At the end of the two months, my fellow teachers wander back onto campus looking freaking radiant, with stories of all they have seen and done, and when they turn to ask me how I spent the summer, I try to find an exciting way of turning mutterings like "couch...sleep...dog...never brushed my hair once..." into something that doesn't make them regret asking me such a loaded question.
Making a list of goals for the summer will not necessarily improve my answer to the agonizing question when it comes, but it will help me to be a bit more...centered...and to make the most of the gift of these sweet days. This isn't a "to do" list. It's a "do it if you feel like it, and maybe try to feel like it, if you feel like trying to feel like it" list.
1. De-clutter. This is going to be really difficult for me, as I sentimentalize every freaking thing or refuse to acknowledge that it has exhausted its possibilities. That piece of paper that I used to prevent spray ink from getting all over my desk? I could use that on a future project, I'm sure. Into the scrap bin it goes! That stack of partially used composition books that has accumulated over the past twenty years? I might need something from one of them. What if someone needs the agenda from that one faculty meeting ten years ago at that school where I no longer teach? You never know...
2. Garden. My yard is a wild, wild place, where everything is verdant and thriving and entangled and beautifully terrifying, and this is all because I don't really touch anything. I want to learn how to tend to the plants in my yard so that they don't eat my house -- kind of like Morticia Addams and her killer plants. I also want even more color in the yard. I may be a little too ambitious with this goal. Last week, I purchased two flowering plants from Walmart's garden section. One was an annual, and it's already on its way out -- within days, the leaves lightened and the flowers started drooping, despite me not overwatering it and placing it in a shady area, as the instructions said. The other one, a lovely anthurium, is still alive, for now. I really want it to live. I'm trying not to get attached.
3. Paint. Just typing those five letters made me laugh five times with some choking noises between each typed letter. Me, paint? Umm, on paper, suuuuure. On walls? Cue the choke-laughing again. I'm going to start small, with a hallway that doesn't get much light and is kind of dreary because it is painted a dark gray. I don't even know where to begin, honestly. With wiping down the walls and using primer of some kind, I'm sure. Maybe I should research this more. Or I could just paste cardstock all over the hallway and work with that instead.
4. Notice. I'm going to let Mary Oliver explain this one: "Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it." I will NOT spend my summer staring at screens. I will NOT spend my summer staring at screens. I will NOT spend my summer starting at screens.
5. Create. This is the time of year when I feel most free and most creative. The world is color-rich and so much seems possible. Every single day, I will create something, whether that is a scrapbooking project, a poem, or even a dish in the kitchen. So far, so good! I've been keeping up with the ICAD (Index-Card-a-Day) challenge for three entire days now. Only 58 to go!
6. Read. Throughout the year, I have stockpiled "break books," books that I read just for me, on my terms, at my leisure, no lesson plans or assessments required. I want to choose reading as often as I can.
I think I'll stop there. I have a lot to do and need to get started! Suddenly, I really want to add one more:
Note that I did not agree to brush my hair this summer.