BY GAGE STOWERS
As colleges and schools across America release their floodgates, and the workplace falls into a comfortable rhythm, only one thing can be approaching. Summer, the peak of the year, home to ice cream and beachfront and everything in between. Along with the progression of the calendar comes a sort of frantic urgency. Loading the family into an automobile and spending every waking moment under the sun of favorite vacation hotspots has been a norm for so long, it has graduated into an expectancy. But how does this classic component of the American mythos hold up to reality?
Spreading activities over three months can be exhausting. For many, the lengthy break is best synopsized as long “stay-cations,” mixed with sporadic bursts of activity. Planning for the occasional off-week or holiday season is easy: the half dozen or so days can be easily scheduled into a single, regimented trip. On the other hand, attempting to shape the behemoth that is summer break into any sort of order is a daunting task indeed.
The first step towards a semblance of normalcy is simply to keep it loose. Feeling pressure to keep a packed schedule is a great way to get an ulcer, and not the least bit enjoyable besides. The best part of a 13-week break is the noncommittal nature of it all. Day trips and other activities can occur spontaneously just as soon as be preplanned. Wherever you are in North Carolina, the perfect beach or camping location may be just a few hours away.
The number-one challenge over the break is to avoid falling into the “summer doldrums.” While keeping everyone engaged is nothing short of a herculean effort, the alternative is what can often feel like an unfulfilled summer break. The main difficulty in this endeavor is that the lives of children and their parents can feel very separate over the three months. It’s hard to circumvent the fact that work and responsibilities don’t halt the same way for adults as they do for students over the summer. Keeping a clear schedule on at least one day in the week is important for dedicating a few hours for the purpose of keeping everyone connected.
Another way to combat lethargy in the household is to keep health on the upswing with regular doses of exercise. The summertime North Carolinia weather ensures running and biking can be undertaken at every opportunity, and there’s a plethora of camps for anything in the great wide world of sports. Avoiding a sedentary break is quite easy when the options are so broad.
Summer break can be busy and exciting, or it can be relaxing and comfortable. Finding the perfect balance for your family should come as naturally as getting out of bed every morning. Often, the fondest memories of summertime are the moments that unfolded just as normally as any other day.