May is always a hectic month at the office. With the late nights and constant work stimulation, my desk has suffered in the neatness department. I lamented the mess of papers that had taken over my Monday-through-Friday home. But the other day, as I tried to make sense of the clutter that surrounded my keyboard, my supervisor, Senior Editor Stacy Dermont, reminded me of a quote by Einstein: “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”
I appreciated her validation of my habits and gave myself permission to give myself a break, at least until after Memorial Day Weekend.
I’m not always such a mess, especially in the summertime. Growing up, I didn’t make New Year’s resolutions the way I made summer resolutions. As the end of the school year approached, I would sit down and diligently map out a plan for making the most of the warm weather and classroom-free months. Once, I opted to learn to skateboard—my attempt to be cool—and by Labor Day Weekend, I could make it down the curved hill of my driveway. Another time, I vowed to jump in the pool or ocean every day of the summer. I’m sure my parents appreciated my commitment to my goals when we were visiting my grandparents and I insisted on jumping in their pool during a rainstorm.
Looking back, these goals had very little to do with improving something about myself, and they instead had everything to do with constantly pursuing something I loved. As I get older, goal-setting has become the opposite phenomenon—a stressful exercise to achieve traditional life benchmarks.
On Monday, my coworkers made fun of me because I announced that I had graduated Wake Forest five years ago, to the day. Apparently no one else remembers graduation as vividly—or has Facebook to remind them of the occasion. I’m still very much in touch with a lot of aspects about college—friends, people in the athletic department, the homecoming committee, but I like to think that I’ve changed as well. As they say, “the days are long, but the years are short.”
So, as summer 2015 approaches, I’m channeling my younger self. I’m goal-setting for the sake of having fun, because I’ve long believed that when you’re pursuing your passions, everything else just falls into place. Truly the best part of living out here is the summertime, when the long days provide ample time to be outside—running, stand-up paddleboarding, yoga, attempting to surf, hosting barbecues, walking barefoot in the sand. My goal for summer 2015 is to take advantage as much as possible, and also to hold myself accountable by, of course, writing things down. I want to achieve a balance between moving forward and also living in the moment.
As I was cleaning my apartment the other day—I’ve decided that to focus on fun, I still need to be able to find things like my yoga mat and sneakers—I came across a small notebook. It’s brown with colorful lettering spelling out “Things to Do.” It’s now on my nightstand, ready for me to write and then cross off dreams and ideas. I’ve already filled the first line—begin training for the Philadelphia Marathon.
Because, in the words of John Mayer’s song “Wildfire,” “A little bit of summer is what the whole year’s all about.”