This has not been a very good summer for blog updates! I guess I haven’t had much to say. I’ve spent more time sunbathing and barbecuing than using this blog to blather on about the weather (hot, dry) or how cute my dog is (very). You’re welcome.
But lo! Summer is almost at an end! I mean, not technically. We still have at least a month. But it feels close to the end. The weather has cooled drastically and, due to the drought, leaves are already changing colors and falling. It reminds me of when I was still in school–college, high school, whatever–and how this time of year meant my days of freedom were numbered. Right about now, I’d probably become a bit manic, oscillating between excitement for the possibilities of the school year ahead, and dreading the end of warm days, sleeping in, and unscheduled weekdays. And I might be a bit disappointed by everything I’d planned to do that summer, but hadn’t–hadn’t had the time, or made the time, or put in the effort. Whatever the reason, I had not done or achieved a lot of things, probably–a road trip, an art project, a book I’d meant to read, a sport or hobby I’d meant to take up.
As a (mostly functioning) adult, my year is no longer divided by school and vacation, but by workdays and weekends. Still, I’m conditioned to see summer as a season of opportunity, both by my schooling and by nature (longer hours of sunlight, milder weather, etc.), and so I still find myself taking stock this time of year. I still find myself straddling the expectational gap between dread and excitement for what the next “school year” will bring.
Whether it makes sense to or not, this is actually a good thing that I (and maybe, you) have been conditioned to do. It is good to stop and take stock sometimes, not to berate yourself for what you have not achieved, but to find out if you have strayed; not to fear the future, but to build hopes for it. Sometimes we stray from plans and paths because we gave up too easily, allowed too many distractions to gain priority. Sometimes we stray because, maybe when we first set out, we were mistaken about what our priorities actually were. It’s good to take a look at all of these possibilities, and examine our true feelings about them. What was the motivation behind my straying? Have I changed, or do I just need to try harder? Maybe sunbathing an barbecues are more important to me than I realized.
And what are my expectations, my hopes, from here on out? Not forever-future, but the next few months. Fall will be here soon, and Halloween (my FAVORITE holiday) and all the parties that go with that. Travel fares go down for a lot of destinations this time of year, and there are a lot of people I haven’t seen in far too long. But the hours of the day will be shorter, and the weather (especially in Buffalo) will become increasingly unpredictable. And I’ll want to drink tea, and make chili, and take long walks through delicious-smelling piles of fall leaves, and bake apple-bacon pies (yes it’s both genius and delicious), and of course, I’ll want to write as much and as often as possible.
Will I accomplish all of those things? Maybe. Probably not, but maybe. It’s good to make a list though, and prioritize it if I can. It’s good to check in now and then, and see what’s changed. I might have flashes of insight on how I want to lay out my garden next year and have to prep the soil before the ground freezes. I might become obsessed with the link between old-world African religious practices and new American Vodou and have to devour books on the subject. I might finally take that voice acting class I’ve been thinking about.
What I’ve learned, thus far, from life, is that it is always best to plan ahead. But! It is also best to be able to accept the fact that your plans will probably change, with or without your permission.