The feel of warm sunshine on my skin. The smell of an afternoon rainstorm. The pace of relaxation, fun projects and visiting with loved ones. Summer break conjures up a wide range of memories and emotions, as well as definitions for what summer break entails. Growing up in the hot summers of Texas, summer break meant no school, and lots of swimming. Swim team was a big part of my life for seven years, so the concept of summer and water activities are inseparable in my mind. Now that I’m a full time professional, summer breaks are a thing of the past and vacations are taken when there are lags in projects. The idea of summer break is a fond memory, often re-lived through the lives of friends with kids or through a warm, water-centric vacation.
This past February, David and I took an impromptu vacation to the beaches of Tulum, Mexico. We have had our share of travel, often revolving around which famous buildings we could see in person. Since so many of our trips have been based in large cities, we felt it was time to take a break and have a truly relaxing vacation; one with no itinerary, no planning necessary and no rushing around. After many months spent finalizing our dream home drawings, I completed the set, emailed it to our engineers and left the country. We spent a week on the beach soaking up the rays, walking slowly along the shore, reading lots of books and deciding only what we felt like having for dinner that night. Stress melted away, and for that week, we enjoyed the concept of summer break: carefree relaxation in the sun and water. It didn’t matter to us that it was the middle of February.
After returning from our vacation, we hit the ground running again: work trips, following up on the house drawings, and so on. Little did we know that we would soon be on track to experience many more summer breaks in our future. As a ‘type-A’ planner, I was already focused on our next big trip – an excursion to Israel with our church in late summer. It came time to pay our deposit, but something didn’t seem right to me. It was the type of feeling when you just know something big was about to happen. Three positive pregnancy tests later, and it was confirmed: something big was happening. We learned in early March that we are expecting our first child, a baby girl, in November.
The planner in me was thrown for a loop, seeing as we were not – well – planning this! Over the past few months I’ve learned that the concept of rest and relaxation are much different than what I first imagined. I’m often forced to take naps, longer breaks, and generally let off the gas pedal. This is very foreign to me, and although I resisted at first, I realized that this season of preparation can also be a season of rest for me. In all my life, I have never rested well. I’ve found it difficult to turn off, unplug and unwind. The concept of summer break – the slow pace, the leisure attitude, the stopping to smell the roses – was always something I ignored. I guess I thought I didn’t need it. If I’ve learned anything from the past few years of work, side projects and designing a dream home, it’s that I need rest. I need a break. I need to embrace the chances I get to really turn off the work and dive into rejuvenation.
I know babies are a lot of work. It was part of the reason why we hadn’t planned on kids to this point, knowing that more work would be hard to juggle with all of our other commitments. But now that I’m in this new phase in life, I see it very differently. I see this baby as an opportunity to rest. To soak up the simple things. The common things. To stop, and really smell the roses. To engage with friends and family more. To observe more than act. To be, more than do. Sure, there are plenty of things on my to-do list in anticipation of her arrival, but she’s already teaching me what it means to live a life of rest: taking cat naps, accepting offers for help, spending more time with those we love, discussing the important topics of life.
She will forever be my reminder of summer break – I can’t wait to slow down and live life with her.
See articles by other participants in today’s #architalks “Summer Break” topic by visiting the links below. Follow along on Twitter, too!
Bob Borson – Life of An Architect
Architectural Bucket List
Matthew Stanfield – FiELD9: architecture
Marica McKeel – Studio MM
Summer Break = Extreme Architecture
Jeff Echols – Architect Of The Internet
Summer Break and Aunt Loretta
Lee Calisti, AIA – Think Architect
Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC
Vacationing with an Architect
Jes Stafford – Modus Operandi Design
Rosa Sheng – Equity by Design / The Missing 32% Project
#Architalks 10 – Give me a Break!
Michele Grace Hottel – Michele Grace Hottel, Architect
#Architalks 10 – “”summer break””
Meghana Joshi – IRA Consultants, LLC
Architalks: There, but not there
Amy Kalar – ArchiMom
Michael Riscica – Young Architect
Architecture Students Summer Break
Stephen Ramos – BUILDINGS ARE COOL
Architect: Gift or Curse?
brady ernst – Soapbox Architect
The Education of an Agrarian Architect
Brian Paletz – The Emerging Architect
Tara Imani – Tara Imani Designs, LLC
A Brilliant Summer Break
Eric Wittman – intern[life]
summer break [or] summer school
Sharon George – Architecture By George
Summer Break #ArchiTalks
Brinn Miracle – Architangent
Cormac Phalen – Cormac Phalen
MILES AND MILES OF ROAD
Written by: Brinn Miracle