New Summer, New Freedom

Photo by Pedro Szekely
Photo by Pedro Szekely

I miss that “school’s out” feeling. You remember the one. It began to wash over you the morning you awoke on that last day of school and slowly settled in and warmed your whole body as the day progressed. Everyone was abuzz with excitement and relief, even the teachers, and as you walked off campus for the last time that year, there seemed to only be possibilities. Somehow with that final bell you were more free than you had been since you could remember. When that bell rung, time ceased to exist and summer began.

And summer. Ahhhh, summer. Each day unfolding without a purpose or a plan. Sure, commitments crept in here or there, especially as I got older, but that didn’t matter. The bulk of the day and evening were wide open. The only thing that mattered was having fun. What happened next was determined by following a trail of whimsy and curiosity.

Sure, this is a romantic remembrance, but it’s that essence that I’ve been thinking about lately. I miss it. I work hard every day to accept what is and try to focus on staying in the present moment, but when I fail, lately, this is what I’ve thought about. I see my kids going through it now and hope they are enjoying being out of school and hope they are experiencing their own personal freedoms this summer. I want to provide some constructive activities for them this summer—like music lessons, playing outside, and art projects—but I also remind them that their only “real” responsibility this summer is to play, relax, and have fun.

And maybe that’s the thing I need to remember: playing and relaxing are real responsibilities and I don’t take them nearly as seriously as I should. It can be fun to remember summers past and the freedom of youth, but I don’t get to have that “school’s out” feeling anymore. I do get to choose if I feel free or not and even though I have a lot of responsibilities, as an adult, I have a lot of choice, and that’s where my freedom lies.