Summer in March

For as long as I can remember, while other people have looked forward to summer, I’ve dreaded them. Why? Because summer asks you to go off of the schedule and find something else to do. I’ve worked all year to get my schedule just where I wanted it – the perfect – if not a bit busy – combination of rehearsals, lessons, classes, and social life.

Then summer comes and everything goes to shit

My life has been on a pretty OK path for a while – high school, college, interim, grad school. The summers always messed me up, though. This is where you had to reach beyond what someone had laid out for you and pick your own path. In high school, it was various camps and programs. In college, internships and other things. In the real world, professional development and conferences. And now, in grad school, internships, teaching, fellowships, and whatever else can be dragged together.

Everyone seemed to have gotten this message a long time ago, and I just missed it.

I never did a whole lot in my summers in college; they were usually for coming home, spending time with my girlfriend, and decompressing from whatever crazy year I’d had. Everyone else was doing internships with J P Chase Morgan Sachs or saving babies in Malawi. Me? I watching cartoons, slept till noon, and bitched about how I couldn’t wait for school to start up again.

Did I mention I’m not good with large swaths of free time?

We’re coming upon another summer, and I have nothing set up. No classes to teach, no groups to play in. I’m going to hit May, and it’s just going to be this wide expanse of nothingness until September. I’ll make some grand claims about what I’ll do – I may even has a list! A list with all of the things I’m supposed to do!

  1. Clean the office!
  2. Practice bassoon more!
  3. Make reeds!
  4. Write a novel!
  5. Research!

The exclamation points make them more real.

In the end, though, here’s what I’ll accomplish over the summer.

  1. Spend Lovely Wife’s money!
  2. Watch Netflix!
  3. Not go outside!
  4. Be depressed!
  5. Mope!

Yeah, you can bet I’m looking forward to that. It happens every time when I have a large stretch of time without structure. And for those of you saying, “Well, then, impose structure! Have a wake up time! Make yourself feel like you have something to do!” It doesn’t work. I’m not wired that way, for whatever reason. I can’t trick myself into things like this. I’m a clever bastard, even when I don’t want to be.

Be dumber, Brain! Fall for my metacognitive techniques!

I don’t know what I’ll be doing this summer. I’m never quite “OK” with that, but for some reason, it’s sitting rather poorly with me this year. I want to accomplish so much, yet I get that sinking feeling that I’ll accomplish nothing.

In the sense of needing an accomplishment, I’m going to declare that if I get through my entire On Demand queue on Netflix, the summer is a win.


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