At the beginning of the summer I wrote a post about basking in the feeling of having survived the semester. To celebrate I came to the conclusion that one of the best things I can do for my own productivity, teaching, research, and (most importantly) personal health is to have a good summer.
Here are ten things that I did with mine. I …
- dabbled in some photography with an old DSLR camera and took photos around Tuscaloosa.
- played a lot of games—mainly Pokemon Go, Pokemon: The Trading Card Game, Pandemic, and Forbidden Island.
- did a lot of yard work so I could play some yard games like Bocce.
- checked out a fantasy-genre drawing book and drew a lot of giants, ogres, and dragons.
- closed down the public pool.
- did some trail running.
- tried “the special” at some restaurants.
- did some backyard grilling.
- hit the beach.
- started to re-read the Hobbit.
Some of the artsier things were new hobbies that I have always wanted to try.
The gaming and outdoor stuff was just a matter of deciding to do what I wanted to do.
Some may see this list as a pretty traditional list. But despite my first -world reality, I haven’t had the kind of lifestyle that lends itself to rest for myriad reasons. There’s a learning curve to relaxation.
One thing that surprised me was how good people can get at all of these things. I grew up in close proximity to a lot of people now at the top of their game. (The list would blow your mind.) And that is cool except for the part where competition became the default mode. Just being “okay” at something was reason enough to call it quits. That way you had more time to find out what you were really good at.
Since I don’t really subscribe any longer to that genius model of learning as a teacher, I’ve only come around to actually doing it myself. My summer top ten became a great way to work into this.
The last four items on this list probably don’t look like they require any sort of finesse, but I had the opportunity to talk with people who take these things very seriously. It was neat to appreciate the level of their commitment and appreciation without comparing it over and against my own drive. As a result I was free to be inspired to take chances and search a little longer for joy.
As I get into this semester, I’ve been thinking about how I might carry that into my daily doings. I’m not one to post on social media how much I read, write, run, or do anything. But I have enjoyed seeing what others do with their time, making me thing that perhaps there’s something worthwhile in sharing more of my own journey. The people I choose to follow most closely aren’t braggy so much as they are approachable. I wonder whether it reminds them, like a yearbook, not only that they had a good year but that they can still yet have a good year.
Maybe I can do this in reverse.
I had a good semester, so I’ll try to write my way to having yet another good semester.