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This morning I realized that July is almost over, which startled me, because really, didn’t summer just start? I’ve been experiencing this incredulity at an ever-increasing rate: at time’s passing, at the long-legged bodies of my sons, at the way my eyes have accumulated crows feet and the furrow between my brows is there for good. When did all of this happen? Time is a trickster. A torrent one minute, then a slow as honey crawl the next. Some weeks pass with laborious slowness, but days are never long enough. Other weeks pass in a blur, but hours stretch out for an eternity. The constant, it seems, is that years go in an instant. Each one short. Shorter. And here I am at the apex of another summer, feeling the way the last days of this particular month make up a strange equation of endings and beginning’s for me. Summer is waning, yes, that. But also: my father died this month eleven years ago, on the same day as my half birthday which is two days from today. And if I were calculating my rate of success based on averages, I’d say I was behind, at least on my birthday list. Half the year gone, and only 10 crossed off. (Of those, I’d never thought I’d have ridden a carousel, but that happened, quite by chance two weekends ago at the Shelburne Museum; and I can almost cross off paragliding, because I’ve found the perfect place for lessons and am now just waiting for the right convergence of wind conditions and babysitting to high-tail it there with T for a day jumping off into blue sky.) But the thing is, success isn’t about averages at all. It’s not about steady progress rates or past performance. It’s about the process, and seeing the way things map out wide and large. About setting goals and gravitating towards them, even as new projects take shape, and new goals emerge. A book. A company. Another book of personal essays in it’s inkling phase. A kindergartener. A third-grader. A rekindled sense of utter in-loveness with my guy. And I can’t help but wonder, if my father were alive today, what he might say with his birds-eye view, grinning at the life I’ve made.

 
 
I’m curious, when do you take stock of your progress from a bird’s eye view? Do you have any times throughout the year that you make it a ritual (like a half birthday) to stop looking at the small stuff, and take in the big picture instead?