By Shannon Boatwright
As a teacher, it’s one of those questions you get asked a lot…as if we’re going to respond with some magical, fabulous and/or impressive descriptions of all the incredible things we experienced and accomplished over our treasured summer break. Of course, people don’t seem to realize that some, or I should say, most teachers actually still work over the summer, whether with a second job to help fill in the terrible pay gap or whether they’re having to take chunks of their summer to take required classes in order to keep up certification and/or to reach that next pay raise level.
In years past, I’ve had to take classes and fill my summers with studies and classwork. This past summer I decided to give myself a break. No classes, no time taken away from the break that I earned and definitely needed!
Now, last summer was literally the ONLY summer that I was actually able to respond to people with something fabulous that knocked my own socks off, much less others. I never dreamed I’d be able to respond and tell folks that asked that lovely question that I’d actually gotten the opportunity to go to France and Switzerland -and it was one of the most memorable, amazing experiences of my life! Ironically last year when someone would ask what I did over the summer, I’d almost feel a bit embarrassed to say anything about my incredible trip because it so was NOT a normal travel experience for me. I’ve written a previous blog about it Are You Experiencing One Wild and Precious Summer? You should check it out. It’s a good one for sure. I’d say it’s inspiring. 😉
But back to this summer, my summer of 2018. No fancy excursions in first-class to fantastic, far off fantasy like locations. But, I did indeed make it a great summer. (An important side-note to those reading…you don’t have to go on impressive, big time trips to create a fabulous summer for yourself!)
This summer, I utilized quality time with precious family and friends. I caught up on much needed sleep when my busy mind would allow it. I spring-cleaned and organized. We took only two short family trips – one to the mountains (See blog entry, Live Your Life!) and one recently, to the beach. And the beautiful thing…we made the most of every moment and greatly appreciated our time together. It was a summer with those I love and adore. It was a summer that allowed me the time to just be, to read, to work on future aspirations and gain personal insight.
√ Did I accomplish even half of what I wrote on my summer to-do wish list? Nope.
√ Did I accomplish other impressive things that weren’t on my list or even in my mind at the end of the insanely busy school year? Yep.
√ Did I gain weight and eat really well over my summer? Oh my gosh, YES. I immensely enjoyed cooking for my family, trying new recipes and sharing the yummy results of my cooking with family and friends!
√ Did I experience my own inner battle of deciding to accept my fuller bod and recognize my own health happiness? Actually…yes. It’s a constant work in progress, but with every year I have the pleasure of being alive, I’m learning to accept and rejoice in not only my talents, gained knowledge and individual gifts as I age and mature, but also accept my body and rejoice in its flourishing, changing ways! (That’s of course the super positive outlook I’m feeling in this moment. I’m quite certain if you were to catch me tomorrow in the moment when I try on a piece of clothing in my closet that will inevitably be way too small, I’ll most likely respond a bit differently. Just saying. I am only human after all. We’re Only Human) 😉
So what did I do this summer?
I lived. I survived. I rested. I played. I dreamed. I rejoiced. I engaged in being ever grateful. I created. I researched. I planned for my future and the future of my family. I planned as a drama teacher/director and what I want to provide for my students.
I tried my best to appreciate every moment with those I love. I listened to the sounds of the creek in the mountains. I made sure to consciously listen to the sounds of the ocean at the beach. I made sure to play with my children – we wrestled, we fished, we created, we watched movies, we rode bikes, we swam, we played pretend with my precious little nieces & cousins, we colored, we rode ocean waves, we jumped for joy on the beach…
Did I do something totally spectacular, crazy impressive over my summer? Maybe not in most folk’s eyes, but, I did me. I had a super summer.
Now here’s to hoping people will stop asking the question, “When do you go back to school?”
Note to readers: Never ask a teacher when she or he has to go back to school. We’re on summer break. Spare us, please… pretty please.
And now, you know I have to ask…
What did YOU do this summer?