Long, languid days at the beach. Stunning sunsets across the lake. Exquisite alfresco meals and refreshing cocktails. Summer is the stuff dreams are made of. But what if your summer dream isn’t so dreamy? Or the plan doesn’t quite get executed as perfectly as in your dream?
We haven’t experienced this much pressure and expectation since Christmas. You remember Christmas – the beautiful Norman Rockwell image that in real life looks more like a gong show?
In Canada we anticipate summer with a sort of freakishly perverse longing. We fantasize not having to load on layers of clothing and outerwear before stepping outside. We anticipate the season when cold winds won’t sting our eyes. We can’t wait to sit outside on a dock or a deck or a porch or patio.
I love summer. Parts of it. And other parts… not so much. This has definitely been the Plan B summer in our household. My partner and I had a romantic camping trip for two at the breath taking Killarney Provincial Park , site of much of the famous Group of Seven paintings. It was breathtaking. Some of Canada’s most beautiful scenery. It was amazing – for 24h. A call from Max’s overnight camp required an emergency trip to Sick Kids for a serious infection. Next camping trip we hit the epic 48hour hatching of shad flies – swarms so dense they showed up on weather radars, gross is an understatement. There’s been sunburns and simmers ear. Fruit flies, mosquito bites, and poison ivy. I assure you, THIS was not part of Plan A.
It’s not just camping either – it’s sticky days in the city of high humidity, kids bickering, house in turmoil, structure and schedules thrown off. In short, we’re in a flap and there’s pandemonium. Cranky pandemonium. I hear it in my practice and witness it in hot, tired parents trying to wrangle hot tired kids in my neighbourhood.
The good news is, there’s a fix for this. I call it Lowering the Bar and Chucking Expectations. Maybe today, all we’ll do is eat popsicles under the fan. We’ll skip the road trip to the farmer’s market and order in Thai. More movies, less organizing. Some work tasks will have to slide to the new Summer Timeline. Blog posts will be half length. If you need some help figuring out what this looks like, here’s some inspiration in this wonderful snapshot of a 1970’s summer.
Sayonara standards. Hello ease.