Summer Memories Relived

photo of woman in a bikini, in midair jumping into a lake.

Since I was a young girl, I have truly lived for the summer. I’m a life-long Chicagoan and summers are hard won around here. The beautiful weather, the green surroundings, and the shedding of layers as we Chicagoans leave our caves to enjoy the world is a long awaited reward. When I was young, summers were mostly freedom to run around the neighborhood, swim at the local pool, and stay up later than normal.

As a mom and business owner, summers aren’t quite so relaxed. I used to feel some resentment about that. I would complain my summers away by feeling “obligated” to be a limo driver for my kids, keep everyone’s schedule intact, and try to stay caught up on my own work. I was living in the worst case scenario by not only NOT enjoying what I had, but complaining about it as well.

A few years ago, I made a commitment to stop doing that. I decided that I was going to relinquish control and take my summer one day at a time. I also decided that regardless of what I was doing, I was going to make it fun. If I’m going to drive kids around, I’m going to enjoy their company (or die trying!). If I’m going to get some work done, I’m going to be grateful that I have work and find a way to make it an enjoyable exercise versus a “have to” task.

My Stress-Free Summer Challenge

This summer gave me the opportunity to really try out my fun commitment. My house was essentially Grand Central Station with revolving doors and all. My three children, who are all young adults, were in and out at will. My travel schedule, though some of it was for pleasure, was rather outrageous. And my husband picked this summer to take on a very exciting new project for his work. Did I mention getting my father into town for a visit and a few medical issues for a couple of us?

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My house looked like I was running an Airbnb for a circus crew. (It kind of smelled that way, too.) One time I came home from a business trip and asked my family, with all seriousness, if they had performed an autopsy on the kitchen counter. I still haven’t gotten a complete answer to that question. And yet, I stayed calm! I looked at all of it as part of the adventure of a life fully lived.

I’m a natural control freak. Letting go of control was no easy task for me, yet the alternative was unacceptable. I had a choice to either relinquish control and relinquish misery for the lack of control or ruin a summer. I chose to relinquish and haven’t regretted a moment of it. The house will be clean one day and until then I’ve decided to look at it as comfortable chaos. If I can find my favorite chair, all is well.

I’m writing this blog on the porch in my backyard. I’m looking at the green grass and beautiful trees. I’m enjoying the last remnants of summer and feeling gratitude for living my summer more in alignment with my childhood playful self versus my uptight mom self. It hasn’t been an easy transition, but it has been a worthwhile one. Who knows how many summers are ahead for any of us? I don’t plan on wasting a single one to stress and unhappiness.

My next challenge: To stop complaining about Chicago winters!


Lisa Kaplin Psy. D. CPC

Lisa Kaplin Psy. D. PCC

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by Dr. Lisa Kaplin
Do you long for more energy? Do you wish you could walk into any room and feel happy and confident? Do you simply want to enjoy your life more – personally and professionally? You can. Too many women today are doing more, but feeling less satisfied. Life doesn’t have to be that way. With small tweaks and simple strategies, you can enjoy a great life with soaring self-confidence, a good sense of well-being, and plenty of laughter. This easy-to-read yet profoundly impactful book will be all you need to join the tribe of smart women living inspired lives. Your life gets better right now.

About Lisa Kaplin, Psy. D, PCC

headshot of Lisa KaplinCertified Life Coach and Psychologist at Smart Women Inspired Lives.

I’m the proud owner of Smart Women Inspired Lives, where I help overwhelmed and exhausted women move from the feeling of being “stuck” into a life filled with calm, confidence, and joy. In addition to the posts and articles I write, I offer individual and group life coaching sessions, classes and speaking engagement opportunities.


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Stress is literally killing us. It is physically debilitating, emotionally exhausting, and a true relationship destroyer. Much of the common stress reduction advice is superficial and at best a Band-Aid. Lisa’s tried and true approach to permanent stress reduction has changed many of her client’s lives. She teaches you the exact steps you need to take to reduce stress for good regardless of the chaos around you.

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