The Purpose of Life

What All Animals but Man Know is that the Purpose of Life is to Enjoy It. ~Samuel Butler.

This bittersweet moment arrives every summer. The calendar flips and we’re in August. Not yet! We cry. There’s another month until Labor Day. Some of us (as in me) wear blinders to the darker fall colors and school supplies subtly reminding us of what’s coming.

And yet, (and this is important): Fall is not here yet.

I once asked a group of fellow teachers when the recurrent dreams of the school year had ended. Every one of us had dreams of forgetting lesson plans or underpants as we arrived to teach a room full of teenagers until around Aug. 1st. Our jobs required us to return to set up for the next school year the last week of August. We figured that gave us a good three weeks of real vacation. The psychic battles of the last year were won and the next year’s challenges hadn’t yet presented themselves.

Three weeks of freedom.

That’s August. A time out of time. Europeans cities famously shut down for the month. The world of jobs and the myriad of other duties that claims our attention can slip. We can put up our feet, find a good piece of fluff to read at the beach or park. Go to a festival. Meet friends or family for a picnic. Go on a hike or backpacking trip. Or take a road trip.

But in the middle of all the activity that summer brings, there is that day (or that special time every day) that you can claim for Timelessness.

Time for your essential self. To savor. To sit in a chair and watch the sunlight move over the trees and the fields. To drink it all in.

To relish the meaning of life with full-on enjoyment. This is my lesson plan for the next three weeks. What’s yours?

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