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Making the most of summers at home


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Scarlett Rose Ford - published on 06/02/23

My first goal is pretty straightforward. I don't want to lose my mind.

I’m back home at my parents’ house for the summer, where birds chirping and crisp golf
swings are my alarm. These are nature’s cue for me to prepare my morning coffee and join the chorus outside before the rest of my family wakes up. I tiptoe on the creaking wood of the faded deck, watching golfers and geese mingle on the course beyond my backyard fence. I add to the symphony with the sounds of page turns and pen scribbles as I write in my prayer journal. Every day of summer begins right here.

“Scarlett,” I’m disrupted by my mom, “have you done what I asked you to yet?”

My morning is over, and I’m snapped back to reality. While returning from college seems
like it should be restful, any student can tell you it’s anything but. It’s no longer “my house, my rules” but “my parents’ house, my parents’ rules.”

I need a plan, I realized.

If I wanted my summer to not be a waste of time, I needed some sort of daily schedule or game plan to follow. I opened up my journal and got to work with two goals in mind for the summer: I want to grow, and I want to not lose my mind.

First and foremost, I needed to not lose my mind. I started by listing my “fill ups” —
things that make me genuinely, wholeheartedly happy and fill up my soul when I feel drained.

Any time I begin to feel overwhelmed, I refer to that list and pick one. One day it’s going for a
walk, another day it’s calling a friend, and most days it’s as simple as starting my mornings
outside. Regardless of what point you’re at in life, it’s essential to fill yourself up; you can’t pour out of an empty cup.

The rest of my plan was split up into three sections: personal growth, intellectual growth,
and spiritual growth. Each one overlapped a bit, like biking to daily Mass or listening to a
theology podcast on a walk. I made sure that my daily routine involved each of the three, along with plenty of free time (or parent-assigned task time).

With some sort of structure to mimic daily college life, I feel that I am set up to continue growing personally, intellectually, and spiritually — even from halfway across the country

“Do you want to go over our summer sanity plans together?” my college friend asked
over the phone yesterday. After creating my own summer plan many years in a row, it’s
something I now do together with all my friends, no matter where we are on the globe. Being
away from your own space, apart from your friends, is difficult, but with some structure and
accountability, there’s no reason why this summer can’t be our best summer yet.


This is part of the series called “The Human Being Fully Alive” found here.

The Human Being Fully Alive
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