The end of summer is a little bit like New Year's Eve, especially for those on an academic calendar. It is a time for planning, gearing up, making resolutions. But it can also be a time for introspection, reflection, taking stock of the season that has just passed.
Like me, many make ambitious goals for the summer. Also like me, many have probably "failed" to meet all of their goals. This failure can produce self-flagellation, "if only I had..." or "well, I'll nail it this fall."
But these goals we "fail" at are only the most visible manifestations of the important work we do all the time. Part of the reason we attach to them is because they are easy markers--"I did a headstand--hooray, I'm a yogi!" or "My conference paper was accepted--Now I'm finally a real academic!"
But the true work of a yogi--regular practice--and the true work of a writer--regular writing--doesn't yield such flashy rewards very often.
So, as summer moves into its end (I heard someone call August the Sunday of summer), it might be nice to make concrete the normally invisible daily work that we have done. Rather than just noting the absence of a highly visible goal, maybe it we can take time to reflect on all the more humble work that has been done.
A nice way to do this is to write it down. Take five minutes to write, what did I do this summer? How did I show up for my practice? How have I cultivated my practice?
Writing it down helps us recognize and reflect on what we've achieved. And those small things are indeed accomplishments of note.