In early May each year my mother creates her annual summer calendar: a filing folder, on the interior of which she meticulously delineated rows for each week of the summer and filled with our activities (color-coded, of course). The calendar began clear and full of free time, but quickly cluttered with lines and abbreviations representing our family vacations, sports camps, jobs and activities. At its completion, it read like hieroglyphics. For many people, summer provides a few free months that are ripe for doing the things you can’t do during the year. A few free months that flash by, that we greet in May with excitement, and to which we wave goodbye in August, shocked at the speed with which they passed.
But before we stuff our calendars with all the vacations we’ve seen on the Travel Channel, all the books from the New York Times Best Seller List, all the lunch dates with friends we haven’t seen in months, we should remember that summer can also be a deep breath, a moment of pause within that hectic schedule that is the whole year. Summer can be a time to reorganize, reconsider, reprioritize and replenish—a step back from the details to look at the whole picture. It’s a time when we can think about where we are and, if need be, shift direction.
In his new book Horns by the Bull, Rick Baty discusses just that—the moments when he was forced to realize that he needed a change, and the ways in which he continually checks in on himself to ensure he likes the direction in which he is headed. One of my favorite chapters in the book describes what Rick calls the “four o’clock brainstorm,” the mornings when he unintentionally wakes up too early but can’t fall back to sleep. He uses that time lying in bed to work quietly and internally on both dreams and challenges—it’s a calm moment before the day begins to consider intentions and difficulties. Rick says it’s when he has the clearest picture of his goals and dreams.
Maybe four o’clock in the morning isn’t the best time for all of us, but Rick’s idea is certainly a good one—we can all use a few moments here and there to reevaluate where we are, what we want, and how we’ll get there. Don’t saturate your calendars with too much this summer; try to leave some quiet think time. Rick promises you won’t regret it.
Bright Sky Press.
Where Texas meets Books Reflection.