A Schedule Unscheduled

Michelle Stephens Elementary School

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The days are long and the nights are short. The air is heavy with warmth and the sun shines brighter than it has in months. Children wake with the birds and beg to be released into the morning misty dew. Warm breezes and cloudless skies beg to be soaked up.

It is summer.

This summer, we have decided to take a more simple, unstructured approach to life. Besides my husband’s normal travel for work, we have not made any major vacation plans. We have cancelled all organized day camps, much to the delight of our daughter, and instead will spend our days however we see fit in that moment.

If we wake up and the urge to spend the entire day at the beach hits us, off we will go, shovels and pails in hand. If flying a kite feels like the right thing to do, well, you know where we will be. Playgrounds will be frequented, lakes splashed in, rivers explored. We will wake with the sun and head to bed at dusk.

Our lives quickly were filling up with obligations and appointments. Our days were becoming so scheduled that spontaneity was slowly losing it’s place as a priority. Our backyard was lonely and our daughter couldn’t remember the last time she was taken to a playground.

We were on the verge of becoming exactly who we never wanted to be. I made this stunning realization one day when trying to figure out when I could meet a friend for a walk. Every day had something happening and if there wasn’t some sort of obligation then I needed the time to catch up on writing/laundry/grocery shopping. All this structure was making me miserable. Somehow I had forgotten to schedule time to be unscheduled.

There was no better time to clean our calendar then the dog days of summer. Those sunny mornings are just sparkling with possibility. The idea of saying no to one more request to go play, to have to explain that we could have 15 minutes in the backyard between errands, well, it made me sad.

This is the summer of less is more. Less schedule, more spontaneity. More yes let’s go, less no not now.

The Sunday before my husband headed out on his yearly work related adventure, we hopped in the car and just went. Our only plans were to take a couple photos for my blog and generally have fun.

We found ourselves in the middle of the Green River in Guilford, one of our most favorite spots. We spent hours sharing the space with a female Common Merganser. We watched her as she watched us. Eventually she hopped in the water and paddled around while our own daughter splashed happily upstream.

Minutes didn’t matter. Time was irrelevant. The passing of time was measured in giggles and warm breezes. Exactly the way we didn’t plan.

Eventually the snacks we packed had all been eaten and dinner called us back to the car. We slowly made our way home on not so traveled roads. We chatted about what we saw and stopped the car when something caught our eyes. That night, when asked what her favorite part of the day was, a bedtime tradition, our daughter answered, “The whole thing.”

So here is to a summer full of days filled to the brim with nothing and everything. Here is to loving every part of the day, living in each moment so deeply that there is no way to pick a favorite.

There will always be appointments and obligations. There will be days that spontaneity will be overshadowed by errands. However, those days will no longer be routine. Instead they will be the pause in between adventures. And when obligation arises, we will treat it as an adventure itself, making the very best of the situation until we are free to go back to wandering and roaming.

Spend some time this summer to roam. See where your day will take you. You don’t have to spend a ton of money (usually, not a single penny is necessary), or travel very far. Sometimes all you have to do is let go of expectations. Stop making plans. Wake up, grab your favorite people, and head out your door.

Adventure awaits!!



About the Author

Michelle Stephens

Michelle writes from the home she shares with her husband and their two daughters. She is the authority on nothing and may just be the most outgoing shy person you will ever meet. Her family is convinced she is a super hero but most days she feels more like the bumbling sidekick. She can be found all over the web including on her own blog and as well as in the upcoming HerStories Project anthology, Mothering Through The Darkness.

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