I have encountered an odd dichotomy pulling at my heart this summer. On one side, there is the inevitable end of summer looming over all my waking hours, reminding me these warm summer days aren’t going to last forever Before I know it we’ll be back in the frenzied throws of another school year. On the other side, I something keeps pushing me to hurry up. Move faster, do more, finish something else, don’t slow down. This voice nips at my ankles on my morning runs when I want to stop to take a breath, it pushes me off the couch when the acceptable time for lingering has expired, and nags at the little ones who take twelve hours to walk down Main Street on our regular trips to the park.
Slow down, Summer! Hurry up, Greer!
For some reason, these two things aren’t lining up.
Why do I think that by squeezing as much as possible into my schedule I’ll somehow squeeze more time into my summer?
Isn’t urging myself to move myself faster only accelerating me to the end of the season?
I’d like to be someone that runs a nine minute mile. I’d even be ok with nine-and-a-half. I have my distance and pace tracker set to tell me every half-mile how I’m doing. No matter what I do, that fake, Siri-like voice continues to tell me I’m not going fast enough. 9:45 sometimes. 10:00 or 10:30 more often. Even 11:00 when I’ve been going a while. Hurry up, Greer.
I get home and move on with the day. Even without the earbuds in, that annoying voice is still inside my head. Time. Distance. Not far enough, not fast enough. The bathroom has got to be cleaned today. Did you finish the budget work for the month yet? You’ve reading that one book for too long. Learn that piece of music. Don’t forget – that article is due tomorrow. Be sure to get the grocery store today, we’re almost out of peanut butter. Hurry up, Greer.
Into the opposite ear the other voice speaks. Less robotic, more whiney. We’re more than half way through the summer. Mid-July, already! The days are getting shorter, did you notice? The weeks are flying by. I’ll be stuffing my legs back into jeans and pulling on a coat before you know it. And who knows how many more summers we have like this?
I’m kind of over these two voices.
Either slow down, or hurry up. But stop trying to do both at the same time.
I take my earbuds out. I walk if I feel like it. I take full stops to snap a picture or to sit down on a rock and look at the sky. I sit on the couch all morning, and do nothing I could possibly label as ‘productive’ when the evening comes. I go slow and I savor the summer as it is. I will accomplish a few things, for sure. But there will be tasks and goals that go undone and that’s ok. I’d rather spend my time relishing the things happening in my actual summer than agonizing over what I’ve not achieved.
There will be times for sprinting. Days I will choose to set the timer to see how far I can run in twenty minutes and how much I can clean in thirty. There are months coming in which we will fill all the hours in our day, from sunup to sundown – and beyond. But that season will come soon enough.
For now I’ll slow down. And maybe if I slow down, summer will too.