From my earliest memories, summertime in Texas means watermelon and cantaloupe, ice cream, swimming, riding my bike, and being gone all day looking for trouble … as long as I was home before dark. While I am still capable of remembering my childhood challenges, most of the memories I have from summertime are wonderfully nostalgic. Being a kid is great, but being a grownup who still acts like a kid is even better.
Summertime in my office is an odd mix of terribly busy, and not terribly busy, as we work in ebbs and flows around our client’s summer vacations. This means that some days are calm and peaceful, and some are ridiculously frantic. I’m currently in the middle of a frantic stretch which means working over the weekend. It’s currently Sunday afternoon and despite the constant lure and distraction of summer activities, I’ve already had a productive day. I’ve responded to about 50 emails, written and sent out a proposal for a new project, spent more time than I wanted reviewing a construction schedule for a project that isn’t progressing as quickly as it should, and still managed to go on a bike ride, swim in the pool, catch a movie, and prepare dinner for the family (shish-ka-“me’s” if you were interested).
Feels like 106°?!? That’s pretty hot and if you’re not used to it, it will wear you out. The strange thing about it is that I grew up here and I know that it’s going to get hot. I remember it being hot when I was a kid while I was riding my bike around the neighborhood. What I don’t remember it bothering me as much as it seems to bother me now. Once when I was around 12, I lined a shoebox with foil, put a few hot dogs in there and set it out on the roof … when I came back and checked on them later, they were charcoal sticks. This is an experiment that I think I will try and recreate this summer because it was awesome.
I should also confess that I have been going out for evening walks a lot more lately. Partly because I like it, but partly because my entire family has been going out and looking for Pokemon like millions of other people. I expect to receive a fair bit of ridicule for being a 48-year-old man who is playing a child’s game with his family – one of my contractor buddies very proudly states that “not only am I not playing, I don’t even know what that is!”
I do it because I don’t want to wake up one day and discover I’ve become an old man and everything is passing me by. I want to remember why I work … I still want to eat a cold slice of watermelon and cook a hot dog on the roof and be happy about it. Cannonballs in the pool are fun, but doing them right next to my daughter is even better. Catching fireflies, going on night-time bike rides, cooking dinner on the grill, listening to baseball games on the radio as I’m floating in the pool, opening my eyes underwater so much that when I get out, my chlorine saturated retinas have added a halo around every light source. – these are childhood memories I associate with summer.
Think back to when you were a kid and reflect on your own summertime activities … don’t wake up one day only to realize that all you do is think about work and forgotten what it means to be a kid. Imagination, creativity, possibility … these things are important in a creative field such as architecture – don’t forget to keep yourself open to new activities and adventures.
Go and eat some watermelon,