Losing Summer

It is now the first day of fall. I noticed how perfect the weather was today when I went out to get my groceries. The sun shone brightly but the air was cool. A few of the trees on my street have already started to change. THIS is the best of weather.

The turn of August to September saw a flare-up of oppressive heat, but that seems to be the last surge of summer. It’s cooling off again; it seems the season is ready to accept defeat. As usual I had that moment of regret for all the days I didn’t spend at the beach, and having only sat outside at a restaurant with friends or family a few times, despite walking by such patios constantly. I barely wore sandals and I spent far too many days inside.

Every year now, I find a moment to complain about how summer is not very exciting as an adult. When you’re a kid you get the time off from school, and depending on your circumstances, your parents will take you somewhere for a vacation (even if it’s just a two hour drive to a town in the same state). For the rest of the summer you read, you spend time with friends, you hang out in someone’s pool (I always knew someone with a pool). You eat a lot of ice cream, go to barbecues, and don’t have to wake up early.

Then you start to get older. For most people, summer jobs start somewhere in the mid to late teens. Some start much earlier and a few won’t have jobs until after they graduate from college–but those will probably spend the summers volunteering or studying. (This story does not include those people who never have to work. I have no frame of reference to talk about them.) Suddenly, you don’t have all these days off anymore. Teenagers’ jobs are often part-time, so although they sacrifice some of their free days, they still have quite a lot of time to eat ice cream and hang out in their friends’ pools.

But then you enter the “real” world. You have a full time job, or two or three part time jobs, and you don’t have the time to enjoy the beach or spend a day wandering around town with your friends. You have responsibilities instead. If you do have the time to do these things whenever you want, chances are you don’t have the money. Much of your summer free-time goes to waste lamenting that you’ll barely be able to pay your bills this month, so instead of going to the beach, you scour Craigslist for a new job. Gone are the days of being free to enjoy the summertime. Just like they said it would, adulthood sucked away all the fun (I don’t know who “they” are exactly).

As summer becomes just another part of the year with the same schedule, the same stress, and the same lack of time, we long for the time when summer actually meant something more than just wondering what the hell you can wear that won’t cause you to die of heatstroke on the way to/in the office.

 

When you think about it, though, what exactly are we losing? Think back to being a kid during the summer. Really think. My memories of youthful summers are getting a little vague and fragmented at this point, but I’m fairly certain that I ended up bored and ready for summer to be over somewhere around the beginning of August. If I could go back and talk to my ten-year-old self, I’d say “Find something to do and be grateful for your lack of stress.” But unfortunately, hindsight never benefits us. I was always pretty eager to go back to school, even excited.

Of course, I got sick of being back at school after two weeks, instead of two months. I think I just liked the change, the feeling that things were moving forward. New teacher, classroom, notebooks, clothes. Sometimes new friends.

Leisurely summers feel like a story someone told me, rather than anything that really happened. Maybe I block them out because they make me feel guilty for not doing more with my free time when I had so much of it. Of course, I was a kid then, and kids don’t need to be responsible for “getting things done.” I think the problem is that now I know what I would do if I could spend my time how I chose without having to worry about adult things. I’ve felt like there could be so much art, music, friendship, love, etc. in my life, if only I had enough time.

Summer Heat–Sometimes

I think I’ve been conditioned by air conditioning. This is strange because I don’t have air conditioning, and I hate how cold I always get when sitting in air-conditioned spaces. I usually only want it on the hottest of days. Yesterday I found the heat death-like. I thought I might catch on fire. I luckily managed to do some work, but not as much as I had wanted, because I could barely think, I was so hot. I had to get dressed for an errand, but as soon as I got home I changed quickly into something breezy that I would never be willing to wear out of the house. I tried to drink a lot of water with a lot of ice in it. Nothing really worked.

When it got dark the air finally started to cool. I was relieved, but not enough. It still felt too hot. The air in my bedroom rarely moves no matter how wide I open the windows. I probably need a better fan. So I lay there trying to will myself to move, and went to bed much earlier than usual because there was just no way to get anything else done.

As I wandered back and forth that day, spending a few minutes reading, a few minutes watching videos, working, etc., over and over, I looked out the window and wondered when it would rain. “Why isn’t it raining?” I whined to myself. That would have really helped.

