drifting along

Our school year ended the Friday before Memorial Day, but I have had days of training for a newly adopted reading series, reading assessments for a summer mission program, and planning with teachers at our school. Plus, I have been anxious for our son to find his first job and begin his civil engineering career. Combine all that with unseasonably cool and rainy weather, and it is just now starting to feel like summer. Yikes! Already several weeks of this precious time have passed, and I am feeling a little unmoored, drifting around, with no clear aim or target in sight.

This wonderful week I am at the beach with my family. We dedicate this week to doing as little as possible, and only what we choose to do right at the present moment. No planning ahead, no mapping out time. Here’s a quote from a book I have just finished reading:

here would seem to be nothing more obvious,

                more tangible and palpable than the present moment… – Milan Kundera

And so, as I sit happily on my beach chair and watch the waves drift in and out, enjoying this break from reality and soaking in the relaxation and rejuvenating moments,  I am reminded of setting my course for the rest of the summer. Since it IS summer, my goals need to be fluid and general, but purposeful at the same time. The alliteration will help me remember where I want to focus my thinking and my actions. Here’s my list, with brief explanations and reminders for me.

  1. CREATIVITY – making the time to write, paint, do calligraphy, collage, learning about color that brightens my artwork, my home, and my thinking
  2. CONSISTENCY – finding a rhythm for eating and cooking better, more exercise, effective time management, and communication – keeping in touch with friends and family
  3. CLARITY – focusing my thoughts on what remains of my career, what comes after retirement, and wise uses of resources

Now I feel better about enjoying the rest of this much needed respite week, and living in the moment, where real life truly resides. Plus I look forward to what’s to come when I am back home, in the midst of this brief summer.

What is capturing your heart this time of year?

a mixed bag at the grocery store

One recent morning I went to the grocery to get some items I needed for school. I was in a rush, of course, but no so much that I didn’t stop and notice an act of thoughtfulness as I pulled in. Another hurried woman was walking briskly to her car and a young clerk was running after her. It looked like she had left a bag of purchases in the store and he was making sure she didn’t leave without it.  I smiled as I scurried inside.

It was easy to make fast work of things in the almost deserted store, but as I came up the last aisle into an open space I had to swerve to avoid a man circling his stationary cart. He was speaking loudly, in a foreign language, into his cell phone. He seemed oblivious to me, yet he was constantly looking around the store as he got louder and louder. It was not an angry tone as much as a determined one. I scooted on past, anxious to put him behind me.

That time of the morning only the self-checkout lanes are open. I had purchased a few produce items, so it took me a while to scan them correctly. I noticed that the employees never looked at me, almost as if they were thinking “Don’t make eye contact and we won’t have to help.” They were engaged in friendly banter with one another, seemingly there for the social aspect much more so than the business obligations. No one even said “Thank you,” or “Have a good day,” as I left, annoyed, and wondering what their purpose in being there really was.

Again in the parking lot my outlook was uplifted by a young clerk, a girl this time, helping an older man out to his car. He only had two bags, but was having some difficulty walking, and seemed to be relishing his cheery conversation with this young lady. Thanks to her kindness, I forgot my annoyance and headed home with a better outlook on the day ahead.