Give me a vacation, and I will prepare to fill every minute. I fill the days on my old-fashioned paper calendar with people to see, errands to run, things to do. I can tell you plans I’m making in my head for upcoming birthdays and weekends well in advance. I like traditions to anchor me when so much else changes.
This summer I’ve learned the
value of lingering longer.
Yes, some of this lesson has been learned poolside, where I’ve relaxed with friends or a fiction book while dirty dishes and laundry piles wait. But that’s not the only place I’ve lingered.
Almost-nightly games of Rummy with my oldest who stays up later than the other two have helped me linger in this season of parenting three kids in three different seasons. “I’m not sure what we’re doing tomorrow” hasn’t necessarily satisfied my extroverted son, but the white space it creates on my calendar and in my soul has helped me slow down and soak in summer. My youngest who isn’t quite two steals naps when she can – sometimes in the minivan thinking that will keep her out of the crib – and reminds me she won’t be this little for long.
Lingering longer goes against everything in my natural self that tends to want to be efficient and productive, but it always helps restore hope and joy to my soul. I’m a high-capacity person who multitasks pretty well, but lingering slows my natural ways and keeps what matters most at the forefront of my mind.
The idea about lingering longer is something I’ve held onto from when I read “The Happiness Dare: Pursuing Your Heart’s Deepest, Holiest, and Most Vulnerable Desire” by Jennifer Dukes Lee last year, but it’s really taken up residence in my life this summer, and hopefully for many more days to come regardless of the season.
I love what she says about lingering:
“Science tells us when we linger longer – even for a few extra seconds – we are actually helping rewire our brains. Lingering helps our brains transfer positive feelings from our short-term memories into our long-term memories, says Rick Hanson, author of the book ‘Hardwiring Happiness.’”
I’ve lingered in the grocery, where I’ve crossed paths with friends I don’t see often enough. I’ve lingered in the minivan as I finish texts to the people with whom I have ongoing conversations. I’ve lingered on the couch with my oldest when everyone else was sleeping or working, in the twin bed at bedtime with my middle, and on the floor with my youngest who discovers new details every day. I’ve lingered so much all those projects I wanted to do this summer are now ones I’m hoping I’ll do in the fall.
I’ve lingered because the pace of this life is faster than I really want. I’ve lingered because I want to remember. I’ve lingered because these everyday moments matter in the big picture.
And speaking of books that help me appreciate the small things that are big things, I have an awesome sale to tell you about! I recently read Melanie Shankle’s new book “Church of the Small Things: The Million Little Pieces of That Make Up a Life,” which doesn’t even release until October. BUT you can preorder an electronic version of the book now for just $4.99 TODAY (7/26/17) ONLY wherever ebooks are sold, including Amazon, obviously.