I just recently finished one of my first books of the summer, 28 Summers by Elin Hildebrand. She’s an author I love, and this book might be my favorite one of hers yet.
The book revolves around a woman and the man she loves as they navigate separate and completely unconnected lives, except for one weekend every year on Nantucket. Their “same time next year.” The affair begins on Labor Day weekend in the summer of 1969 and continues for 28 summers, through marriage, children, deaths, careers and all things life. They don’t see one another or speak for the rest of the year, except for their treasured weekend each Labor Day weekend. This tiny slice of time together refuels their souls before they dive back into their real lives at the weekend’s close.
The “same time next year” idea really captures my heart – NOT regarding an affair, but the premise of a constant, steady and fulfilling tradition. I lament to my girlfriends about our schedule often. It seems that scheduling things like get-togethers or a dinner out or a weekend away gets harder and harder with each passing year. In my younger (and childless) years, planning was effortless. We were all able to just meet for dinner tomorrow, or grab drinks on Friday, or go to shore next weekend. Now, we plan weeks or months ahead, squeezing a two-hour window for brunch on a Wednesday, before rushing to the next part of the day, be it school pickups, sports, Zoom calls, dog grooming appointments, therapy, etc. It just seems to me that the “squeezed in” time IS the good stuff, yet it gets lost in the shuffle.
What if this book is on to something? What if we all committed to some “same time next year” traditions? No matter what, we’d know that we have some special, good-for-the-soul moments to look forward to each year without the hardship of schedule juggling and planning. Essentially, the calendar is marked in permanent marker and that’s that. I don’t see any reason why a “same time next year” commitment with a friend, partner or family member is any less important than all of the other items that fill our to-do lists and Google calendars. I’d argue that maybe these commitments could be MORE important!
I plan to read 28 Summers again soon. As I re-read, I’m really going to ponder “same time next year” further and consider when (not if!) I can make my very own carved-in-stone plans. I can’t wait!