In years past, as the days get hotter, I get excited about grilling all sorts of adventurous things (and then usually don’t), bedtimes extend until the sun sets later and later and we think about all the events we should schedule over the next few months while maintaining a steady stream of downtime, I have often turned to making a list of summer goals, at once whimsical and logical. Some about getting things done, some about ensuring I make time for fun, superfluous experiences.
I’ve skipped it in recent years, not on purpose, but probably because there was a lot going on, I was immersed in other, different sets of goals, or just that summer was already coursing full blast through our systems and our non-air-conditioned rooms before I really thought about it.
This year, though, my household is going through a very goal-y period, and I started thinking about making a list again. Gabe’s joined J in his love of birding and the two of them are trying to get us all to do a “big month,” seeing as many species as we can throughout June (don’t tell them but I’m not sure I can convince myself to take on this endeavor). Both older kids proclaimed they want to read 50 books this summer (50?! what?!) and we’ve already put a number of items on the calendar: trips and concerts, a family wedding and get togethers with friends, all of which I’m really looking forward to, prompting me to think about the possibilities attached to each one. Because as I’ve said before, when you’re making a list like this - for fun - it’s ok to put stuff you already know you’re going to do. I mean, with “finish Ulysses” a contender for years now, I need a little headstart on this thing.
I started thinking up ideas immediately. Food I’ve been craving made me want to visit the Long Wharf taco trucks (again) and make a date to get dim sum some weekend afternoon. The fact that Nora tends to be far less picky when she helps me cook prompted me to think about doing it with her more often (while Gabe suggested the goal about he and I making an exciting meal together, as he loves coming up with inventive and sometimes questionable culinary creations). I decided to reach and put “meditate every day” even though…every day!? good luck!…because “Wherever You Go There You Are” had such a big impact on me but I’ve let the impact slide, and put the goal about exercising, which I’m not doing as much as I’d like, but added the “most,” because while I really do feel better when I start the day with some - any - movement, hey, it’s summer. Visit Canada and see live music outside because those are some of those already-planned items, but it still feels good to put them down in writing; something to look forward to, and plan. Some I’ll complete and some probably not, but I’ll have a guide to look to when a few free hours present themselves.
Make rice krispies treats with the kids because - hold up - I have never made rice krispies treats with my kids before. Please be gentle in your judgment of this oversight.
That last one especially made me think about the strangeness of coming up with goals like this when there are so many serious issues to fight and consider in the world. Not that the world has ever been a completely sane place but…make rice krispies treats? Seriously? When there are cultural and political problems that seem so insurmountable, but could obviously use some surmounting on my part?
And I guess my answer - although I feel I lack the proper words to say it gracefully - is…yeah. Work towards a better world, and make marshmallow concoctions with my children. Look for the goodness everywhere and look for it right in front of you.
However, I did also decide to put a few more serious goals on the list with this in mind. I wish I could be the kind of person who simply does these more serious things as part of her nature, but the truth is I’m much more likely to take part in a march or rally - something I believe is important and meaningful - if I make a point of saying out loud that I want to do it.
That’s what it’s all about really: saying out loud that I want to do it, to all of you, so you can hold me accountable. And maybe (please?!) so you can come along for some of the ride.
pick fruit at a farm
drink a local beer in Rhode Island
learn to sail (at least a little)
take a trip to Canada
have ice cream at Wentworth in Hamden
visit the Long Wharf taco trucks
read a book about climate change
eat lobster with an old friend
hear live music outside
meditate every day
jump in the ocean
cook with Nora
exercise (most) weekdays
go on a stroll through Boothbay Harbor like my dad used to do
work on a book of essays
declutter the attic
plan and make an exciting meal with Gabe
attend a rally or march
get dim sum
run the New Haven road race
walk on the rocks with Maisie
make rice krispies treats with my kids
have an ice cold martini with J
get the podcast going (KATE!)
grill something adventurous
paint the front door a different color