O: Mooooom, slow down. You walk too fast. Why do we always have somewhere to be?
Summer is nearly upon us and I was making grand plans.
I have a tendency to make grand plans, aspirational, over-reaching plans. I love schedules, lists and graphs, but I don't alway love following them. Sitting with a lined legal pad, a sharpened pencil, a cup of coffee and a world of possibilities is one of my favorite things. Everything feels possible from that place. I like possible.
A friend shared her goals for the summer with me, and it got me thinking about how I set goals and measure my own success at reaching them. I will usually set a detailed (no joke: like by the hour) schedule and attempt to follow it and as soon as I miss one bench mark or time stamp, I will chuck the entire thing out the window, because my perfect plan has been sullied and is no longer viable. We will then proceed to spend the entire day in our pajamas, watching Frozen on a loop and counting the minutes until bedtime.
My friend's goals didn't need a time stamp or bench marks. They were big-picture goals about what she wanted for herself and her children. They were attainable, reasonable, and exciting. My list-making mind instantly saw the smaller steps that they needed to be dissected into, but the goals themselves were beautiful in their simplicity and focus: one for her alone-a commitment to her own physical health, one for her family-embarking on a creative project on behalf of her daughter that she would share with her husband, and one for her kids-to spend as much time as possible exploring our beautiful city. These clean, lovely goals instantly made me realize my own lack of focus, in spite of my color-coded graphs and charts.
So, following the rubric of my dear, and very wise friend, here are my summer goals: (I am not sure I will be able to resist the compulsion to schedule, graph and color code, but if I am at least working from a big-picture place, perhaps that will help.)
1. A goal for me: I want to begin making relationships with theaters closer to home. There is a lot of theatre in Los Angeles and I need to start putting in the time and energy to make relationships there, so that I can do more than one show a year and not kill myself with the Long Beach commute.
2. A goal for my family: A move away from our beloved screens. Frozen and Curious George have become a huge presence in our house over the past few months, and I am not apologizing for it, but I am excited to see a lot less TV time. As for Jim and me, we have both made a commitment to be more present and less plugged in this summer. We've been looking here for that inspiration and support: The Hands Free Mama.
3. A goal for O and P: Spend as much time outside as possible, recognizing that our adventures don't have to be grand in order to be exhilarating.
It is a place to start. I will still use my giant blackboard wall calendar in my kitchen. I will still draw out schedules on those legal pads. I'm not sure I know how to stop myself, but I will also try to forgive when I fall short, to pick-up and carry on where we left off, instead of chucking my well-meaning plans out the window.
I can't wait for summer. I am replacing my grand plans with trips to the beach, playdates, and days with no schedules, where I will say yes as much as possible, slow down, and try to quiet my own mind when P wants to spend twenty minutes talking to a leaf or O wants to take pictures of some flowers. I can't wait.