Constant Change: As the sun sets on summer

My dilemma about making summer worthwhile


Photo Credit: Creative Commons

Oishee Misra

Change and I — we don’t get along. From the day I decided to improve my diet by giving up boba (okay it lasted a day, but in my defense, my house is five minutes’ walk from Quickly’s) to abruptly moving halfway across the world, change hasn’t exactly been something I look forward to. In fact, I despise shifts in the reassuring monotony of my life and stay as far away as possible from change, hesitant to even test the waters out of fear that life might go awry.

So you can imagine my frustration when change decided to interfere with the highlight of my year — summer. For the most part, my summers are typically spent binging some — sorry, a lot — of Netflix, immersing myself into good books, going on way too many boba runs, accidentally disappearing off of social media for a bit (dear friends, I’m sorry for all the ignored texts and absences at hangouts, I promise I do enjoy your company more than my room), going on the occasional vacation or summer camp and pretending to do math so my mom will be pleased (Mom, if you read this, I’m lying to incorporate humor into this column — I swear I did do the math).

This pattern of unproductive behavior is a constant and starts every summer, and I am perfectly OK with it. So when the summer of 2018 arrived, it didn’t occur to me to do something worthwhile, because I thought I already was — recovering from the first year of this harrowing experience called high school.

Yet as week two of my summer inched by, I started to feel unease. Everyone else seemed to be doing something. Babysitting. Teaching. Volunteering. Interning. Working. And I was doing … nothing. Unless you count unsuccessfully attempting to figure out my existential crisis (I still haven’t, in case anyone was wondering).

So summer was taking its sweet time passing by, and day by day, my desperation to find something to do only escalated. Everyone seemed to changing the world, and here I was, changing nothing except for the tab on my computer from Youtube to Netflix. And I hated feeling like this. I loathed this change in my once carefree attitude about summer. It was no longer “relish this time and mend your physical and emotional state.” No. Now it was “Look at what everyone else is doing. Why aren’t you doing anything?”

Why wasn’t I? Maybe it was because my primary state of being has always been reluctant to leave the comfort zone — literally, referring to my bed, and figuratively, referring to my wariness to attempt new things. Perhaps it was because I still haven’t figured out what I love yet. I have avid interests and passions, but I ail with the affliction of not knowing which one to pursue (refer back to aforementioned existential crisis).

Regardless, I ended up whiling away my summer the same as I always do, the change being that this time I had to ignore that voice in my head that kept reminding me I wasn’t doing enough.

But what could I have done that was enough? “Enough” is a relative term. For some, it means gearing up for the year ahead with prep courses (if you’re someone like that, please let me know how to be productive). For others, it means going on the vacation of their dreams. Or getting a job so they feed their boba addiction. And for me? Summer is for changing (ironic, huh?). Changing my eat-sleep-work-extracurriculars routine by loosening the tight structure my life is usually bound by and doing things that make me happy.

I love summer days when it feels like we have all the time in the world, because in reality, we do. High school tends to feel as though we’re always running out of time to finish that latest assignment, study for that upcoming test and figure out what you’re doing with your life (again, refer back to existential crisis). My summers are time capsules that press pause on that ticking clock. And I’m glad I made the choice not to press play.

When I look back on my summer now, I realize that despite my rollercoaster of feelings about not doing anything worthwhile, I did do things. Maybe it wasn’t working, interning or volunteering, but I did visit my cousin I haven’t seen in four years and we stayed up talking until the wee hours of the morning. I did paint my denim jacket (and my carpet — there’s still a purple splotch) and read “The Color Purple” (ha). I did catch up with people I haven’t seen in a while. (I love relationships where you don’t see them too often but whenever you do, nothing changes). I did buy an overpriced Jamba Juice cup that says “Drink Happy Thoughts” on it. I did join a gym and not cancel my membership within the first three days.

And now, with the school year in full swing, there’s something I’d like to say to that voice in my head that decided to go about putting a damper on my summer: “Shut up.” So maybe my summer wasn’t like the summer everyone else seemed to have, or the summer the more motivated, productive side of wanted me to have. But I wouldn’t change any of it.