There are two seasons in Middle Tennessee. There’s sports season, which means college football and Predator Hockey. And there’s “sweating season.” Occasionally, the two overlap, when the Preds are in the playoffs (like they are right now) and at the start of football season. Sweating season is full on when the moment you step out the door, you’re drenched in sweat.
I wish it was glistening season, but it’s really not. It’s sweat. You just get used to it, but it means that most of the time the air is so thick that you feel more like you’re swimming instead of walking. And it also means that the local businesses set the air conditioning around 40 degrees so that you think the Preds might still be playing.
We’re all familiar with seasons. Aside from the weather and sports seasons, there are seasons of life, television show seasons, and the Holiday season. A season is a time characterized by a particular circumstance or feature. Your life is going to go through many seasons. A new season for you could be external like a new job, a new place to live, an injury or a child’s growth milestone. When they learn to walk…or talk…or drive…these are new seasons. But a season can be internal as well. A new mindset, mental health conditions, grief. A season could be relational, a death or divorce, a new relationship, a friend moving away or taking care of an aging parent.
I know I’ve mentioned this before, but the time between Spring Break and the end of the school year is a crazy busy season for me and with my involvement in Destination Imagination, that seems to have extended the crazy season. It now runs from February through May. While I’ve been slammed, other than getting the flu, I’ve not been completely depleted. I have just about three weeks left to go in this busy season.
When I’ve mentioned this season before, I’ve talked about some of my coping mechanisms for busy times. They’ve worked for the most part, as I’m not feeling quite at the end of my rope. Some of those things I’ve done do to help me get through is to not take on new work projects. I actually put all new work initiatives on hold until mid-May. I avoid making commitments in March and April as much as possible. This year, I’ve backed off of social media. While I’m feeling some guilt around that – related to those ugly “shoulds” I toss around in my head, it’s been so helpful. Sure, I’m not gaining podcast listeners or Instagram followers as fast. But, I’m staying sane. That’s a big plus.
Here are a few other things I’ve been reminded about while I’m in the middle of this season.
What I Know About Seasons
Whatever season you’re in, do what that season requires. Farmers do different work in different seasons. I’m not looking at new work projects, growth initiatives or home improvement projects that have a deadline in these months. We’re re-vamping the garden into a vegetable-zen garden, but that’s a whole different story and other than getting plants in the ground this weekend, it doesn’t really have a deadline. Whatever season you’re in, there will be appropriate work to do.
Some seasons that work is simply to rest. I spent much of the last 6 months in recovery of some sort physically. I’ve had a series of weird accidents and the flu and I’m just now getting back to normal strength and activity levels. But while my shoulder and then my back and then my hip was healing, it was my job to rest and recover. If you’re in a season that requires rest, do that. There will be time for work later.
I know from experience that the week after school’s out, I’m often worthless. Typically, I’m exhausted from months of crazy, my son leaves for nine weeks which is depressing and I need to recharge. I’m not sure what early summer will bring this year, but I’m aware that I may need to crash that week. I usually feel like I need to take advantage of the summer freedom and get immediately to work on projects I’ve been putting off…but I need to be ok with a week of recovery. There are different things required in different seasons. Whatever season you’re in right now, do the work that season requires.
Learn from the season you’re in. What you’re experiencing right now, whether good or bad, difficult or easy; it has valuable lessons to teach you. I’m learning about parenting a pre-teen. I’ve been reminded how much exercise and good food allow me to feel good and be at my best. I’m learning that I need to not make major decisions in seasons like this one, when I’m tired and stressed. I’m learning to give myself grace for not being perfect. I’m learning to live in the now. And I’m learning to measure my success by my soul life and not by my production level. What lessons does this season have for you?
Your season may be different than your neighbors, co-workers, family members, business associates and friends. Even if you have kids the same age, are running the same type of business or starting a healthy living initiative at the same time…your season is yours and while the circumstances may look similar to someone else’s, it may be substantially different on the inside. What this means is that you need to carefully evaluate the things you or others say or assume that you should be doing. Make sure they line up with your values, your priorities and your goals before you adopt them as your own. In short, let everyone else do their things. You do you.
And lastly as shown in the artwork, seasons change. Do the work that each season requires, learn from the season you’re in and you do you in the midst of your experiences. But, know that seasons come and go. Let that offer hope if you’re in a difficult season. Let it give you a deep appreciation if you’re in a season of joy and let it remind you to prepare for the next season.
Want to process the ideas in this podcast further? Download the Coffee Talk Worksheet or put this week’s art on your phone: Episode 30 Downloads