Give a woman a fish and you feed her for a day. Teach her how to fish and you feed her for a lifetime.
– Lao Tzu with a gender modification by me.
That’s me and my friend, Kathy from New Jersey, in the pic above, showing off our morning catch on a hot August day in Ontario, Canada, in 1975. It was a 2 week trip that our families took for a few summers in a row to a big lake where I perfected my boating, fishing, and water-skiing skills. I recently ran across this pic in a file on my laptop while searching for the perfect image to represent a summer break. I saw this pic and thought “Ah, yes, now THAT was a summer break.” No cellphones, computers, devices; no t.v., and it was a long walk, or was it a drive?, to the nearest payphone. Someone had a radio and relayed the weather news daily and occasionally played some music. I still remember the names of the people I hung out with day and night for those weeks: Kathy, Greg, Danny, Sue, Donna, and a few local boys who are in the pics but whose names I’ve forgotten.
There were a lot of firsts for me that summer. First time I drove a car; drank a Molson Golden Ale, listened to Rush, pulled water-skiers in a boat, bathed in a lake (no shower in our cabin!), paid with foreign currency, stayed out past midnight, saw stars to the horizon line; caught, gutted, cleaned, and grilled my own fish. What a great summer! I can’t remember the last time I had a summer filled with a bunch of firsts. This pic reminded me of what I’ve been missing as an adult – a summer break!
As I sat down late in July to plan August, I suddenly decided to do something different. I cleared my schedule for the rest of the summer to give myself that summer break. I’m unplugging for the month of August, including social media and taking that old-fashioned summer break where the only people I see are the ones that are present in my life in that moment. It’ll be a stay-cation where I spent lots of time in my beautiful garden, at the beach, and I’m going to try my hand at raising butterflies. I’ve got books I want to read, an art journal I want to fill, naps to take, and days to fill with whatever strikes my fancy when I wake without an alarm.
Who knows? Maybe it will become an annual break. I’ve seen lots of influencers doing that sort of thing: Maria Shriver, Oprah, Marie Forleo, Danielle LaPorte, to name a few, and ya know what? Business doesn’t fall apart if you take some time off; in fact taking a break for rest and rejuvenation is better for business.
When was the last time you had a summer break?
Summer breaks are good for your soul! It gives your soul a chance to express itself inside the human experience. If you can’t take the whole month of August off, find a block of time that you can gift to yourself to do something that thrills you, brings you peace, quenches your desire to learn, or takes you out of context of your everyday existence to experience something other than the same ole same ole. When you give yourself a break, you also give yourself the opportunity to shift. Shift your mindset, perspective, thinking, ways of being, ways of doing. You may shift your plans, goals, or intentions for yourself, your business, your career, your relationships, your health, your spirituality.
I remember returning back to school after a long summer break amazed and wowed at how so many of my friends and fellow students seemed to change; something was different about them after the long summer break. Yes, it was a time when you didn’t have contact with anyone for many months, but it was more than that; they seemed to be more authentic, more comfortable in their own skin, becoming who they were always meant to be and the arc of transformation seemed to accelerate a bit with that long summer break.