Monday, August 7, 2017

Exit Summer, Enter Lists

According to, today is Beach Party Day. (It's also Particularly Preposterous Packaging Day, which I find much too funny).

Outside my window, it's cloudy and gray, which is just one of the reasons I'd much rather be at the beach (party or no party). But, alas, it's August.

August is list month.

Yes, I'm aware that it was August for much of last week, too, but last Monday, it was still July. I could still deny. Today, it is inarguably August. The calendar above my desk proclaims, "Today is going to be a great day!"

I might believe it if I were at the beach.

Nah. I still believe it. I'm one of those people who thinks it's up to me to decide how my day goes and, since it's August, that means lists.

Lists of things I need to do before the semester starts. Phone calls. Appointments. Shopping lists. Class planning.

You know. All the stuff I was supposed to be checking off those other lists all summer.

And I have been. But now it's time to take stock of what I have done and what I have left to do.

That first part is very important. It's all too easy to focus only on what remains to be done (a battle I fight every day, but am getting better at winning). When we do this, we lose heart, and the energy we need to attack the lists is depleted by guilt and frustration. If we've spent the summer exploring -- which, by definition, requires going off the path, taking detours and finding new possibilities -- it's easy to feel as though we haven't accomplished much.

Photo: Jules Roman via Pixabay
But we have. Or, at least I know I have. An hour of writing here, an hour of class planning there, an hour (broken up into fifteen minute increments) of nagging my daughter to create her back-to-school list.

So, as I sit down to create the lists that will create my road map for the next three weeks, I'm going to add one more list to the pile, one that evokes memories of September essays.

What I did on my summer vacation.

It might make me long for more of the same, but, hey. It's Beach Party Day. A vicarious celebration is better than none at all.

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