That didn’t last long. I thought, it will rain when it rains. I’m not going to make it happen by wishing. Despite what I might want, I have no control over the weather. Soon enough the heat will go away, and then later it will come back…

It was around that time I went to bed.

Days of… Summer?

Technically it’s still summer for a few more weeks, but it’s already starting to feel like fall. Leaves are starting to change and pumpkin lattes will be popping up in cafes across the city.

If you follow this blog you will be familiar with my Friday posts–and you may have noticed that I didn’t do it this week. It’s not the first one I’ve missed since starting the posts, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. It’s the timing that’s the thing, you see. If I don’t do it on Friday I still might first thing Saturday morning, when I’m gearing up for all the sitting around I plan to do that day. Once Saturday is happening, though, I don’t want to go back to Friday. So, there we are.

Student arrival and moving day in Boston has happened (/is still happening). I don’t know whether I’ll be able to adjust to all the extra people around during these months. My favorite cafe will probably be crowded every time I try to go there before work, now, and while I think that’s great for them, it doesn’t work out so well for me. I don’t know whether I can be happy about it. However, they, like everyone else, will have their pumpkin lattes and in a few more months, the amazing red chili tea lattes. I’ll be there no matter how crowded it is (within reason).

I feel like I should have more to say, given how infrequently I post, but my brain is just mush, generally speaking. I’m trying to work out my time so that I can find more time to write, but I’ve been taking work home fairly often lately. I do have to spend some time away from the computer, after all…

I hope that before I feel too old to make any changes in my life, I’ll figure out how to get the things I want in life. So far, I’ve had twenty-six years to try and haven’t managed it, so I don’t really feel that optimistic about it.

To end on a positive note, I do love fall. The changing of seasons is really my favorite part of it all, but if I had to pick a favorite season, fall would be it. After sweating through the previous months, I finally get to cool off, break out my sweaters, tall socks, scarves, and boots, without looking like an awkward summer-hater or sweating my ass off. And I won’t lie, I love the pumpkin.

Nostalgia: …and the living USED to be easy

Fish might have jumped, but were probably swimming  for the most part, and maybe the cotton should stop doing so much drugs.

All right, now that the misquoting is out of the way, on to the actual writing:

 

The ads for fall clothing and back to school sales start pretty much as soon as it’s August, when we still have over a month of summer left. That’s too early. No one wants to hear about the end of summer when it is technically right in the middle of summer. Now that it’s getting toward the end of August, it’s all about “Pumpkin spice lattes are coming!” …Yeah. In a month. Calm down everyone. I like fall a lot but you really are getting a little ahead of yourselves.

But I’m not actually here to talk about fall right now. I want to talk about summer. Which it is–right now.

I actually don’t like summer too much. I used to like it just as much as the next kid. That long break from school was pretty great. Being able to just relax, less rules, more hanging out. One or two-week trips to some location away from home. For me it was almost always in the states and most often in New England, because we’re not fucking rich.

Summer is nothing like that now. Summer as an adult kind of sucks. It’s exactly like every other time of the year, the same schedule, the same stresses, except it’s so hot out that after you get dressed for work, you want to die.

The last time I could really say I enjoyed a summer, I think, was the time before my junior year of high school. The summer before my senior year I wasn’t working, but I was miserable, so that one can’t be it. I can’t remember anything I actually did during the summer I was 16, but I imagine it was a lot of reading, singing (at home, to myself), and spending time with friends. Sounds pretty good, right?

Since then, I’ve either been working too much to have a real chance at summer, or rather depressed, too much to enjoy the free time. Lots of Netflix going on…

I think the summer after I graduated from college was pretty good. I was working, but not full time, so I did have a lot of free time. I had just passed a life milestone I was very proud of and I was going to California that September (a move that failed pretty spectacularly, but had its moments anyway). It was nothing anyone would make a wacky, epic teen movie about, but I can’t say I’d complain about it.

This year, it’s just the regular old full-time work week with a tiny bit of vacation thrown in the middle. Occasionally my weekends are actually rejuvenating times. Not too often. And they keep the office so cold with air conditioning…

So I’m happy that fall’s coming. Bring on the pumpkin spice lattes (not from Starbucks though) and the leather jacket weather. And an excuse to buy new boots.

Update: New Page, New Stuff…

If I’m not mistaken I mentioned in one of my more recent posts that I was going to create a Featured Story Page. Instead of replacing the beginning of Helen, which still seems to get some views from time to time, I decided to just have both up. And I FINALLY completed the first short story and the page is now UP! Go see it here. If you really can’t stand creepy stories, you might want to wait for the next one.

