Does anyone else experience summertime lethargy? I have been staring at my blinking cursor for 30 minutes, and until I wrote that first sentence, the page was blank. My mind is blank. It’s as if I have fewer thoughts—steep or not—in the summer.
I used to blame the heat. I used to say I was a summertime hibernator (in fact, I think I’ve written about summertime hibernation) because I felt so sleepy in the hot summer months. By the time you’re reading this, allegedly we’ve entered into actual summer weather, but mostly our summer has been astoundingly rainy and chilly! The weather’s had a spring attitude well past the solstice. But guess what? I have still been lazy to summertime levels. My only excuse has gone out the window. I find myself worrying that I won’t accomplish anything by summer’s end.
I had this vision the other day—a barefoot kid in Indiana, sneaking back inside to escape the blistering, oppressive humidity. I remembered lying on our living room floor, feet up on the entertainment center, flipping the drawer handles up and down with my dirty toes. I spread my arms out like wings over the carpet and just stared at the ceiling fan. “What are you doing?” my mom asked as she passed through the room. “Nothing,” I said. I didn’t realize then that it was the most delicious response. Instead, I followed it up with, “I’m bored.”
A couple of weekends ago, our family was very busy hosting events related to my husband’s work. We had overnight guests, held a big dinner party, and were generally running around to prepare. The morning after everything was done, my oldest daughter came downstairs in her jammies with a groggy voice. She said, “I feel lazy today.” I started to brainstorm some mom response, and then I realized, I also felt lazy. Summertime lazy. I answered, “That’s okay, let’s be lazy today.” In all seriousness, she responded, “I don’t want to waste the day.”
To be fair, the sun was actually shining, and we were sitting on the deck in the morning air, suggesting that the day was going to heat up. I could have been a good mom and said, “Oh, play outside! Run around! Invent a game! Climb a tree!” But instead, I decided to be a human. I declared it a lazy day.
So I turned to my daughter and said, “It absolutely won’t be wasting the day.” I said, “Actually, it will be a very wise use of your time. It will be good time management.” She thought I was crazy. I told her about my childhood summer. I told her about how I didn’t realize then how desperately I’d wish, as a grown-up, to lie on the floor or in front of the TV or on a lounge chair outside all day and not feel guilty about my inactivity. I said, “This is the time you have to use for that. These kid days. And if you don’t care, I’m going to borrow one of them from you today too.”
We didn’t blame it on the heat. We didn’t make lists of things left undone. We watched a lot of movies. We did a lot of crafts. We ate silly snacks as meals. And I honestly fell asleep that night feeling a sense of peace and productivity.
Maybe summertime hibernation is more like nostalgia. It’s a pull back to the simplicity that made summer what it was, with or without the heat. It doesn’t take thick humidity to slow down a summer day. It’s languid and fluffy and it’s okay, I promise, to fall back into one every once in a while.