You all… it is September 25th and I need a vacation. My kids have been in school for four weeks and I’m already missing field trip permission slips, have overdrawn the kids’ lunch accounts (and have no idea what the password is), and am *kind of* tired of soccer games.  And while I love college football, I sort of resent the ironclad commitment to being home every Saturday.

And do you know how many parents I have met that already say they are counting down the days until next summer? I may be one of them…

While there are many, many reasons that have made the annual transition back to school a little tougher than normal this year, personally I just miss how much FUN that I had this summer. Let me recap my highlights for you (and for me especially… I really need this!).

1) 20 year college reunion with my oldest friends

2) Competing at the Swimming Master’s Nationals with my inspiring teammates

3) Weekly volleyball games with my Frys Spring fam

4) Whitewater rafting with my kids and not losing any on the river

5) Parading down JPA with my kids and a full brass band (seriously, it was amazing)

6) Karaoke at the beach with my husband Robert really winning the night with his Neil Diamond impression

7) Late night, aka 9:31 PM, dancing by the pool with all of the other 40-year-olds. 

The morning after each event I always woke up a little tired, sometimes a little hungover, a little sore… but every time my endorphins were high, and I was happily texting all my friends about the insanity that ensued the night before like a 19 year old sorority girl.  All summer we were laughing, moving, singing, celebrating… doing all of the things that bring me head to toe, full body joy. The kind of joy that would last for weeks afterwards, just in time for the next big event!

But the thing about the nature of the aptly named ‘Fall’ season is that we get so bogged down by the weight of our responsibilities. School, work, sports, kids activities, home improvement projects, holiday planning, yard work, making up for our summer “relaxation”… It just seems like the summer is the only time that we feel the freedom and liberty to put the time and energy into having fun ourselves. 

And I’m here to say I’m not down for this anymore. NOPE. Just because I’m a parent does not mean that I must stop doing things that I find genuinely FUN. I’m generally living by the principal that if I enjoyed something when I was younger, it is 99% likely that it is still going to be fun for me in my 40’s. 

Now of course I have responsibilities. A lot of them, actually, and as a result I have to be thoughtful and mindful about how I spend my FUN time— I can’t go out every night like I used to search all over for “Don’t Stop Believing” and lightning in a bottle. Instead, I have to make sure that my time away from my responsibilities is actually giving me the joy that I need.

So, I took a long hard look at my “fun” list from the summer. Is there is anything that those activities have in common? What really brings me joy? And I realized it almost always happens when I’m both active and connected. Now of course I enjoy just being active (run, anyone?) and being connected (who doesn’t love a three hour dinner with friends and family?). But, for me, I HAVE A BALL when I’m moving my body and around people that I love. Whether it is dancing with my girlfriends or playing pick up sports at the pool. It’s guaranteed that if you give me activity and give me connection, then I will feel true joy.

So, my plan is to prioritize being more active and connected in my fall/winter/spring life. It’s going to take a little more organization but given how much time I spend being responsible for my family and myself, starting now making my joy is a priority and a very worthy cause and I actually think that to me it’s more than joy… to me being active and connected brings fulfillment and meaning to me on a weekly basis. And life is hard, so I want a little more of it.

As always, thanks so much for reading my thoughts and I hope you can use whatever you get from them to figure out what brings you joy, and it helps you figure out how to make more time for it. My gut and my butt says that it might be finding more time to be active and connected to and with yourselves =)

PS- I wrote this with a vision of highlighting each event with a great picture of me having fun. But I was having too much fun to take pics. So let my lack of pics be my inspiration for fall!!!

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