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The Friday Life Edit: In pursuit of Real
Happy Friday! It’s good to see you back here. Let’s kick off the holiday weekend together.
I wrote the ‘Summertime Musings’ post below as last summer was getting underway. Writing a similar post this summer has been hard to come by. I don’t want The Life Edit to be the ‘ranting about technology edit.’ I happen to enjoy technology, but it seems more like an intruder during the summertime than any other time of year. Who can sit in a grey cubicle under fluorescent lights and talk about Chat GPT when there’s a thunderstorm ripening, strawberries turning deep red, flowerbeds in full bloom?
So much emphasis now seems to be on perfecting artificiality. Better chat bots. A perfectly curated social presence. Strawberry flavoring ripe with Red 40. In the season when everything in nature is fully alive, it’s a jarring contrast.
We’ve been trying to spend as much time offline as possible this summer, so we can just get out and enjoy. Last weekend, we managed to turn a public sculpture into a playground. (It was totally legal and no artwork was harmed.) It was a simple thing, followed by a walk around the nearby pond, but I keep thinking about it. My daughter already watches more YouTube Kids than I’d really prefer, and as she goes through school, her life and career are going to be shaped by things like fake chat bots in ways we can’t yet imagine.
My hope is to be more intentional this summer about providing moments like our summertime sculpture walk. Time that’s only about connection with each other and with the tangible.
Summertime Musings (repost from May 2022)
It’s unofficially officially summer. I have to be honest - summer is not my favorite season. It’s only been within the last few years that summer’s charms have grown on me. As a small Type A that grew up into a bigger Type A, being off school was nice, but not the end-all, be-all of life. Although my husband and I both work year round, as our daughter has entered elementary school, it’s been more fun to have her off school for the summer than it was to have been off school myself.
Experiencing summer with my daughter is a great deal like giving a gift. Despite it not being my favorite season growing up, I have thousands of memories of wonderful summers. My family traveled quite a bit in the summertime. On Hilton Head Island, we ate fresh mussels at a paper-covered table overlooking the sea. I learned the art of dressing for tennis much better than I learned the actual game of tennis. My brother and I were allowed to ride our bikes to the general store for tiny cups of Ben and Jerry’s. In Vermont, we enjoyed exploring a Waitsfield free of the skiing tourists that usually crowded the shops and lunch spots. The town held a flea market in an open field, and Green Mountain Coffee was still just a local place to get lattes!
At home, we grew strawberries and roses and herbs. Living toward the western edge of the Eastern time zone, we sometimes had light until almost 10 p.m., the perfect thing for late evenings swinging and catching fireflies.
I keep thinking that my daughter will grow up and sit at a computer one day and write about all the things we’re doing now. Considering how frequently I hear ‘now take a picture of me,’ she’ll probably have a blog or a social media presence of some kind. It’s exciting to think that everything that’s happening now - school and her friends and the adventures we embark on together - will be part of the life story she tells her own children.
It’s also a bit daunting to think that she’ll always remember these things. As an aforementioned Type A, I’m fighting my impulse to try to make everything perfect. The real magic is not in staging everything. I’m shoving Type A aside to let the summertime unfold into its golden evenings and blueberry fingers and firefly jars.
And sleeping in. Even the Type A is always happy to sleep in.