The last day of the school year pulses with a tangible excitement that only the feel of sunshine, the taste of lemonade, the smell of a barbecue, the sight of flip-flops, and the sound of the ocean can reasonably calm. Teachers and students alike are literally giddy and counting the minutes until that last bell rings and freedom – sweet, delicious, saltwater freedom – is just outside the door.
Today is that day for me, save a few last minute paperwork chores and brief meetings with my supervisor next week, and I’m almost ready to burst. All I want is a big American hoagie from Wawa, a jug of their lemonade, a beach towel, my Kindle, and some sunshine.
I have been particularly excited about summer break this year. It has been a very difficult year. Several intense projects presented themselves at work and I spearheaded one of the biggest ones – which has ultimately put way more stress on me than I ever anticipated – or wanted – at my job. But they’re complete and I feel a sense of true accomplishment that will bode nicely for my resume. And then, you know, there’s this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9T8ovblvQM0
My graduate classes were especially challenging this year, too – and they will continue through the summer, but now I will have more time to appropriately address those challenges and not feel constantly rushed to complete my work.
On a personal note, some unfortunate circumstances affected me deeply this year, too. My grandmother passing away was one of them, and losing a dear friend over some silly misunderstandings was another. However, I always look at these personal circumstances as opportunities to grow as a person and to learn from them in any way I can. My grandmother’s passing reminded me to cherish life and all that it has to offer, and it taught me that I’m much more like my grandmother than I ever realized. I know more about myself in her passing than I did when she was alive. I am still not sure if I should be sad about that, or if that’s just the way things work.
Losing a friend is always difficult, regardless of the circumstances, and who was “right” and who was “wrong,” if anyone. I’m not yet sure if this loss is permanent, but the event has taught me a great deal about friendship and trust. Going forward, I have different priorities now regarding friendship, and in a way, I’m growing by regressing to an old version of me – a version of myself who did not wear her heart on her sleeve and trust so openly. It’s a version of myself that I remember from over a decade ago, when true friendship was precious and not easily earned – as it has been in recent years.
I’m looking forward to this summer. I have so many things planned, so much to do, so many places to go, so many projects to complete, and so many blessings on the horizon – but I’m going to start slow:
Tomorrow, I’m packing my beach towel, rolling down my car windows, and cruising to the shore. The only appropriate way I can think of beginning my summer journey.