My entire adult life I have fantasized about having a summer off. I have dreamed of open time to play, to be in nature, to be a kid again. This year my dream is coming true. At the age of 58, I have lots of open space on my calendar. And I know how fast the summer will fly by. So I am taking today to go through the See It and Map It steps for my summer. I invite you to do the same.
What did you long for most from your childhood summers?
For me, it was freedom. Delicious freedom from predictable schooldays. Freedom to lay in the sun, devour ice cream, and float for hours in a turquoise pool.
My summer longings have not changed much. A sun-drenched break from the routine sounds too good to be true, honestly. As a working mom, however, I know poolside paradise will elude me. Instead, the season will welcome busyness.
From where I sit, summer’s two major opponents are sky-high expectations and the pressure to “do it all.” Corporate socials and family get-togethers. Planning a picture-perfect getaway or entertaining kids from dawn ‘til dusk (and then some). Then there’s laundry and groceries and shouts of “who left the screen door open again?!”
The tension is palpable. Often times, our knee-jerk reaction is to purely survive. Sanity, money, rest—these are common sacrifices on the altar called Summer.
But believe it or not, a simpler more satisfying summer is within reach, regardless of our individual situations. The pursuit is straightforward and anyone can start today.
It boils down to pausing before the chaos and tuning into your desires.
Time for the SEE IT. MAP IT. & DO IT. Steps!
If you could choose a word or theme for this summer, what would it be? My summer theme is Summer Sabbatical.
Sit down with your loved ones and ask what do you most want to do for –
fun & play
travel & exploration
relaxation & healing
My choice for fun is 2 motorcycle trips with my man Bob, for travel I am taking a road trip to my home town of Bozeman Montana for my 40 year high school reunion, for projects I am creating a family picture wall in our new home, and for relaxation I am sitting on our deck in the evenings to wind down and breathe in the sweet country air.
Now take your map it list and put those things on the calendar. Make them happen by putting them first.
SEE IT – get in touch with what is most important to you
MAP IT – make it happen by writing it down on your calendar
DO IT – then enjoy each event to its fullest!
Put FUN First – Choose the most important fun activity and fill up on the juicy energy it offers.
Before you leave on vacation – make two copies of each document in your wallet. Keep one in a safe place at home and take one with you to put in the hotel safe. Then you are prepared if anything should happen.
Connect with the Earth – Choose one morning or evening each week to be your time to connect with the earth – a long walk, sitting outside under a tree, a bike ride, or soaking up the sun. Let this be a time that fills you!
Garden – If you want to garden but just never have the time, plant a container with a favorite flower or vegetable. You will still enjoy gardening but on a more manageable scale.
Family Passes – Buy a family pass to your favorite summer place, then as a family review the schedule of events and mark your calendar with those you don’t want to miss!
Three Most Important Things – Every morning, when you are planning your day, write down the three things that truly matter most that day. The sense of accomplishment that you will feel when you complete these three things will free you to do other things.
Organize Last Years School Papers – Make a date with your child to spend an afternoon to go through all of the papers you saved from the last school year.Lay them all out on the dining room table or the floor. Enjoy reliving the last year. Then choose the keepers and treasures. Next simply three hole punch them and put in a fun binder so your child can look at it whenever he/she wants too.
Birthdays, Graduations, Weddings – Take one hour and make a master list of all the birthdays, graduations, and weddings, which are coming up this summer. Keep a copy with you so you can jot down gift ideas and have it handy when you are shopping
Weekend Project – Take one weekend, pick one project, (i.e. a closet, pantry or storage) and using the Clear & Simple Systems (see download below) organize the space. Then mentally let go of the rest and enjoy your summer.
Keep it simple, take a deep breath. Our favorite app for simple breathing and meditation is headspace.com
This summer was one of the greatest testimonies of how living with less gives us the opportunity to LIVE more. Kate Fehr
Nothing calls me back to the most joyous times of being a child like summertime. Vivid memories of waking up without alarm clocks, spending days in the pool with friends, and traveling through the mountain states are always front and center come May. Since I first became a mom, my desire has been to have lots of summer adventures with my son and let work simmer on the back burner. This, of course, is easier said than done.
When our minimalist journey began over 4 years ago, I had no idea just how powerfully it would support my deep desire of keeping our summers about play and connection. During those 2 years, and 25 layers, of releasing of stuff (we moved through lots of emotion too), I had no idea how this would set us free to really experience life!
This summer was one of the greatest testimonies of how owning less and doing less gives us the opportunity to LIVE more.
