Sweet, Sweet Summertime
By: Sara Coulter
That’s the day I had bolded in my (color coded, meticulously marked) planner all year. The last final. The last morning I had to get up at 6 AM, nervous and clammy before class. The last barrier standing between me and the ultimate prize: summer.
I was living in such great anticipation of summer that I could hardly think straight. It wasn’t the success of completing my freshman year that I was chasing or the thankfulness of new friendships, it was one sweet word that feels just like it sounds: summer.
I was so excited for summer that when summer finally came, I didn’t know how to handle it.
I went from going to class for five hours a day and then working for four and then cramming some extra activities in the evening and essentially draining myself of all lifeblood and energy everyday to being allowed to wake up past 7 AM and not having a single thing on my agenda. Herein lay the problem: how do I summer?
I laid on the couch for awhile, I took a lot of pictures of my dog (thanks for your patience, dog), and I waited for something else to happen. I didn’t know what to do with free time and how to handle a life that wasn’t chock full of pre-meditated obligations. It took me flying six hours away from home to remember what summer meant.
My family (all 5 of us, what a sight to see) loaded up and headed to Mexico for vacation in May. It was a week long, lay on the beach and read-whatever-book-your-heart-desires (and isn’t required for class) type of vacation, full of riding bikes into town every night and watching my brothers try to catch fish on the beach.
It sounds nice and relaxing, and that’s exactly what it was intended to be. But I didn’t know how to sit still and just lay around. It took me sitting on the patio at night and appreciating the still, salty night air and enjoying the familial comfort of being with my family to remember what summer feels like.
Summer feels like salty hair and sandy feet and sunburned shoulders. Summer feels like sitting on a front porch with popsicles that melt all over your hands when the sun beats down on you. Summer feels like going to bed with such a pleasant exhaustion from a day well spent that your head hits the pillow already asleep. Summer feels like your favorite childhood memories – carefree and full of life.
But I didn’t know how to summer.
I think as we grow older, we forget what summer feels like. Life gets so fast and so full that we forget what it once felt like to live for the time when the days got longer and the nights were warm and full of adventure. Summer no longer feels like long days spent at the lake or ice cream with our friends, it merely feels like another few months of working when the weather becomes unbearably hot and unpleasant. It feels like lost opportunity to be on the beach when we’re stuck in an office instead. We’ve forgotten what summer feels like, and it’s about time we start to remember.
I know that as we grow up, summer means less free time and more “this is real life” time, and when we are out of school that big red box in your planner is non-existent. Bills have to be paid and classes have to be taken and life must go on, no matter what the temperature outside tells you. But let’s remember what slow feels like. Let’s take time to sit on the porch and drink lemonade and read a good book. Let’s remember how life giving summer can be.
Even if it’s only for a few hours (and not a few months), let’s be content to sit around with big goofy grins on our faces because that’s what summer is supposed to feel like. Let’s stop running around like crazy people for a few hours and let the warm air blow our hair around and pretend summer actually means summer. Let’s laugh and play in the water and lay back and enjoy the sun on our faces. Let’s let life slow down, even if it’s just for a second. Let’s be happy.
I want my life to feel like summer this summer. I want to remember what it felt like to be a kid and enjoy the purest sense of happiness, untainted by worries and misgivings. I want that date in my planner to mean something more than just a lack of due dates and homework reminders.
I want to remember how perfectly sweet summertime is this summer. Care to join me?