Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Summertime Memories

What happened to my love for summer? Before I hit high school and college, I absolutely adored summer vacation. I'd curl up in a chair (in the nice, air-conditioned house, of course) and read my Nancy Drew books and Wizard of Oz books. Or I'd lounge on my bed with a special fudge chocolate brownie (thus the fascination with Ben and Jerry's Lowfat Yogurt Chocolate Fudge Brownie!), listening to music, and lazing the days away. Sure, there were softball and baseball games, family get-togethers and long, lazy summer nights out on the deck, listening to the chatting locusts. And then there were the times Dad would drag me out to the bean fields with a machete (no kidding) to chop out the weeds choking the crops. I hated those times, the hot sun beating through my shirt, looking down the long line of beans and wondering if I'd ever finish. Also hated irrigating because I couldn't start an irrigation tube to save my life. I liked doing housework while my two brothers did the farm work. They didn't think it was a fair trade-off. *grin*

But those memories pale in comparison to the others. And I have to wonder...what happened?

The short answer - I grew up. I got married, had a baby, got a job...and the lazy days of summer were still tempered with the fact that I had to go to bed at 10 p.m. and be up by 7 a.m. to hit the morning traffic jams. My hormones went wacky after the birth control shot (I will spare you my raging rant on this one) and heat started to affect me more and more, to the point where I cannot stand to be outside of my air conditioned house until the sun goes down.

I didn't have a problem being by myself as a youngster. I craved it. I loved isolating myself away from the world and diving into my books. That's why summers were the absolute best. My Mom didn't work, so I was able to stay home and do whatever I wanted. I read, did crafts, built my own Barbie doll house...

And then one day...

I decided I could write a novel. I set up shop downstairs with an old school desk and my Mom's manual typewriter. Down in the nice, cool basement, I plugged away, writing about the French Revolution and two lovers caught up in its fiery rampage. One of the songs blaring on the radio was, appropriately enough, Richard Marx's "Endless Summer Nights." And whenever I hear that song, it takes me back to those days when writing wasn't a chore, it wasn' t a job, and writer's block didn't even exist.

How do we reclaim those memories? Can we somehow recapture those feelings and channel them into our lives today?

Now, summer is the worst time of year for me. I can't be out in the sun, hate to be hot, and get incredibly grouchy if I do either. I can't swim, don't want to learn (okay, I do, but still can't get over my fear of water) hate the beach, hate bugs, and loathe how I look in shorts. But give me a thunderstorm full of loud, clapping thunder and torrential downpours and I'm in seventh heaven.

Our childhood shapes so much of who we are today. Why, then, did I suddenly go from loving summer to hating it? The added responsibility? The hormonal changes?

Or maybe, just maybe, it's because I turn 30 tomorrow.

:-)

5 comments:

  1. Thirty?! Thirty!!
    Jeez, you're still a baby!!! Happy Birthday for tomorrow!!!

    Maybe it isn't you--maybe summer itself has changed? Or those responsibilities have piled so high you can't see over them.
    I hate bugs too, don't mind the sun...if it ever shone around here. Love writing, but wish I could do it in the day, like a normal job and still have a life outside it.

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  2. Summer is a tough time for grownups. Reclaim it! That's what I want to do this summer!

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  3. Hey, have a GREAT 30th!!!

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  4. well, summer is our busy time at work...bummer. I do get jealous of all the people off work during the summer. teachers. Kids. SIGH. But I do enjoy the break in my routine anyway. Not having to get kids up for school. College kids home. Adore the sun and the heat. Sorry *g

    Have a great 30th!!

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  5. I feel your pain. I long for those days of freedom when you woke up in the morning, the day stretching out before you and wondered 'hmm, what shall I do today'. Now, all grown up, weighed down by responsibility, we know what we're going to be doing. The spontaneity, the freedom, they're gone. Drives me mad. I want my freedom back. The endless sameness makes me feel like a caged animal, my only escape comes when I can crawl into my writing world. I long for the day when I can do that full time.

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