An ode to the so called “summer of 2020”. This “summer” was nothing like I imagined it would be, let alone did I think this is where I would have ended up. Back in my childhood bedroom like it’s an extended holiday weekend, except this holiday weekend lasts for 6 months.
Summer 2020, what a concept. I think it’s so interesting to think about because summer 2020 truly didn’t exist. My summer 2020 was supposed to be spent living on my own, having a big girl internship, and learning how to truly “adult” for three months. Did my summer end up like that? Not at all. I am ending my “summer” at home, working at the camp I’ve been at for the past three summers, counting down the days to go back to school. But, that’s the funny thing about our plans, they will never stay exactly how we think they will because that’s just not how life works.
For me, summer 2020 had a lot of ups and downs, and I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t enjoy the majority of it. I spent days crying over how COVID screwed everything up, how much anxiety my job had given me, how uncertain the next steps in life truly are. But, I also spent days laughing over the smallest things with my family, I learned how great it is to sit in a park with a friend and cuddle my dog in the morning before work.
This “summer” taught me how to slow down and enjoy those around me. It taught me we can’t plan for even the day ahead because life is constantly changing. It taught me that we must be adaptable in all situations. But above all, this “summer” has taught me an attitude of radical selflessness and gratitude.
Being a college student, there doesn’t seem to be much to do during a global pandemic in order to make a difference, but I have learned a lot about selflessness. It is so easy to give of yourself for others, whether it be in big or small ways, but our society teaches us that we are to only care about ourselves because it is a dog eat dog world. Every day I try to do one completely selfless act, not because I want someone to notice me, or because I want to post it on social media, but solely because I want to help. And trust me, it is so much easier said than done, it seems that almost everything you do has some subconscious motive associated with it. But as long as we try our best to help others, that is all that matters.
And then there is the gratitude aspect, something I don’t think many people would say this COVID ridden summer has highlighted. As I was telling my parents yesterday, as weird as it may sound, I am honestly so grateful for this time. I have learned to slow down and appreciate the people around me. When you are stuck in your house for months and only allowed to see one person every few weeks, you become very grateful for those around you. I have become so much more present with those around me, I put my phone down and pay attention to conversations more. I hold on to new memories of small outings with a friend with deeper attention. I am so grateful for so many people and things that I would not have paid much attention to without our sweet friend “summer 2020”.
So, to the girls whose summer is coming to a close thank goodness!! Right?? This time of slowing things down and reflecting on the past and present has made me even more hopeful for the future. I think that would be my word for the rest of the year “hopeful”, because without hope our world would be a place where no one would want to live. As much stress and drama as this summer has caused on our lives, we have made it through. I see the light at the end of the tunnel, the countdown to a new season is almost over. Be grateful for this time we have experienced, even for the parts that were spent in the valleys. Summer 2020, thanks for the memories both good and bad, but I think it’s about time to head into the next chapter of our lives.