Do you long for the lazy, sun drenched, slow summer days of your childhood? When the days felt long and evenings were filled with fireflies and strawberry shortcake? The days were leisurely, but they were lived.
The last few years, I’ve been trying to re-create those childhood summers for my daughter. And although she seems to be having fun, there is some part of it that just doesn’t feel the same to me. I can’t quite relax and sink into summer. I feel tense and uptight, distracted. There’s always one more chore to be done, one more bill to pay, or some last minute thing that we need from the grocery store.
I tell myself life is different now. I’m an adult with a full time job, a child, a mortgage, and a house to clean. There are too many responsibilities and not enough time or energy. Magical summers are reserved for children and childhood.
But that’s not really true. It’s simply harder to get into the right mindset. Just like some families go on a digital detox from technology, so too can a break from air conditioning be refreshing for the family soul.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “there’s no way I’m going without air!” But just hang in there with me for a minute.
As a child, we never had air conditioning, not even in our car. When my husband and I purchased our home with central air I felt like the Queen Bee. I vowed I would never again live without air conditioning.
Rewind to last week. Our central air broke in the middle of a ninety degree heat wave. We called around but no one could fix it anytime soon. We were sweaty and miserable.
Yet here I was, standing in a hot, humid, house when all of a sudden the summers of my childhood came flooding back to me. Our senses bypass the logical part of our brain and send signals straight to the area that is responsible for our memories and emotions.
I could literally feel the memories; the warm sun on my arms, the sound of the sheets on the clothesline as they flapped in the wind. I remembered running under those sheets and feeling the cool fabric brush across my skin, shading me from the hot sun. I tasted wild strawberries on my tongue.
The week our air conditioner broke, I gave up trying to do housework. It was seriously way too hot to even think about cleaning floors, washing clothes, or cooking. For once, I finally had an excuse to just stop. And then I had an epiphiny: that’s why childhood summers felt lazy, they were!
When you’re too hot to rush from one next task to the next, time slows down. The evenings feel longer, more spacious. You are forced to re-learn the art of just being.
I remembered summers sitting on the porch with my grandmother, trying to stay cool and escape from the heat. We drank homemade iced tea out of plastic cups and watched the hummingbirds sip nectar from the flowers. The heat was too stifling to do anything else. Eventually the sun would begin to set, and one by one, bats would fly out of an old pine tree. There was a gentle rhythm to our days sitting on that porch as we rocked back and forth on the glider.
During our “no air” week it was far more bearable outdoors than in the house.
We laid a blanket under a tree and played board games and cards instead of our typical evenings with each of us on our own electronic device. We even ate our dinner under the tree. (Can I just say food tastes so much better when eaten outdoors?) Dinners were simple and if anything needed cooked, we fired up the grill.
On one of the days, I found myself at home alone, something that rarely happens. I would have normally used the time to get caught up on laundry or to putter around, reorganizing something. But the house was so hot. The thought of spending all day cooped up inside was unbearable. I called my best friend to see if she was up for an outing. A half hour later, we were wading through the creek to our favorite spot in the woods. We spread out blankets, lit incense, and ate a picnic lunch.
I was reminded that there was a reason we played with the hose and begged to go swimming when we were children. The water cools you down. How could I have forgotten this very basic fact? And I loved exploring in the woods when I was young. No wonder. It’s so much cooler there! Nature also grounds me and calms my highly sensitive soul.
Are you longing for the summers of your childhood? Are you struggling to let go of life’s responsibilities and enjoy the season? Why not try an AC free day or even a weekend? Trust me, the “sacrifice” is worth it.
Here are just a few reasons for an AC Free Day:
- You’ll enjoy more quality family time.
- You’ll reconnect with the bigger picture and the little stresses that really aren’t that important will fall away.
- You will slow down and experience the peace of just being.
- Your days will feel longer.
- Similar to the detoxifying feeling after a session in the sauna, there is something delightfully juicy about the heat and the “sweatiness” of summer; your body will thank you for it!
More Summer Inspiration:
Declare an AC Free Day today! I’d love to know how it goes. Please share your experiences in the comments. Like this post? Please share!