Thursday, September 1, 2011

227 of 365: What Summer has taught me about Being Happy

September 1st.  Summer is winding to a close in my part of the world, the weather is changing, nights are getting colder and the daytime breeze stronger.  The sun is still shining though, and this is probably my favourite time of the summer.  Sadly though, the warm weather will soon be over and it won't be long before we are swept away with trying to keep up with hectic schedules. 

This summer, I spent a lot of time up north visiting my family, hiking, swimming, and sitting around campfires.  I also had the opportunity to go camping as part of my work, which although was on work time, it turned out to be a sort of mini-vacation for myself.  I went on long hikes in the woods.  I swam and splashed in the lake with children and we floated on our backs and watched the clouds drift by above us.  We went canoeing and tipped our canoe over because we couldn't sit still from laughing so hard.  We huddled together in our tents at night when the wolves started to howl on the full moon, and we played cards until the batteries in our flashlights died.  We laid in the grass at night and looked up at a sky that was so clear it looked like we could just reach up and touch the stars.

I want to hold onto that feeling and I wish summer didn't have to end.

On my way to work this morning, I realized that although summer is coming to a close, I can still capture it's essence throughout the rest of the year.  As much as summer is about enjoying the sun and  the outdoors, I think it is more about slowing down and enjoying authentic moments in our lives.  You know, those rare occasions when your mind is not going a mile a minute, you're not checking your Twitter stream or emails, texting, doing ten things all at once, or rushing to that next appointment.  The essence of summer is really all about slowing down, being Present and having fun. 

I want more moments where I am genuinely present to really experience Life instead of just rushing through it.  I have always believed that Life is not something that  just happens to you, it moves through you and if you aren't paying attention you can miss those small yet wonderful junctures of pure happiness where all seems right in the world.   I may have missed a lot in the past because I was too busy, but the good news is that I can start right now to change that.

So now that September is here, I am making a promise to myself to keep the lessons of summer close and remind myself to SLOW DOWN once in awhile.  In the midst of all the errands, the school days, the parent council meetings, swimming lessons, dentist appointments, and oh yeah, my full-time job, I want to chill out and enjoy the moment. 

My autumn resolutions:
  • spend quality time with my friends more often - in SL and RL
  • have more real and meaningful conversations that make me feel fulfilled
  • play with my kids more
  • make time for romance with my husband
  • go for more walks, in all seasons
  • go for bike rides for as long as possible, until the snow comes
  • get out and see art exhibits and get inspired
  • share a meal with other families at the community centre in my neighbourhood
  • go to the library and sign out new books every week for bedtime stories with my kids
  • call my mom more often
  • get immersed in a really good book, movie or television series
  • write more
  • say 'thank you' and 'i love you' as often as I can
  • do things that make me  HAPPY
School starts next week and it won't be long before my agenda book fills up and the inevitable "chase" begins.  But I'm pretty confident that I can make space in my Life for everything on my list, and then some.  I can do it all.  All I have to do is be present in each and every moment, and remember that being happy is not a destination or something that I have to work hard to achieve.  Happiness is right there at the tip of my fingertips, right within my reach.  All I have to do is slow down, chill out, and enjoy it.

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