I’ve learned a lot this summer. I’ve learned to accept something I’ve always known to be true: that change is the only constant in life. That you have to go with the flow. And that the flow of life isn’t a lazy river… it’s white water rapids. Going with the flow is a skill. You have to learn it. Especially when the voices in your head are heels-in, stubborn little assholes.
Summer’s been a wild ride. It’s gone so fast, I think, because I’ve always been looking forward to something. I haven’t been bored once. Instead, I’m exhausted. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I’ve been lucky enough to spend time with friends I never see this summer - with Adam, my best friend from 7th grade, who treated me to countless pitchers of beer on a sunny San Francisco patio. With Bill, my spirit guide, who loves me despite knowing me when I was my worst, most angsty teenage self. With Marion and Amy, my soul sisters from back east, who I always pick up with right where we left off. With my Canadian cousins, who I think of whenever I feel lonely - there’s no one I’d rather stay up ‘til 3 a.m. singing Kinks songs with. With my little brother, who’s not so little anymore, and who is as real as they come in every sense of the word. With my mom and my dad and my aunt, who love my belligerent ass despite it all.
This summer Mick and I schemed over countless baskets of bottomless fries. Now we’re learning how to activate and plotting world domination. We went to Texas together and I can’t believe how lucky I am to have found a friend who brings out the best in me like he does. And I’m just so stoked we travel well together. Watch out, Mick - I’m making plans.
This summer, I said goodbye to Hillary, who I’ve known since the very beginning of our first year at Lewis & Clark. We took and hated (and maybe failed?) the same philosophy class our first semester. When we blew off studying for our midterm to get lost in the woods behind campus, I never thought about Hillary not being around. In July, Hillary left Portland.
The same month, I said goodbye to Anna, who, whether she realizes it or not, has been my best friend for FIVE whole years. She has always challenged me to be a better friend and a better person. I’m really, really sad to have lost my ride-or-die, a friend who never said no to a show or a drink or a well-calculated risk. She’s fearless. She won’t think that’s what she’s like, but it is.
But I guess, after my 20 visits to the Portland airport this year, the world doesn’t feel so big. The distance between myself and all the people I love who are all over the place doesn’t feel so impossible. Looking forward to something is always better than dreading what’s next - and I’m looking forward to seeing my friends again… whether I’m forcing them to drink on a patio (except it won’t be a patio because summer is ending - brb I’m crying) with me in Portland or meeting them someplace far, far from here.
And like, wow, look at all this love in my life. Damn. This whole time I’ve been sitting here like “no one gives a shit about me.” I’m still not always convinced that’s not the case (thank you stupid brain), but there’s a lot of evidence here if I’m ever feeling down. BUT LIKE HOW COULD I POSSIBLY FEEL DOWN?! LOOK AT ALL THIS SPARKLY, MAGIC LOVE!!
Transitions trigger reflection, for better or for worse. I’m a nostalgic person to a fault. And the end of summer has always felt like the end of something, as juvenile as that may seem. I’ve been trying not to look backward. I guess part of that is reframing my experiences so that they’re not things that have happened to me or things I have to live with. They’re lessons. There are pieces of my experiences that I can and should always carry with me. I should learn from my experiences, not fear them, or dwell on them, or let the past dictate my present.
Because white water rafting is impossible when you’re dragging a bunch of baggage around.
Here’s some things I’ve learned this summer.
- Writing blog posts when you’re drunk on an airplane isn’t the worst idea, but you should probably type things instead. I can’t decipher my drunk handwriting for shit.
- Drinking on airplanes is a fun thing to do, especially, if not exclusively, when you find your steward soulmate who brings you beer for free. (Not to be confused with the dude I thought was my seatmate soulmate for the same reason ‘til he casually slipped his phone number across my tray table.)
- Great playlists are born at 3 in the morning.
- It’s ok if your hobby is drinking beer. You just need to find a better way to say it to people.
- 101 degrees is hot in Portland, but not nearly as hot as 101 degrees in Austin, Texas. Count your blessings, y’all.
- Find you a friend who doesn’t mind when you’re both sweating your assess off all day.
- Other people are like spiders - they’re more afraid of you than you are of them.
- Don’t forget your roots. Listen to old albums. Read your old writing. It’ll inform your perspective. Just don’t get lost in it.
- Screw the beaten path.
- Make friends with your server at Red Robin. She’ll keep a happy hour beer for you in the fridge, even when the clock passes 6 p.m.
- When your friends come to town, make time for them.
- When your friends say they’re leaving town, make time for them.
- Fake it until you make it - in all aspects of your life. It’s really been working out well for me.
- Speak up. It’s worth it. Even if no one likes what you say.
- Do the things that seem impossible. Once you realize they’re not, you’ll feel accomplished af.
Goodbye, summer. Thank you. Life is about to get real hectic. I’m so thankful that I feel so grounded.
I leave you with this, my late summer playlist. I’ll probably keep adding to it ‘til I get back from my next trip (mid-September). The title track goes like this: Do you remember summer days / Just after summer rain / When all the air was damp and warm / In the green of country lanes? / And the breeze would touch your hair / Kiss your face and make you care / About your world / Your summer world...