216 // Trying on Other Lives
I’ve been away from my life for a time now. I’ve been busy trying on other lives, other anxieties, and other pleasures. I’ve spent time remembering the people I might have been and forgetting all the reasons why I’m not.
All that is to say I have had a long summer of hard work, delightful travels, and exhilarating adventures but the summer is winding down now, though with this blazing heat you might never know it, and something is calling me back to reality—my reality. It turns out that all those other lives aren’t meant for me. They are only costumes to slip in and out of for a bit of excitement and spectacle. I hope to slip into others still next summer and every year after.
I’ve begun to think of my life as a cycle of seasons, and the summer sun has always beckoned me out and away from myself. I am a citizen of the world and in love with all of humanity. I want to be where the people are and I want to want all the same things they do. The season is for soaking up the experience of living and shoring up enough stimulation to carry me through the dull and dreary winter.
With the school year beginning again in just over a week, and my work schedule forcing me back to regular and routine, I find myself returning to the internal and the intellectual. I’ve, unprompted and quite by surprise, picked up reading again and rummaged and rooted through desk drawers for notebooks that have been buried since spring.
Life is a cycle of seasons, a going out and a returning to the self with a clearer understanding and a deeper love and appreciation not for who I dreamt I might be, but for who I am only just learning that I really am. You have to see for yourself that who you already are is the best version of yourself there is. It’s the long way to self-love, but it is the most fun you can have while healing.
185 // Summertime
This is summer in Colorado.
Hot dry heat the settles in early and clouds that build by the hour through lunchtime. The thunderheads make their meandering march down from the mountains and east across the plains, throwing lightning and turning the skies alternating shades of bright and blue to dark and grey. When the rain begins it confounds, falling softly in the darkest hours and flooding the street while the sun shines.
This is my favorite time of the year. Soon, hopefully, the clouds will part and the illegal neighborhood fireworks shows will begin. Most people hate them, and I understand. If my anxiety were triggered by the loud booming or if my pets were freaking out, I might hate them too, but it’s quite the opposite.
Both our dog and elderly cat practically sleep through them, and I am awed by both the sound, the light, and all the pretty colors. They are illegal, so I don’t actively encourage them, and I don’t buy or light them myself, but I appreciate those willing to risk a fine and a finger or two to light up the skies tonight.
We left to walk our little street after sundown and the locals didn’t disappoint. We attempted to bring the dog, but we learned she has her limits. The sounds and smells of fireworks going off directly above is overwhelming. She was sent inside, where she promptly forgot all about them.
The neighbors all had their garages open or their kids in tow while they walked the streets. I love the feeling of community on nights like these. No one calls the cops and all get to enjoy an exciting show. On the flip side there seems to be a mutual understanding that setting these off after midnight is unacceptable.
I’m sad to read on social media that other communities don’t have such unspoken understanding. Many called the cops, and many more complained. Many called them out and many more argued and argued and argued.
I realized that my community is, perhaps, a good one, and I am grateful today for my home, my place, and the surrounding people. Though they are little more than strangers to me, they make me feel a sense of peace and connectedness. This and only this is what I celebrate tonight.
The Longest Days
You Feel Like Summertime
Is it summertime magic
That makes me wanna dance all night long
It’s your summertime magic
Make me feel this way
Girl, oh your love
Girl, oh you’re my world
Nothing All Summer
I have done nothing all summer but wait for myself to be myself again.”
— Georgia O’Keeffe
134 // Reinforced Connections
And suddenly it’s summer. The heat today feels oppressive and the knowledge the worse is yet to come is worrisome. The upside is I can finally get back to taking daily walks which will soon become jogs and will soon after that become my morning runs. The downside is I am sweating and I hate sweating.
Tonight I’m spending time with my family celebrating a belated Mother’s Day. So much must be put off now that the end of the year is approaching and work hours are (paradoxically) extending but I’m glad we made time to be with people we love. I sometimes forget how revitalizing laughter can be, and how the reinforcing connections can strengthen us for the return to life’s chaos and confusion.