Sweet Summertime

Summer Nights

Summer Nights

Lately, the weather throughout the Bay Area has been hot, hot, hot. It looks like summer, and it sure as hell feels like summer. And for the record, let me take this moment to say thank God I have windows in my office because how would I enjoy my favorite season without them? Winter is a close second, but that’s purely because Christmas falls in December (although rumor has it Christmas in July wouldn’t be such a bad thing).

Everything holds a certain kind of magic in summer, and maybe that is only because of my past experiences during these three months, or maybe it’s because there’s plentiful amounts of Vitamin D to go around, making everyone a little cheerier – so long as your office space has windows, am I right? And even if you don’t want to buy into the happiness factor, there are other benefits. Did you know the D can help prevent osteoporosis? And no one wants osteoporosis. So everyone should make sure to get some D.

Obviously dirty puns aside, the summer is the one season of the year where I feel most alive. I’ve created my best memories during the heat of the day and the warmth of the night. Yes, movies, the media, and society in general have proven that summer is the best season for those heart-pounding, adrenaline-overdrive flings, the time to drive with the top down, or even time to engage in the more “mundane” activities like swim (naked or clothed are both great options – and I guess skinny dipping isn’t so mundane). But for me, the summers as a kid were undeniably wonderful and my summers growing up have come with romance and falling in love, country music played a little too loudly, and happiness. Pure and unabashed happiness.

Ages nine to fifteen, my summers were fairly consistent. Out of respect for my father, I had agreed to not even consider dating until I was sixteen, so those flings I mentioned sure didn’t happen at this point of my life. But my summers were spent with people who are better than most of the men I’ve dated. I grew up in a cul-de-sac, the ultimate suburbia, where you knew the cars that came in and out of the neighborhood, and it was truly a safe haven where myself and the other eight kids grew up together. We were all within three years of each other – five girls and three boys. The days blurred together and were filled with water gun fights, one too many milkshakes, and the best kind of innocence. The kind that’s hard for me to recall now. When I close my eyes and think back to those days, all I see are smiles and all I hear is laughter. Swim suits, cannon balls into backyard pools, games of Marco Polo (where anyone who was “it” would try their best to look like their eyes stayed closed for the duration of the game), and my mom’s homemade nachos. It was a given that the eight of us would spend every day together, and we thought that we were the coolest kids on the block because our parents would let us stay outside until 10 pm. The epitome of rebels, I know.

The summers during high school were filled with morning runs. My iHome would wake me up at 6 a.m. like clockwork – pun intended (again) – with the sounds of Rascal Flatts. The morning air was crisp, and the only sounds throughout my neighborhood were my own breathing and footsteps and a few sprinkler systems kicking on. Normally, I find the quiet rather eerie, but this is the kind of quiet I craved. The kind where you get caught up in yourself and lost in the things that make you worry, make you anxious, make you happy. It was these summers where I learned the most about myself and what I wanted out of life and how much I could appreciate just being with myself for an hour as I completed those eight miles.

My collegiate summers render only one word: romance. Every single boyfriend I’ve ever had started with dating in the summertime. The D (both vitamin and the male organ, in this case) makes it so easy to get caught up in everything – the lines between lust and love aren’t so clear, and I think everyone falls a little harder in the summer. Maybe it’s because we know it’s not permanent, maybe because these things always start off as a fling – and sometimes end as a fling, or maybe it’s because the summer is only three months long (much like most “honeymoon” phases). Grease nailed it – summer lovin’ does happen so fast. I lost my virginity in the summer, lost my head, and learned to follow my heart constantly. I happened to be one of those victims of falling too fast, mistaking that lust for love, but what I used to think were heart-wrenching flings, I look back on now with smiles, knowing that I had a little rebel in me and that I could cause just enough trouble to make my life interesting. I mean, I spent one summer having Romeo and Juliet type sex with a man who was a whole decade older than me – lying to my parents about where I was going for the night, and five years later, I can still remember the smell of his cologne and his kisses tasting like beer. And it felt so good to be with someone I had crushed on for nearly six years. That summer also taught me that regardless of the line between love and lust, there’s no denying when you have chemistry with someone else. To this day, my heart still races if I recall those memories and the things we did. I can’t say that about most men from my past.

But summer of last year proved to be one of my most important summers. It was when I met you. June 8, 2013. The one man who would walk in and make me realize that lust can easily turn into love. And not that mistaken love that always deceives us in the summer. Maybe I initially thought this guy would be another summer fling, but he turned into real love, and I’m lucky enough to get to ring in this summer with him – and hopefully I get many more.

Looking back, I’ve realized how much I’ve grown up during this time of year. I’ve come to learn how sincere nostalgia really feels, and how the little moments that turn into meaningful memories should be appreciated more when we are actually living them. I’m still close with all of my neighbors in that cul-de-sac, but we also have gone our own ways and the days of water gun fights and roasting marshmallows over candles (in lieu of an actual fire) are long gone, the “loves” I had never held out longer than September, and it’s sad how quickly people come and go from our lives. The summer has taught me to appreciate everyone that has stuck around throughout the years. It’s shown me that it’s more than okay to break the rules, the importance of taking the time to discover yourself and mold the person you want to become, and to do things that will give your life meaning, things that you’ll look back on and although you might shake your head over some of your choices, every single one will bring you a smile. Or at least that’s what my summer memories have done for me – I smile looking back at my previous summers because those were the times where I was the bravest version of myself, I was willing to push my own boundaries, meet new people, share in the sweat, heat, and laughs of others, and remember that moments and life itself and the people in it are fleeting. So as Jack Dawson famously said, here’s to making it count.

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