Summer Fun; Motivate Me, Or Else

Katie Young
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Wednesday - July 25, 2007

Memorable moments.

Summer seems to be one of the best times for making memories.

I think it begins in childhood when the summer months mean vacation from the regular school year. This is when playtime abounds - hanging out at the beach, riding your bike around the neighborhood or getting in a few good games of basketball at the park before stopping off for an Icee at 7-Eleven.

When I was younger, I remember most fondly the summers when my friend from Illinois, Kimi, would come with her family to spend a few months with her grandmother, who lived just minutes away from my house.

Kimi and I met in a summer school program when we were in the second grade. We played “ukus” in a stage production, hiding behind cardboard eggs and jumping out to scare the crowd.

We spent almost every lazy summer afternoon at a family friend’s pool, spinning around in inner tubes and making daring leaps off the diving board into the cool water. We’d walk barefoot back to her grandma’s house where a feast of Popsicles or dim sum from the neighborhood Chinese restaurant awaited. Filled to the brim with food, we’d rush back outside to play until the last rays of sunlight dissolved over the horizon.

I can’t say I’ve had many summers like that since my childhood. For most, adulthood brings the heft of responsibility. Long days at the office can often take the place of long days at the beach. Tired and in desperate need of relaxation, more joyous endeavors can become merely distant dreams. I mean, when was the last time you rejoiced in a fruity Popsicle or took a spin in a water flotation device?

But fond memories of childhood summers don’t have to be just fading souvenirs of more carefree times. Summer days are extra-long for just this reason: they are meant to be enjoyed to the fullest. It might take a little more effort than it did before to achieve an ultimate state of relaxation, but it will be well worth the effort.

You still have time to enjoy this summer and all its possibilities. Plan a day at the beach with friends and family, go on that hike you’ve always wanted to try, organize a barbecue with your co-workers. And if you’re really daring, you’ll go out and buy your very own adult-size inner tube and feel again how great it is to float weightless in the water, basking under the sunny rays of summer.

What’s my motivation? I’ve heard this phrase, mostly a question asked by actors or actresses to help them perform in their “character” in the most realistic way possible. To motivate is to provide an incentive, to move to action or impel.

But it seems like nowadays everyone is looking for their own motivation - in the sense of “Why should I help you with this thing you’re asking of me? What’s the motivation for me to go out of my way to help you?”

Now, the answer may be that the motivation for helping a friend move house is a case of beer, or that a favor done for a colleague in the business world may be rewarded by more clients sent his or her way in the future. Or the answer might be that there is no motivation at all; nothing in it for the person who is asking, “What’s my motivation?” in the first place.

Whatever happened to doing things for others just because they need the help or just because they asked. It’s good karma. There doesn’t always have to be something in it for someone else.

Time to adjust. We all need time to adjust to new surroundings and Mr. Pono, the wiener dog, is no different. Put him in a new house or change his daily routine and he is all discombobulated. He’ll get a severe case of anxiety and follow you wherever you walk, never once letting you out of his sight. But give him a little time and space, and Mr. P will come to a comfortable place in his own mind. It’s a natural thing - for both dogs and humans.

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