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Stop a summer of discontent in its tracks

So it’s that time of year again. Time to throw open all the windows and doors (when they’re not closed tightly to keep the a.c. running efficiently on a 95-degree day, of course) and get out there. Outside. Lift up your eyes to the sunshine (and the hills) and drink in the sheer beauty of this all-too-fleeting length of days.

This is much harder than some folks realize.

If you’re a particularly susceptible kind of person anyway, the self-torturing kind likely to become suddenly and irrevocably smitten by something beautiful somewhere else, in such a way that you kind of slip into a bit of a funk, unwillingly, unwittingly, unhappily.

Happens to me all the time. Yeah, I know. I’ve said it before. But it’s spring-into-summer, and I’m out there more. So of course it’s happening again. The little party in my head, however, has simply moved outside.

I’m strolling down the street providing a steady hand behind a kid on a freshly purchased $2 garage-sale scooter, and can I just enjoy the moment, become as light of heart as the wee silver machine is on its wheels?

Of course not.

I just can’t help noticing how much nicer the neighbors’ walkway is than mine. (Now why didn’t I go with pavers like that? I have to ask myself. And why don’t theirs have as many weeds sprouting from underneath?) And while I’m at it, geez, why do everyone else’s flowers look so darn healthy and pretty compared with my wilting, withering, even disgraceful own?

Later, I’m visiting a friend, and she mentions a new patio getting put in next week – with free sitting walls! (as part of a learn-on-the-job arrangement) – and that same night my own patio looks woefully inadequate. It’s not holding up nearly as well as it should after two years, I rant, and of course I should have gone an entirely different route.

Am I alone here? This is not what’s meant when folks speak of putting on a summer spirit, is it? After all, what indeed would the lemonade be without the lemons?

Hey, maybe the answer is to become like a kid again.

I gave it a try. (Unintentionally.)

Just the other night, in fact.

But it turns out I only know how to be a certain kind of kid, the kind who asks a million questions, or the same question, a million ways. (And certain kinds of kids, well, they crave everything in sight, too.)

At a party, I couldn’t help noticing someone’s intriguing homemade water feature and becoming instantly enthralled.

Where is the actual water source? How is that rigged? Is there a pump? Do you have to clean it? Have you tried it yet? How easy is it to set up? These questions, naturally, were all designed to answer one overarching, different question: How am I going to go home and try to pull off same?

Suddenly, I got called out. You ask an awful lot of questions, it was publicly declared. “You really are like a kid.”

Hey, I admitted as much, right?

“Bloom where you’re planted.”

St. Francis DeSales apparently deserves at least partial credit for that pithy, can’t-we-all-use-it advice. We are where we are for a reason, and it’s probably a good one. I suppose we have what we have for a reason, too.

One of the quickest paths to discontent, probably, is always wanting to be somewhere else. Or have something else. Or, especially, have what someone else has.

Spend a whole summer in that mindset, and poof goes the season. Mind if I twist the words of another writer?

Gather ye lemons while ye may. Let’s all raise a glass of lemonade to a fresher outlook.

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