How To Make Summer Last
Summer is my season. I was meant for warm climates. My mom hails from Mexico; my dad, from Cuba. I shiver during three out of four seasons. So when the thermostat reads above 60, I am in heaven! And to me, the hotter the better. I seriously love sweating (one reason I’m a HUGE fan of Body & Soul Fitness classes) and when it’s in the 80°s and even the 90°s, while others are complaining, my lips are sealed. Because I am LOVING it. And my soul sings: bring on the shorts-t-shirt-swimsuit-flipflops-beach-watermelon-berry-sunshine bliss.
My only disappointment right now is that summer is only one of the four seasons. And as the pages of the calendar turn, and the unavoidable and inevitable back-to-school ads take over every possible media channel, I see the end in sight. September is coming and summer will soon be a thing of the past. While I can’t change the calendar, that’s not to say I am going down without a fight.
Personally, I plan on hanging onto summer with all I’ve got. So here are my lessons learned from each month this summer that I want to implement all year long to keep that summer vibe alive!
- Make space to catch your breath. I went to Zimbabwe in June to celebrate 25 years of Body & Soul in Africa. There were plans to lead exercises, teach courses, meet and encourage instructors from Zimbabwe, Kenya, South Africa and Rwanda. I was geared up and ready to roll. What I did not expect was down time! Shortly after we arrived, our hosts in Zimbabwe whisked us off to Lake Kariba (the world’s largest man-made reservoir). We stayed on a houseboat for several days. The plan was deliberate: to catch our breath before the intense week of activity kicked in. And it was absolutely lovely. Our sisters in Christ, led by Kate and Barb, thought of our every need—from hot tea every morning to gluten-free bread for one of us with sensitivities to mosquito nets should we care to sleep on deck at night (which I did). We took motorboat tours of glorious sunsets; we laughed working on crafts together and taking selfies; we marveled at the hippo grunting sounds at night. But most importantly we had the space to breathe. And it was perfect.
- Dance at every opportunity. In July, my nephew got married. We knew his reception would be one big party and it did not disappoint. My kids, husband, and I hit the floor and pretty much stayed there from the moment the DJ announced that the dance floor was open. Speaking of the DJ, he ended up dancing with us! Most of the wedding guests thought he was crazy (shouldn’t DJs just stick to the turntable and keep the tunes spinning) but I loved the fact that he simply couldn’t help himself. At a recent Nationals baseball game, my daughters and I turned the sports event into a dance party by challenging each other to stand up and dance whenever they played the batter’s prep music over the loudspeakers. We mostly succeeded in embarrassing ourselves, but the truth is, it was just great fun to let loose a little bit.
- Embrace adventure. Just two days ago, I took a road trip to Columbia, South Carolina to see the solar eclipse in the totality band. I knew the eclipse was supposed to be a big deal, but, to be honest, it wasn’t really on my radar (no science pun intended) until my friend, Peggy, suggested that we go. In the end, we spent 18+ hours on the road to witness a 2 1/2-minute event. And, let me tell you, it was worth every second. First of all, Peggy and I bonded on the way there–telling stories of our childhood and even practicing our French, as the odometer ticked steadily upward. And when we arrived at our destination, we were rewarded with beautiful Southern hospitality on the part of some family friends, including a delicious dinner topped off by warm peach cobbler and vanilla ice cream! The following day, we were blown away with a clear view of the totality–the moon completely blocking out the sun, other-worldly darkness in the middle of an ordinary summer day, and a “diamond” bursting out from the edge of the sun as the moon moved from its spot. I have never seen anything like it. And I may not ever again. I’m just thrilled that I said “yes” to the crazy road trip that led to witnessing this once-in-a-lifetime cosmic phenomenon! What an exclamation point it added to my August!
Have you had down time this summer? An opportunity to dance? Or to try something new? It’s not too late! Grab a book and take the afternoon off. Jump off the high dive at your pool. Take a Body & Soul dance blast class (even if you don’t think you can dance). Initiate a watermelon seed-spitting contest with your kids. Watch a sunrise. Do what it takes to make summer last—and if not the season, actually, at least we can preserve the vibe that comes with it!
Hilda Labrada Gore is the DC metro Regional Director and Director of Communications for Body & Soul Fitness and teaches classes in Washington, DC. She is also the host of the Wise Traditions podcast. For more encouragement from Hilda, go to holistichilda.com.