Midsummer Wish List

Goshen, Massachusetts

I tend to write a prelude or intro for summer wish list presentation. For nearly a year, every single day, I’ve been writing what I think of as Maps. These essays have chronicled, I guess, life through an extraordinary once-in-a-century (up till now, kind of, in this country, not counting AIDS) pandemic. Although I am not a directionally astute person — can barely maybe not even really read a map — I love the idea of how critical place, not just physical place but other perspectives on place, is. Thus, I’m sticking to maps, inspired by a pandemic article in Citylab. Pictured is a lake about twenty-five minutes from home.

Rather than share my personal hashing out of why I didn’t make a wish list earlier and what this summer feels to be about for me, I am simply sharing the list with one key addition. I’ve been running after two decades of not running much at all. I go three times a week and I go very slowly (about which I feel self-conscious, and is probably why I’m sharing this fact that matters not at all; I’m about to turn fifty-eight and am in no races about much of anything at this point). The running feels so profoundly important these days. I go different and same places. I listen to — commune with — podcasts. I feel closer to my serious runner friends. I sweat. I did slip on the ice in the winter and fracture my wrist, which was an ordeal. I missed running. I clawed back. It mattered more than I’d known. Huh.

sweaty me, post run July, 2021

Anyway, a very short version of how I am thinking is that for an introvert, who was just emerging from a pretty major depressive episode (that would be me), to be so engaged with so many people in one house and tiny pod and to attend to others in the family, that was hard. It was meaningful. We survived it and were/are so privileged. There were so very many lives lost that didn’t need to be lost (still happening). Democracy crumbled and the duct tape that is the House, barely Senate and Biden administration is currently, that, not a fixed democracy. It’s rained and been hot and it’s dry everywhere it’s not in danger of flooding. Things are not okay. I am carrying grief with me. I believe in this grief is the most authentic way to describe myself in July of 2021.

And, I keep a list daily of Three Good Things and there are generally way more and I experience small joys all day long. I’m on a long road to own that it doesn’t feel easy to be me (because, anxiety and depression aren’t easy), and that I am me, and glad to be me.

Make jam

Swim in the lake

Toes in sand

Toes in ocean

Hug all four kids in one day

Take photos of all four kids together

Watch a movie (theatre or home)

Read a couple of novels

Get some bodywork

Eat great soft serve (find some), with a dip

Corn after the sun finally shines

Hold a baby

Young kiddo date

A date night that feels not spontaneous

Bring ice cream sundae to my mother-in-law (belated birthday celebration)

Spend a night alone in a nice hotel

Take selfies with my friends dumb as that sounds

Get hair trimmed

Get a facial

Get work-ready for September

Go to bed early

Go slow

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Sarah Buttenwieser

Writer, brainstormer, networker — follow me on Twitter @standshadows