00, just one time? As I stared down our color coded, bursting-at-the-seams calendar a few weeks ago, I made a promise—for myself (and my sanity) and for my family—in the midst of all this summer chaos, I am going to get my groove on.
What does that mean? For me, it starts with my Jeep. A few years ago, I found myself in need of a new car. To be honest, I drive like a little old lady—I’m not flashy or into speed and most of my routes keep me close to home. But with three growing kiddos and more time spent on the road to and from activities, additional leg room for all was becoming increasingly necessary. On a whim, I test-drove a Jeep Wrangler. I was immediately transported back to my sixteen-year-old self—carefree, smiling and giddy to get behind the wheel. I was sold. Everyone thought I was nuts, but I didn’t care if it was comfortable, practical or economical; I just knew that I loved it. And if I could add some fun to part of my day that otherwise felt routine, I definitely wanted to do it.
Three years later, ordinary moments in my unconventional ride are helping me get my groove on all through summer. I promised myself to drive with the top down at every opportunity: from work to carpool and date nights, the grocery store and ice cream runs. There is so much simple joy in listening to music and feeling the sun on my shoulders while gripping the steering wheel, and I want to replicate that feeling over and over again during these crazy, chaotic summer months. Those little wins make all the difference in a big day. Bring on the crazy windblown hair!
But what about the rainy days when I can’t put the top down? I’m going to let you in on a little secret—I’m letting myself off the hook and trading in my ever-growing reading list for podcasts. I’ve been an avid reader since elementary school, but time for personal reading is so often trumped by bedtime stories, what I call “life” emails (how many exchanges does it take to coordinate a play date? a lot, it turns out) and binge-watching Netflix. I used to be embarrassed about not having time to read, but not anymore. I still want to be motivated and moved by other’s conversations, thoughts and lessons, but right now listening gives me the opportunity to dive into another world when I’m running, gardening (weeding—but doesn’t gardening sound more fun?) or scooting off to softball practice pick-up. I am giving myself the grace to find inspiration unconventionally, and the richness it is bringing to my daily life has manifested itself at home, at work and most importantly, in quiet moments of self-reflection. As for books, I’m saving them for vacation—the perfect poolside companion.
Slowly, slowly I’m finding my summer groove through these small moments of joy in my Jeep or plugged into a podcast. Finding that groove for me has come both through shifting my perspective to see the joy in the carpool commute (really) and consciously making time for myself and the things I enjoy. Some moments I share and others are just for me, but each is helping me chase my sun—letting go of what’s expected and doing what fills me up—all summer long.