• Yikes!!! What happened to the routine? – by Dr. Randy Gold, Psy.D.

    With summer here, my schedule seems to suddenly transform from a structured, stable thing to a constantly moving, shuffling, and lively one. Not that it’s bad in that sense, but it sure is less comfortable than during the school year. During the school year, it has an order, develops a pace, creates a flow that becomes familiar. In summer, all bets are off. Between summer camp, family trips, vacations, and the different pace of things, the schedule is in constant movement, never developing a flow, always changing. It’s funny though, because although not as comfortable, it lends itself to some amazing things. For one, it opens up time and space for lots of play. Kids spending time at camp, kids with their families camping. Parents slowing down and playing with their kids, kids waking up late and playing the day through. Days at the beach, swimming. All in all, really living the life.

    It’s funny how it works though, as it seems to take a bit of chaos, less structure, and some discomfort to create such great times. Life often seems to work like that. I can’t even imagine how many times I’ve talked about discomfort being a gateway or a doorway to something better, more evolved, or even resolved. We all seem to veer back to our comfortable place, our routines. The problem is that in our routines we often get so comfortable that we struggle stepping away for a time. We hold on and miss out. That’s what’s so nice about summer. On one hand, our routines might change whether we like it or not. And on the other hand, it seems many follow through with doing different things than they do the rest of the year. I often tell parents to play with their kids, to get out and do something. To turn off their phones and get on the carpet. During much of the year I hear every excuse, every reason why they can’t. But during the summer it seems that some people give themselves a pass, give themselves permission to play. Whether it’s the vacation they planned or purposely getting home earlier than usual to play with their loved ones.

    It’s the end of June as I write this, summer is just beginning to feel real. I hope to take advantage of it, as I hope you do as well. Before we know it, probably in what seems like a blink of an eye, it will be September. We’ll be back in our school year routine, life will become more scheduled, probably a bit more “comfortable”, and we’ll wonder where the summer went. I hope we can say what a great time we had. For many years from now, when our children reminisce about their younger days, it’ll be the summers they talk a lot about, probably a lot more than their regularly scheduled school days.

    So, while I float between missing my comfort zone and appreciating the dynamic flow of summer, I wish you all a great summer. Whether it’s a family ritual, like a vacation or some camping, or simply more time in the pool or playing games, enjoy what life offers you. There will be lots of time to work, so enjoy the time to play.

    Enjoy, be safe, have fun……….

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