The Freedom of Summer SHOULDN’T COME AT THE EXPENSE OF SAFETY
If you’re anything like me, summertime probably fills you with memories from childhood. It’s not hard to be excited when you’re a kid, but there’s no anticipation that compares to the kind you feel on the last day of school. In an instant, you go from a life of waking up early to catch the bus and staying up late to do homework to the apex of freedom. My summers were spent outside. I remember days spent swimming, nights at barbecues, and ample time to do whatever I wanted — within reason, of course. But most of all, I remember that feeling of freedom. Months went by without any thoughts of fractions or the periodic table. I wished those days would last forever. Before I knew it, though, I’d be back at school, pining again for the days of summer. Most adults don’t have the luxury of a two-month-plus vacation every summer, but I think this time of year still feels special. Even when you’re working regular hours, you still have plenty of sunlight to enjoy in the evenings. There’s so much to do when the weather’s nice, especially in South Carolina. Whether your ideal summer activity is hiking, going to the beach, or sitting on the patio at your favorite restaurant, I encourage you to make the most of it. Adopt that mentality you had as a youngster and relish every nice day you can. That said, remember that summer freedom doesn’t give you license to behave foolishly or without regard for the safety of yourself and others. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people speeding on their way to the beach from Spartanburg. While I understand the impetus to get your toes in the sand as quickly as possible, it’s just not a smart decision. The difference between speeding to the coast from Spartanburg and driving the speed limit is, at most, 15 minutes. Is that really worth risking the possibility of being pulled over and your safety?
Sun and water, as essential to summer as they are, also require you to be vigilant. If you’re going to be out in the sun for an extended amount of time, do yourself a favor and apply some sunscreen. Sunglasses and hats are also good tools to prevent excessive UV exposure. Getting a sunburn stinks and kills your enthusiasm to be outside in a hurry. If you have kids, make sure that they are supervised when they go swimming, whether at a beach, pool, or other swimming hole. Kids should take swimming lessons before getting in the water without flotation. Even if you have a mini Michael Phelps in your family, it’s important to keep an eye on little ones in the water. You don’t want to experience the panic that sets in when you aren’t sure where your child is. If that does happen, though, always check the water first. Most beaches and pools will have lifeguards on duty, but you shouldn’t rely on them alone to make sure your loved ones are safe. I don’t want to sound like a stickler or a taskmaster telling you how to enjoy your summer. After all, summer is a time when nobody should be worried about a ruler smacking on their desk. But it is important to be safe and smart while you’re having fun.
But most of all, I remember that feeling of freedom. Months went by without any thoughts of fractions or the periodic table.
Enjoy the summer. As we know all too well, it won’t last forever.
–John Holland 864.582.0416
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