Monster from the Summer Break Lagoon


Ain’t no Cure for the Summertime Blues but what about the pre-summer panic?! Like the visual drama portrayed in classic horror film posters, the fear of summer break for a parent can be terrifying.

Twelve weeks, 84 days, 840 hours, 50,400 minutes of time that needs to be occupied. But not with just anything, but filled with adventure, learning, engagement, family time… and the list goes on, and on, and on.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed and panic. OMG! It’s May and I haven’t signed them up for soccer, summer camp, art classes, horse riding… Crap!! I need to book time off! It becomes a logistical whirlwind that can rival any political campaign. You do the math and it seems impossible to fill every moment of everyday with something meaningful and fun. It’s also the perfect time for your monster to cast its long and exaggerated shadow over everything.  Your monster is a real buzzkill.

Maybe you don’t have kids or they’re older, but the pressure is still there. Everyone is asking about your summer plans. Aside from your plan of changing the subject, you’ve got nothing. Now you feel the pressure to plan something epic. This is your monster in full force. You’re comparing yourself to the images or videos you see swirling on Facebook or Instagram, of people climbing mountains, relaxing at their cottage or roasting marshmallows over a bonfire. You see people with the trunk of their car filled with suitcases off to their next adventure. But the truth is, we all need something different from the summer months.

If you’re frantically trying to make plans to achieve this so-called ‘perfect summer’ with Muskoka chairs and margaritas, take a deep breath. Don’t give in to your monster. All of this pressure and stress is coming from what other people are doing. Before you start the “My summer is going to SUCK”, pause. What do YOU want to do this summer? For myself, the last thing I want to do is plan. A scheduled summer seems like work to me. It brings back memories of going to Mexico a few years ago. I remember getting on a bus to our resort and the tour guide spending a lengthy 45 minutes cheerfully listing all of the things we “had” to sign up for to fill our week. THIS IS THE FIRST DAY OF HOLIDAY, BUDDY! Let me relax! My goal is a couple of drinks at the pool and then MAYBE searching for our room. That’s as far ahead as I wanted to plan.   

The reality is, this is your vacation. Don’t try to cram too much in. Think of your summer as a great book plot. Begin with character development. Slow build. Then BAM, action happens. There is a period of reflection in the aftermath and then maybe a plot twist with a nice satisfying end. No one wants to read a book that is all action. It’s exhausting and there is no time to learn, pause or get to know the characters.

You are the author of your summer. All you’ll need is a few interesting characters, a bit of action and maybe a couple of surprises. If it’s too predictable and planned, it won’t be a book that anyone would want to read.

Photo: Universal Studios

Robert Smith