The title is a quote from John Mellencamp and it got stuck in my head while listening to NPR one day, on a Terry Gross/ Fresh Air interview. That day, life was good, the sun was shining and I was gathering provisions to cook a typical Hampton’s meal for a client.
Typical means fresh, local caught fish, farm stand produce, and most likely fire from a grill. Summer is short I thought, all too short here on the east coast. Note to self: take advantage of it, it’s all too soon October.
Did I heed my note to self? No.
Days later I was faced with one of those life events that come out of the blue and knocks you off course. No one was dying and there hadn’t been any affairs. The facts remain and the frenzied what-to-do and how-to-feel followed in short order.
“Get out of your head and into your feelings” says a wise friend and coach. “But I don’t know what I feel” I whine. “Yea you do, write the words down that represent how you feel and see if those things are true” she counseled.
Isn’t the head where we need to be to figure it all out? Frankly, no. It’s where many of us go because we are smart and we want answers and prisoners. In the midst of something really big though, there is no figuring things out. We are best served by self-care and feeling the feelings.
And life is short.
Summer is short.
This too shall pass.
Got any more wise old sayings to add? It probably applies here.
John M’s quote, one his grandmother told him almost daily said he, kept running through my foggy brain. When we are knee deep in one of life’s dramas maybe it’s important to keep in mind that even the longest day-the one that’s full of tears, anger, frustration, sadness and such-is a reminder that we are indeed alive.
My friend coach pushed the self-care aspects of moving through things. “Summer is short, so is life” kept pinging my resistance. I gave in and went to the beach. Early in the morning, after feeding my feral colonies, I drove a whole half-mile from the last feeding station and parked. It felt like 10 miles. Once there the ocean was like a magnet and I chucked my shoes in the back of the car and picked my way across the tarmac to the sand. I allowed myself 30 minutes of feet in the water, waves crashing on my legs, and the sun’s healing warmth. I was renewed, invigorated, hopeful.
Next day, plodding through my work and chores I got a hankering for ice cream. I rarely if ever do but it was a sunny day and with my friend in my ear saying “do something fun, do something that would make you happy,” I drove to the ice cream place and ordered a cup of soft serve vanilla with colored sprinkles. I savored every morsel sitting on a bench in the sun, and cared not at all that I was ingesting artificial food coloring and high fructose corn syrup. All that mattered was how it felt in that hot summer moment and the icy cold, vanilla sensation on my tongue.
The next treat was a pedicure. Well not the pedicure but the 10-minute leg massage I added to the process. Price tag, $ 10. Feeling, priceless.
In the interest of summer is short and life is short, I’m going to keep this piece short. The point was to encourage you to do something to make you feel good often-crisis need not be the catalyst. John M’s grandmother used to tell him to do something for himself every single day. Can you imagine?
I for one am getting kind of used to being nice to me and taking advantage of a season I love. Doesn’t the season represent the whole? How often do you hear “wow, I can’t believe how slow this week went”? And by doing things that felt good for no other reason but that, I was out of my head, out of the place of blame and upset, completely happy to be alive.
Oh, and the event that so rocked me? It’s life in all of its vibrating glory. It’s people and experiences we don’t think we want but we come to realize are here to remind us we are alive and always have choices.
It might be good if we all keep in mind that life is short, even in its longest days. How will you choose to spend yours?