Dumping the Summer Bucket List

Back in May I made a summer bucket list. Knowing how full our life is I didn’t crowd it with unrealistic expectations but things I truly felt could be accomplished this summer. Things like strawberry picking, hunting down waterfalls on the north shore while at the cabin, a 5K, and a list of books I would like to read. It is August now and I was reviewing the list last weekend and realized I hadn’t done any of them and with school around the corner I didn’t see them getting done. Missed strawberry picking season, have visited 2 of the 7 waterfalls on my list and am less than half way through one of the 5 books I intended to read this summer. (I did read one not on my list.) And we won’t talk about my completely inconsistent running schedule. If you can even call it a schedule.

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I was organizing several other lists that were floating around regarding work and goals last weekend. Putting them in notebooks, updating the plans, etc. My summer bucket list kept moving from pile to pile as I worked my way around. Finally it was the only sheet of paper left and I had to admit I would not be accomplishing this list in the next month. Rather than save it I decided to abandon my summer bucket list all together and move on. Sometimes you have to embrace the reality instead of trying to create the dream.

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It isn’t that I haven’t done anything this summer but what I thought the summer would look like in May, what I always think the summer will look like in May, is not how it turned out.

In May I always think I am going to structure my work schedule to be home a little more. When I am not working we (as some happy little family) are going to be exploring the beauty of nature, going to the cabin, taking long runs and reading good books while lounging on the patio.

The reality is that John and my work schedules dictate our life more than we want to admit. Our pre-teen daughter would rather not hang with us as she has discovered her and her friends are old enough now to walk to each other’s homes or hang out at the park. So the squad, as I like to call them, pretty much goes from home to park to next home all day every day. They all end up in our living room at some point most days. We love it but it isn’t really family time. And in the small condo I find myself hiding in my bedroom rather than lounging on the patio. Since she walks around 3-5 miles every day with friends she doesn’t really think she needs to go on additional runs with me.

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So what did we do this summer? Not much really. Only a couple trips up to the cabin but they were relaxing and fun. We discovered Isabelle comes alive at 10pm and if we can stay awake for it we learn all about her day, her life, her friends, her thoughts. We successfully balanced work, family, friends, and marriage. Something that I don’t know I would have said of previous summers since returning to work. It has looked a little less organized than I would have liked but we are getting there. And it didn’t have as many adventures as I dreamed of but our day to day life is full of excitement and fun and joy. What more do we need?

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I can pretty much guarantee you next May I will create another summer bucket list and dream of a summer that looks more like my responsibility free childhood summers than a working mom summer. And we probably won’t get everything done on that list either. But we will still have fun, be happy and enjoy another glorious Minnesota summer. Just like we are doing this summer.

Three more weeks until school starts. My current list involves school shopping, the state fair, a trip to the cabin and a plenty of space for whatever comes our way between now and then.

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