The Right Way To Enjoy Summer


Today marks the first day of summer.  The Solstice. A festival, a party, a celebration. The changing of the guard. The influx of light. Moving in the Tropic of Cancer. The celebration of a new season of harvest.

And for me, it is probably the first in four summers past, that I will actually be spending it doing things I want to do. Like travelling, reading, swimming so much I forget what not being weightless feels like. There is so much promise in the beginning of this summer. Just the fact that I am on my own, in a city, in my own apartment is a joy.

It didn’t come in with the heartbreak of losing a friendship like a previous one. Nor the illness of a gall bladder ripe and ready to explode. Coupled with pneumonia that nearly sent me into some serious post-op respiratory distress. I wasn’t in the process of moving back into my parent’s house, which seemed to be a recurrent seasonal trend. Nor surrounded by yet a whole new set of faces, with the same old situations I really hated being in. Meanwhile ignoring those familiar loving ones that patiently waited for me to get my shit together. And the worst, giving up the opportunity of a lifetime to really work with some great people, just to you know, hang around town and do whatever.

What was it about these last few summer seasons that beckoned me to become such a loafer? I mean there are definitely some highlights in there. A whole hell of a lot of living for sure. Some great friendships that will go on the rest of my life even survived the obvious dysfunction I have with longer days and shorter nights. But it seems my choices, my reasoning, and even my tolerance levels go out the window in the summer.

What’s your worst season of the year? Do you have one? Are they all bad?

I have created some really great memories during the summer. I also have had to do a lot of damage control. For the most part, during the rest of the year I am sober in most senses of the word. I am in school. I am festive for the holidays. Organized and getting ready for spring allergy season. I’m a complete nerd. Unless an act of God or illness has gotten in the way, life is pretty smooth. But when summer comes, I am a damn maniac.

Or maybe the season is really just a culmination of the rest of the year. Maybe I’d been doing it wrong the rest of time. Maybe the balance is out of whack. Perhaps going from one extreme to the other is really a bad idea? For me, yes, it is.

Well, I also turn another year older every summer. Born two days after the fourth of July. The same day as Frida Kahlo, Fifty Cent, and yes, George Bush Junior. As I have gotten older, it becomes more of a crisis mode. It gets harder to curb those existential rumblings. I mean I never used to drink. It wasn’t until I was in my mid-mid-twenties that I actually started. And in my final hours of my 29th year that I could admit I was really bad at it. It wasn’t until I was 31 that I actually said “okay, enough is enough.”

I think us prolonged, repressed types who do a 180 on life need to be careful in the carefree days of summer. I read recently some on Spiritual Magnetism. In the summer I find I get all Earthy and connected. I’m outside, in the sun, staring at the river and the trees. Communing with nature and eating up every single ray of light. I feel like people become more receptive to me in this time especially too. I never thought it might be harmful to myself and others to just let anyone in. You have to really be careful who you surround yourself with. Especially if, during the summer, you have nothing on your plate.

So what is different about this year? Well, I guess it takes a long, drawn out, knock down, seasons of falling back to really start to move forward. I have been hearing this new word “adulting” used as a verb. The act, I suppose, of doing stuff an adult does. I guess if there’s a hashtag for it, I’m glad, because that means people are doing stuff their parents would be proud of.

I have to say I have been adulting like a mofo. Summer isn’t a three-month vacation from school and life anymore. When you grow up, summer is just when your car gets way too hot to sit in for prolonged periods. It’s when you do get maybe a two-week vacation if you’re lucky. It’s when you actually get to spend some time with your kids, and maybe realize quickly, how much you wish fall were here. I mean I used to run screaming into it like some hopped up crazed lunatic. And I guess, while we all need a break, I am pretty sick of that mentality of “I need a vacation” getting me into the state of having to take a perma-vacation.

I could sit here and rehash all the firsts I had within every June, July and August. But you only have so much time. And I only have so much shame left, but I still love my family. So let’s just say that summer is a time we all feel a little bit freer. Freer to reinterpret our own beliefs. Freer to give and to, uh, receive? I guess just consider me your crazy Aunt that did it all so hopefully some day you wouldn’t have to. Maybe you will need to. I don’t know. But I can say that all that trying to be good the rest the year was a product of a season’s worth of bad behavior.

So heed my warning kids. Have fun. Be safe. Real safe. Adult safe. Because acting your age is super fun too. I am immature as hell. And it’s good to hold on to the more productive and pure aspects of that. I sometimes can be crass, and rude. But I also know it’s better to know my limits than to push them. Summer is not an excuse. It’s a nice break. Enjoy it. But don’t do something you will regret. You probably already have a list in your mind. And before you even think about it, maybe you should also ask who you are really doing what it is you’re thinking of doing, for. For arguments sake, how about it not be those things I would do, or would have done I suppose. Who knows for sure, it’s only just the beginning.  I mean, I’m only human. Talk to me in the fall.