January 20, 2018
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What July really means

By Erin Donovan, Special to the BDN
Missing Credit
Missing Credit
Erin Donovan

The First of July happens this week, and while you may be scratching your head and wondering, “Does she mean July 4th?” I am, in fact, talking about its less auspicious summertime cousin, July 1st.

It may just be a Tuesday to you, or the day that you awake and recite some nonsensical superstition about rabbits, or the day you denoted in your calendar to raid Hannaford of buns for your upcoming BBQ. But it’s actually more than that.

It’s the midway point of the year. The Earth has completed half of its revolution around the sun, and she is hiking up her pants, which are losing the elastic in the waistband, and mustering the energy to do what’s left of her trek.

It means that we have closed in — at least halfway — on our resolutions that we made on the first of the year. It could also mean that we have to quicken our pace to make our goals in the remaining time we have.

I don’t know about you, but I set some pretty lofty achievements for myself, ranging from better resembling Kim Kardashian to stopping the melting of the polar ice caps.

It is time, at this solstice of halfway-ness, to take stock of ourselves, our families, our lives, and our work in hopes of correcting mid-course for the half of the year that had better be better than the one we have completed.

We managed to dream vividly back in January, even when we’d been so besieged by snow that the weatherman gave his report in Morse code. It should be easier for us to evaluate life when you at least have proof of it outside our windows.

There have been some triumphs over the past six months:

I did remove “Burritos” from the “Special Skills” section of my resume.

I stopped trying to pay the babysitter in impressions of her boyfriend.

I joined a book club that I take very seriously unless a discussion point arises around the section that I only skimmed, and then I pack my mouth with hummus and wave my hands in despair and say, “I just can’t…”

I have taken up speed walking, which I transform into slow running whenever I see someone I know, which has spawned a rumor in town that I am a runner.

I have started reading the clippings that my mother sends me from Real Simple magazine. I know all the best methods now for finding my true self and my car keys.

I stopped telling my grandmother that I was marrying George Clooney because it was getting complicated now that George Clooney is marrying someone else.

I taught my middle child how to swim, which meant spending approximately 100 hours in a tepid pool at the YMCA surrounded by people I don’t ever want to see at the YMCA pool, like my dental hygienists and the guy with the eye twitch from the recycling center.

I taught my oldest child how to color my roots with a home hair dye kit, so now I can refer to him as “Daryl Hannah from Steel Magnolias.”

I taught my littlest child how to handle herself on the toilet so that she would stop yelling through restaurants, “Wipe, Mom! This is a bad one!”

It wouldn’t be a half-year well lived if I wasn’t still striving, though.

To that end, I’ve left a bevy of bullet points on my path to self-actualization:

I have not become a wildly-famous comedian yet, even though I started introducing myself as “a wildly-famous comedian.” (Though this has proven that the methods of “The Secret” are not surefire because I also wrote myself a check for a million dollars and all that happened was that it bounced.)

I am still only acknowledging my parents’ birthdays with a thoughtfully-crafted email that uses the most expressive emoticons available.

I am calling my brother to catch up more often, though I still do end most phone calls with, “Bet you Navy SEALs didn’t see that one coming,” even if I’m talking about the cancellation of a TV show or a bout of rain.

I have yet to go sailing as I’d planned, but I have test-driven many varieties of duct tape so that I’ll be ready to be adhered to the mast when I do.

I have not stopped regifting things I do not need, but I have stopped asking with arched eyebrows, “You’ve never seen this at my house before, right?”

I have not met my weight loss goals, but I plan to stop measuring the loss in ounces.

I haven’t been putting money away, but I have stopped asking the bank teller if they’ve dissolved my savings account out of pity.

I still hold my very partisan view that cupcakes are superior to whoopie pies; I see no reaching across the aisle for me in 2014.

I have not yet learned another language other than growling and slapping my forehead in exasperation at my children.

Here we stand, people. Halfway to the stars or halfway to perdition, depending on where you are. July 1st is all about recalibration, so start tuning your life needles.

Well, now that I think about it, maybe we should all wait until after July Fourth, since that day is all about burgers and pie and the liberation from too many rules about how to live.

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