Summer 2016

Today is June 3 and I’m already feeling panic and dread over how the days are slipping through my fingers, despite my attempts to grasp at moments in hopes of bending the space-time continuum to add more time to each day.

This was my first real week of summer break, and I broke it in quite nicely. Spent time with friends Monday and Tuesday, then took my nieces exploring in western Nebraska for a couple of days (that trip will get its own post). And just like that, a week is gone.

I have a list of things I want to do this summer, like I do every summer. Last summer, every day had to be planned out to finish grad classes, a fellowship, and a family reunion. This summer lacks that rigidity–a blessing and a curse. A blessing because it grants freedom to stay in bed reading until 10 or 11 a.m. A curse because it grants freedom to binge-watch all of the TV on Netflix and Hulu.

I’m taking tomorrow to unpack, clean, and plan at least the next two weeks. Because while I always want to relax and have a little fun during the summer, I also want to be able to quantify how I spent my time.

Fun, short video about how I will spend some of my time this summer. My list was so long that much of it ended up on the cutting room floor. 


It starts innocently enough: I launch my Twitter app.

This is how I get most of my news these days, to be honest. I follow a variety of journalists from varying points on the political spectrum, as well as academics and politicians. But it can get bleak quite quickly.

Like this morning, when I read several pieces about Donald Trump before 10 a.m., and all I could think was, “this is what Suzanne Collins would write in a prequel to ‘The Hunger Games.'”

So I hop over to Facebook where life can be a bit more pleasant, until I go into one of the groups that, yes I asked to be part of, only to read complaint after complaint about everything from road construction to graduation ceremonies, and all I could think was, “Does anyone know how to be happy anymore?”

I spent most of my day today with a friend and her two sons, driving 90 minutes to Homestead National Monument. We took our time there. Watched a film about homesteaders. Looked at the museum. Ate lunches that we packed. Hiked a swampy, boggy trail to the education center. Looked at duct tape art. Visited a one-room schoolhouse. Stopped for a treat, then drove home.

I did check my email a couple of times, as I was hoping for an answer to a tech question before close of business, and I posted a photo to Instagram. But I shot most of the photos of the day with a Canon T5 and stayed away from Twitter and Facebook. It was a wonderful day, unencumbered by vitriol and dread.

When I got home, after checking for ticks, showering, and eating dinner, I opened Twitter and Facebook again, saw more of the same anger that I saw this morning, and all I could think was, “Maybe if we spent more time in nature, more in-person time with friends, more time away from social media, maybe we wouldn’t be as angry.”

It’s worth a shot, right?