My mind has been thinking back to school days lately. Three weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit my old elementary school in Michigan for the first time in over 38 years. This past Friday, our son graduated from high school with a big ceremony at the Cathedral and and enjoyed his all-night senior party at school. He went to the same high school I went to 32 years ago and I enjoyed “sharing” that experience with him. To put that distance in time in perspective, 32 years from now is the year 2048!
“The Boy” will be heading to college this fall, but in the meanwhile school is out for the summer for all of us as a family. Since I quit working two months ago, I have been waiting for the wonderful warm days of June, July, and August and they are here!
It is SO much fun to enjoy these early summer days without the obligations of going to work. It truly feels like I am a kid again and have the summer off of school. Especially those grade school or junior high years before you even had a summer job to “build character” or save money for college. I had summer jobs pretty much every year starting with a paper route in 6th grade, but at this point of my life, I am happy to be a character than to have to build anymore character.
And this isn’t a lay around and do nothing summer. Despite getting rid of the 60+ hour a week obligation of a job (including commutes and all the other timesucks that come with work) I have PLENTY to keep me busy this summer. I am writing this on Sunday night and have lots of fun things that I will be doing this week – going golfing, playing tennis (2x), spending an evening boating, going to a brewery, and catching up with a couple friends over lunch. If I have time, I might try to sneak in a matinee movie ($5 Tuesdays!) or go to the neighborhood pool.
On top of that, the next few weekends are filled with graduation parties that are a really big deal in Minnesota where we live. Almost everyone with a graduating senior hosts a backyard party with a cookout, lots of beverages, classic lawn games, and people going from party to party on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. My son has dozens of these on his calendar and my wife and I will also attend a dozen or more.
Tonight I am sitting on our screened porch just at twilight. I hear the happy crackle of fireworks in the distance, see the flash of the first few fireflies in the woods behind our house, and the abundant smell of freshly cut grass in the air. My wife and I went out for an alfresco dinner (cafes are pretty quiet on a Sunday night), drove the back roads in our convertible, chatted with neighbors when we got home, and had such a relaxing day – I feel just like a school kid who is off for the summer!
That is the glory of summer for us in early retirement. No worries, no obligations – just great times and activities to soak in.
Image Credit: MrFireStation.com