By B. Lynn Goodwin.
Memorial Day has come and gone. Families had picnics, went swimming, went boating, played ball, and ate too much potato salad and ice cream. Right?
If that picture doesn’t match your day, you’re probably not alone. Some people had a front-row seat as the President lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Have you lost a family member in one of the wars? Do you honor him on Memorial Day or every day?
Some people spent the day in a tollbooth or a ticket booth. Others stood behind the counter at 7-Eleven, or waited on customers at Denny’s. Was that you? Maybe you were one of the policemen who helped with crowd control at the concert, or maybe you were on stage with your guitar.
No matter what you did, you were a part of the ritual of anticipating summer. There’s something about the longer evenings, the school year drawing to a close, graduations, summer jobs, and freer days and nights that sets imaginations soaring. And of course your perspective changes when your children mature and your family dynamics change.
Years ago I spent two summers in high school programs held on college campuses. I loved the taste of freedom I got, and I began my own dreams about life after high school.
Two summers I went to camp. At the end of my second summer, I fell off a horse and shattered my arm. I spent the summer in a cast with my fingers in traction and imagined what life would be like when I was fully mobile again.
Ten years later, I was part counselor, part psychiatrist, and part drama coach for two summers in two different Girl Scout Camps. I did shows that featured as many campers as possible. Drama, a team sport for non-athletes, let people try on roles and dream about their futures. My campers and I inspired each other.
One summer about ten years later, I wrote a YA novel about a group of high school students rehearsing a musical and the behind-the-scenes drama caused by the seniors who were drinking. I was a high school drama teacher at the time. I never found a publisher. Now that I know how to make it fuller and richer, maybe it will find a home outside my computer.
So, now I ask:
- What are your plans for this summer?
- What do you want for yourself and your family?
- Will you find a new job, finish a book that sits on your nightstand, find an hour a day to write about your life, sit on your porch and watch the sunset, or listen closely and hear what your family says?
- Will you get a job, get a new job, or volunteer?
- Will you drive around in a convertible at sunset wondering where your youth has gone?
- Will you survive or will you thrive?
If you list three goals for this summer, they’ll become real. If you set up steps to achieve them, you can keep track of your progress. And because these are personal plans, you can revise them whenever you like.
Remember, you don’t quit until you stop trying.
What are your goals for the summer of 2012? We’d love to hear your plans, hopes, and dreams. Post them here or, if you prefer, send them to me privately at [email protected].
Photo Credit: Gail Lynne Goodwin