It’s summertime in Tampa Bay, and that means that there are thousands of teachers out there getting their groove back for the 8-10 weeks we have to enjoy. For me, summertime always presents the opportunity to do things that require energy that I finally have that is no longer being sucked out of me by teaching. I have to be careful though, because there are some things that I have always wanted to do that seem nice in theory, but end up being a waste of time and money because it’s just not my thing. Several have already entered my mind and I have batted them away with practiced precision.
During the start of the pandemic I panicked at all the scarcity in the grocery stores and decided that I would grow my own garden of vegetables. I bought seeds from burpee.com and soil from miraclegro.com and planting accouterments from Amazon and set up seedlings outside that withered and died (the heat!) and then set up an indoor greenhouse for seedlings that seemed promising but never produced any flowers (not enough heat/sun!) so I put a set of grow lamps on my Christmas list thinking I would take another thwack at it when the weather was better but then the pandemic settled in a bit and we could get things at the store again and suddenly it just didn’t seem worth it.
Needlecraft/Crafting of any kind
I love the potential of cross stitch or needlepoint. Looking at kits online (they don’t really carry them int he craft stores anymore???) and thinking about slowly creating a masterpiece really speaks to me. In practice, though, I get about 15% into one and then it becomes forgotten to time and space. If you held a gun to my head I could probably remember how to block and make a quilt either by hand or with a sewing machine, but if you want something knit/embroidered/crocheted I hope you like scarves that aren’t tied off! I made my one best scarf and gave it to my Grandmother and hung up my knitting needles. This particular pastime is the most tempting, but I have accepted that it is not for me.
I have a Mediterranean Diet cookbook and an American Test Kitchen Vegetarian Cookbook, both of which I absolutely wanted to cook from because (1) I love seafood and (2) I want to eat more vegetables and after cooking a few from both, neither book has been opened in months. The things I cook are cooked mostly by machines (microwave, breadmaker, frozen meals, etc) and if any length of cooking time stands between me and food and I haven’t planned ahead I am 100% ordering out try to stop me. The only exception to this rule is the slow-cooker: again this is a machine that does the work for me, but I do access cookbooks or the internet for recipes, and anything I can throw together the night before, flick a switch on the next morning, and come home to fully cooked is A+++. No I’m not interested in instant pots. I got an Air Fryer and we barely use that. Panini press gets used for cheeseburgers.
The only way to get me to exercise is to prop me up on a treadmill or bike or anything else and set a timer. I will not run outside or on a track, I will not swim laps, I will not lift free weights. Someday we might own a house and I’m gonna get one of those all purpose weight machines so I can finally get ripped. Until then the few dumbells and resistance bands around this house are going to look brand new and unused because my brain refuses to acknowledge that they exist. I will walk for an hour on the treadmill but I can’t get myself to spend 5 minute doing bicep curls with a 10 pound resistance band. I DON’T KNOW WHY we just have to accept what is.
When I first learned about adult coloring books I legit laughed. I could not understand why people would want to color to de-stress. Then I stopped being an exclusionary asshole and decided to try it for myself. There were so many to choose from! Plus I love office supplies, so getting nice gel pens, markers, and coloring pencils was something you didn’t need to twist my arm to do. I bought Jenny Lawson’s “You Are Here” coloring book and a few others. Colored like half a page in each. And they’ve been sitting on a shelf in my office ever since. Every time one catches my eye I think “man, I’ll just sit down and color later, that sounds nice” and then I don’t. It’s a nice idea that never becomes real, and that’s okay.
At the heart of most of these activities (and many more I haven’t mentioned here) is that they seem like something I should do, or would be nice to do, because so many people are able to do them (and do them well!) to enjoy their free time. Some even turn into small businesses that can bring in some extra cash (this one is an old brain favorite to try to get me back into something). Knowing yourself isn’t just limited to the things you can do, you should also know what it is you can’t or shouldn’t do so society or trends don’t sweep you and your money away when you need that time and $$$ for other things.
Come back next week when I’ll be talking about what I’ll be doing this summer. Plus you’ll have not one but TWO book reviews to enjoy. Have a great weekend!
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