Tips for approaching the end of the season with gratitude.
When he was a toddler, my son loved “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,” an animated television show based on characters originally created by Mister Rogers. Each episode features a one- or two-line jingle meant to reinforce the social or emotional lesson it has to teach.
Our favorite—and the one I still use years later as a parent—goes like this: “It’s almost time to stop, so choose one more thing to do. That was fun, but now it’s done!”
I am finding myself humming that simple tune as the summer winds down. As summer ends, I'm contemplating how to let the sun set on the season from a place of authentic positivity rather than letting dread about getting “back to reality” steal the show and sabotage my bliss.
Daniel Tiger’s lesson is helping. Kids aren’t the only ones who have a hard time stopping a fun activity, and I am definitely on board with being bummed to say goodbye to local summer produce, the height of my garden’s color and productivity, the promise of vacation and late sunny evenings that were made to enjoy outdoors.
All of that is valid, and it’s also important to acknowledge as part of walking an authentically positive path. But having articulated my anticipatory wistfulness, I can now turn my attention to wrapping up summer on as upbeat a note as possible.
There are two ways I am doing this. One is by taking the time to focus on the positive things to look forward to in the seasons ahead (I promise, there are cases to be made that both fall and winter are the most positive seasons of the year). I'm also grateful for the back-to-school mindset that stays with me no matter how old I get, that feeling that some new opportunity to learn and grow is just around the corner.
The second way to end summer on a positive note is to follow my animated friend’s advice and choose “one more thing to do.” It might be an hour with a book in my backyard hammock, glass of lemonade in hand. It might be a walk in the woods while the leaves are still lush and thick. It might be making an impromptu plan for a barbeque with friends. Whatever I settle on, intentionally focusing on it as a celebration of the season I’ve just enjoyed is an invitation to bid it farewell with a smile on my face.
That was fun, but now it’s done. Until next summer, of course.