This story was actually written last year, I think, but I didn’t finish it in time to post it for the summer. It was very important to me to post it either at the beginning or middle of summer, and so I figured I would wait until this year. So while everyone is getting ready to spend the next few months outside, I decided to give them a reason to be AFRAID. Is there not a horror movie about this already? I’m surprised.

On my other blog I talked about something I’ve just started, a youtube channel! I am vlogging now. I’m feeling very self-conscious about it and I’m not sure how this is going to go, but I’m just going to do it anyway. I intend to make plenty of videos about writing and reading, and it’s very possible that you’ll get to know stuff about my writing that I won’t blog about. I also am going to talk about things that are related more to the No-Recipe Life blog, so there’s going to be quite a hodgepodge but hopefully an interesting one nonetheless. I only have one video up so far but I am hoping to make more soon. If you want to check it out, my channel is norecipewriter.

Other than that I still have not managed to do any writing. Life is crazy and I usually feel too tired, and only want to write while I’m at work. I know it’s all just excuses, but the end result is the same as if I actually had legit reasons not to write. Adulthood basically sucks.

BUT at least the new page is available now! My goal is to change the story once a month… if I can. I want to see how it works out with this basic structure and schedule and I’ll change it if I need to.

If you really want more frequent posts, I tend to post more on The No-Recipe Life, so you could head over there if you want. 😦 Sorry to my writing blog, I promise I’m not trying to neglect you.

Perks!

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I just wanted to share this box of Latvian chocolate I was sent from a freelancing client. (In addition to being paid.) It was so sweet and completely unrequired of them, I really appreciated the thought. I have had ONE piece so far (this will last me a while) and this is good chocolate. Mmmmmm…

For those of you who might have trouble seeing, they’re shaped like roses.

I also finally finished reading the book I was in the middle of for two months. Now on to The Summer Book, which seemed like an appropriate book to read at the end of spring. And before you say it’s basically summer, actually, no, it’s still spring until later in June. Read your calendar.

I picked up The Summer Book  for $3 at the Brattle Book Shop. For more on that, take a look at this post from my other blog. And hey, I just found a New York Review of Books bookmark stuck in it! Bonus.

I still haven’t written anything… at all… with an actual narrative… for a pretty long time. I am rather sad about it and I’d like to say that I will be changing that soon, but… yeah, see my post about being that falling kitten.

In other, perhaps more relevant news, I started taking an online writing course… and decided not to finish it after two weeks. I got the feeling that I would not actually learn anything unless I spent a lot of time in the discussion forums. I had a lot of other things in my life that needed attention, and I wasn’t prepared to give up my free time to a pursuit that involved neither enjoyment nor official obligation. I tried, the class didn’t meet my needs, so I didn’t see a reason to continue. However, I still think that it would be good for me to have a structured writing platform. Or… some other word. See what’s happened to me?

Well, I hope you have some chocolate to enjoy. I’m going to sit around and dream of a chai latte.

Bag Blogger! No Cookie!

When I created this space for sharing my writing, I was sure that I would NEVER have a lapse in posting, maybe a little more than a week at the most. I would push myself when I needed to and gain tons of faithful readers and blog posts would just fly from my keyboard without effort. I know, that whole idea seems very, very unrealistic.

Not least because, in order to get that many people to read your blog, you have to be famous already or just have that easily visible je ne sais quoi. (Mine is harder to notice – probably because I never post anymore…) But who wants an obvious je ne sais quoi?

Now I seem to have become one of those neglectful bloggers who leaves my lovely little blog all alone, its spirit drooping as time goes on…

Of course, I notice that people haven’t been checking back every so often to see if I’ve posted anything new. If they were I would have a few more site views.

Ah well, I sigh and move on.

I thought I would make myself write something today, because June is almost over. That’s right, we’re almost in July! It’s crazy, right? Somehow time always flies… And why have I only posted a few times in early June? Lack of time and inspiration, I guess. I’ve been working six days a week, usually, and although I wish I were writing more, I just don’t hear that voice of my muse much these days. I believe that if I had more time, then it would be easier to get into the habit, and it would come more easily, but who knows? Maybe it’s actually something I’m doing wrong…

I might write another Another Life later today. Get some actual creative posts up. Check later!