Updated: Jan 14, 2021
We took our first trip to Asheville N.C. (and our first overnight since the start of summer) in the last week of July. While walking through the River Arts district, I saw a crop of sunflowers that had gone to seed and it struck me— I had almost missed summer!
It was a sobering moment: my impetus for leaving New York City 6 months prior was to slow down and start paying attention to things that mattered, like the blooming of sunflowers. Up until Memorial Day, everything was great. We picked up our weekly CSA box, took evening constitutionals on Paris mountain, and grew tomatoes on the balcony. But now suddenly here I was, trying to fit a summer full of experiences into one Airbnb single night rate.
After the trip, I sat with myself and thought.
How did this happen?
At first the answer seemed simple: in my exuberance to be a “team player” at my day job, I volunteered to take on too many of my coworkers’ shifts so that they could enjoy summer. Every request was accompanied with a special circumstance: A daughter’s 21st birthday, a yearly family getaway, the floors of a kitchen needed refinishing.
I fell into my NYC “hustle” behavior of turning down nothing. In the process, my self-care practices became more about keeping my head above water than exploring the depths. And those “self-care” practices that I had so carefully curated began to take all too familiar turns— a happy hour instead of a yoga class because I was physically exhausted. Rick and Morty instead of evening journaling because I didn’t want to think…
I was facing the last weeks of summer depleted and in dire need of a timeout, just as everyone else was coming back with renewed vigor for fall.
I became resentful. In my head, my compassion was being taken for granted and everyone else was having all the fun. But the deeper truth is I did it to myself. The issue is not what I am asked to do, but what I say yes to.
The sweeter truth is I can undo it myself—learning to listen to my needs and actually making them clear to myself and others. And while I’m sorry to have missed catching those yellow summer beacons in the midday light, the sun is always illuminating something. We just need to take the time to look.