We spent four of the last five weekends in a row out of town, with the fifth weekend fully engaged in a 40th birthday celebration and a wedding. We were essentially not home for FIVE weekends in a row.
We spent 5 days in Idaho to experience the totality of the solar eclipse. My son even missed the first 2 days of school, which he was not excited about at first, but it was one of the more moving experiences of our lives and we are most grateful to have been there.
While we were away from home, whether traveling or just doing regular old things, we were able to be fully present with the people and activities we were experiencing.
My son and me goofing around in anticipation of the eclipse.
Because we live simply with less stuff and all of our stuff has easily-accessible homes:
Packing and unpacking is quick and easy. This makes preparing for trips stress-free and getting back into the swing of things a breeze.
We usually don’t have vacation hangovers from the stress of vacations.
Upon returning home one weekend much earlier than expected, I wanted more playtime. We got home, unpacked, started laundry, put everything away, and then had plenty of time to go to Snowbird for Oktoberfest and a hike.
There was a time when I spent SO much time, energy and money organizing, and re-organizing closets, drawers and our garage. Once I no longer had as much stuff, I was able to spend time on what matters most to me. None of it is worth all of the beautiful memories I have as a result of letting go.
Minimalism simply is about living with the things you truly use and that truly add value to your life. It’s a very personal experience and journey, one that I invite you to try out for yourself.
Write down the 3 MOST IMPORTANT to do’s of your day and let that be enough.
FREE is the word we hear the most when we ask our clients to share how they feel after getting organized! Getting free of the clutter and chaos allows you to have what you really want.
One of the most challenging areas to clear & organize is our calendar. We tend to pile on way more then we can possibly handle. And technology has only added to the overload. The stress of this eats away at our health and happiness.
Start by taking only 5 minutes at the start and end of each day to ask what are the 3 MOST IMPORTANT TASKS for your personal and work life – the ones that only you can do? Then write them done in a simple notebook, on a yellow pad, in your smart phone notebook or app (try Wunderlist), on a 3×5 card or even a Post-it note. At the end of the day, look back and celebrate getting those 3 things done! Or you will get to notice how you got distracted so you can practice again the next day.
This simple practice will help you discern what really needs your attention each day. Along with the sense of accomplishment for getting done what matters most to YOU!
“I am flying through the tops of the trees, held snugly by the padded bench and metal bar of the lift as it takes me up the mountainside. I inhale sweet high mountain air and look in awe at the majesty all around me. Wow, this is summer at it’s best. I am at the Sundance Resort in Utah only 50 minutes from my front door. And yet I have never done this!! Why did it take a dear friend’s visit to get me up here? Why have I never explored it on my own? I am opening to more adventure in my life this summer. And I am amazed at what is right around the corner.” Marla Dee
Jinny Ditzler of Best Year Yet wrote this lovely article titled “Want to Make This Summer the One You Finally Enjoy?” and we just had to share it with you.
…So here we are again in the first days of this blessed season. This year I’m determined to make the most of it. Here are last summer’s unkept promises, but this year these and more will happen because I’m going to stick my neck out and promise to give you a full report after it’s over.
Sit in my favorite garden chair and read every day, even if only for a bit.
Take a whole day to go for a hike in the mountains.
Once a week make a big cup of coffee, go to the park, and gaze at the sky.
Invite more people to enjoy simple meals by our pool.
But it’s not easy. Last Tuesday after a long weekend in Aspen to celebrate our 35th anniversary, I awoke filled with energy and happy to tackle my pile of tasks. Later feeling proud after a productive day, I found Tim swimming laps in the pool. I said, Well, somebody has the right idea ~ good for you! ~ but thought to myself, What’s wrong with this picture?
Instead of integrating the relaxation, blessings and love of the weekend into my first day back (as he had done) I spent most of the day at my desk, yet again intent on getting as much done as possible. In spite of the fact that one of my three Best Year Yet Guidelines this year is Enjoy life.
Summer is the most enlivening time, isn’t it? It’s so natural to want to slow down, contemplate, meditate, read, walk ~ and enjoy ourselves.
Let’s make the most of this time of renewal as the benefits are many:
Greater sense of inner calm
Increased fitness as we go outside and move
More clarity as we expand our horizons in these warmer, longer days
Time to read, think, learn and inspire
Peace that comes from enjoying each moment
Make a list of your summer promises.
Choose someone you’ll be accountable to.
Add one summer enjoyment action to your To Do List every day.
Above all I recommend that if you haven’t ever made a Best Year Yet® plan…
Marla Dee loving this summer in the mountains of Utah