The kids began to sleep better – and longer – at the lake house than in their own beds. This, my friends, marks success. What. A. Summer. 

Most people can only dream of experiencing a summer like our family did these past few months. We floated from here to there, and most of the time “there” was a lake with family and friends. We made a few ventures to new places, but mostly relaxed and enjoyed the view. The days we stayed home brought much-needed catch up time for school work and laundry, not to mention making the upkeep of a pool worth it.

I’ve been blessed / lucky / fortunate to work for a company that places flexibility as a core value and actually follows through on making it happen for employees. I joked with a few cousins about taking off six weeks in the summer and they laughed. For most companies, that just doesn’t happen. Granted, my leave was unpaid – as it should be – but my absence required slight reorganization on my account and a new way of scheduling some hours. My leaving meant work for someone. 
JJ’s first day of school draws closer at a pace much faster than we would like. But as we suck dry the last few precious weeks of summer, I’ve been more reflective of my time. Here’s what I’ve come to understand.

  • Not working is expensive. Not just for lack of income, but because you end up spending your time doing something, and even those “free” outings eventually cost money, even if just in gas – our #1 expense for the month of June. 
  • I won’t take this opportunity for granted. I joke about our lack of working in this house, but should probably be more sensitive to those who wish they could take time off and authentically unplug. I checked my work email for my first 5 days of leave and now I check it about every other week. Mostly to delete and make sure I don’t get locked out of OWA. 
  • The time together has improved my marriage. JJ and I typically get along great, but as years multiply it can become easier to co-exist rather than allowing your marriage to flourish. Responsibilities and bills and kids screaming that they’re hungry get in the way of making marriage your numero uno. By significantly decreasing the stress level for our entire household, we were able to do that again. 
  • I’m not sure how much time I have left in corporate America. I’ve put together the paperwork to return (hopefully not until the end of September, if it all comes together), and my current employer will have me for a while longer – No fear, Emily! But on the whole, I’m not built for clock punching. I’ve always known this. I belong a legacy of people who create their own work as an outflow of who they are and I’ve not been honest to that standard. I’ve got a few ventures rolling around in this little brain of mine, things I can begin while still giving hours to the day job. That’s what they say, right? “Don’t quit your day job?” This summer hiatus definitely prevented me quitting the day job with no plan in place. 
  • But I need pushed to follow through. Jump. Try. Ask. 
  • Using the summer to try to get my feet wet didn’t work out because, well, I was never home. I ended up having less hours to write than before, an unforeseen circumstance (Because who wants to be inside at a computer when everyone’s by the lake?). I’ve blogged more and developed 2 ideas I’d like to work on a bit harder, after some research. So my time this summer wasn’t a waste of writing – you just can’t buy the book. 
I’m not sure how to replicate this summer, but JJ and I agree that we want to try again next year, and every summer thereafter. It’s been too valuable for us to simply not try. And instead of wishing and hoping, we’ve decided to look at it as one of our goals, asking “what do we need to do to get there?” No answers yet, but we’ve got another year or so to figure that out.

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