While the summer officially started for me on June 10th when I gave my last spring-quarter final, this week has been the first one that has felt like summer. I had a conference at the end of June and a vacation to start July, and between preparation for that and wrapping up the things that lingered from the spring quarter I didn’t have much of a break until I got back early this week. And while I have another conference next week and have had plenty to do, including quite a few phone/Skype meetings, I’m finally feeling like the summer routine is here.
Given that I’m working nearly the same hours as I did during the quarter and haven’t had a weekend to enjoy work-free yet, I’ve been reflecting on what makes it feel like summer to me. Certainly one thing is the change of locale. I spend my work time in my office in the basement, surrounded by my cats, sometimes listening to music, and enjoying my lack of a commute. Being able to spend all morning everyday working in what amounts to my pjs feels indulgent. But it’s more than just where I’m working. The biggest thing that separates the academic year from the summer is the quiet. During the summer my inbox never threatens to overwhelm me. There aren’t any phone calls to answer or return. Other than a few intense days of conversation and presentations at conferences I don’t spend a lot of time talking to people. While I wouldn’t want to live this way all the time, the change is refreshing. It’s peaceful to spend a lot of time alone.
What makes me happiest though is that my daughter seems to share this enjoyment of quiet. She never wants to go to summer camps or take summer classes. She consistently tells me every spring when I ask her what she wants to do with her summer that she just wants to relax, to spend the time at home. By the end of the summer, of course, she’s eager to jump back into things, since as an only child she sees other kids only during the play dates that her nanny and I arrange for her. But I love that she knows that time alone is something precious to savor and cherish.