Something to Believe

Posted by Lizzie on Friday, August 21, 2009
Ashley contributed too! And the blogs just keep rolling in. :)

One of the unfortunate truths of reality is that, as long as we are alive, we are growing up. When you're young, this doesn't seem all that bad. Turning another year older means that perhaps you can ride your bike past the corner stop sign, you can spend your allowance on penny candy, and you can go to that pool party with that girl or boy you have a crush on. It could mean going out and getting a job and being able to pay for things without your parents input, getting your license and driving around just because it's something to do, going out and experiencing your first bit of real freedom. As you get older, though, growing up means more responsibilities, more bills, and more troubles of sizes you didn't imagine when you were five. Even worse, growing up means the end of something that you valued so dear, perhaps more than life itself: summer vacation.

As kids, summer vacation first and foremost meant no school. What you did with your time instead of school, of course, was up to you (and your parents, who were probably paying for it). Sleepaway camp, day camp, summer sports, summer school (blech), and visits to far away lands (such as the playground, the park, and maybe even the ice cream parlor) were all grand staples of life. For those of us with a great deal of both energy and imagination, running around outside could be just the ticket to boarding a train to the magical. Some of us were lucky enough to seek solace in the air conditioning; others braved the heat of a thousand suns. Whatever the case, everybody got the same thing: a break from the monotony.

People often lie about how great being in your 20s is, and one of the things they fail to tell you is how incredibly lousy summer can be. Rather than taking a break from the ordinary, you mow on with your daily business, trudging off to work, hoping you don't get stuck in the same traffic you're always stuck in, because your AC isn't working and you're going to sweat through your suit. You hop on a crowded bus in 100% humidity and make your way to every shop downtown, praying that someone will hire you. You tuck yourself behind your desk and calculate how many vacations days you have left and whether you can afford to go to the beach with your boyfriend or if you need to save them for your sister's birthday. And, if you do end up with the luxury of enjoying free time during the summer, it's probably because you're unemployed, and the rest of your friends are all too busy working to enjoy the days with you.

Knowing this, and realizing just what we've lost, why should we, the generation of the quarter life crisis, believe in the magic of summer?

Close your eyes. No really, once you finish reading this paragraph, close them. As they're closed, think about how many people you see in a day. Think about how well you know those people. Think about how many of those people are new to you, hold a new promise that you have yet to discover. Afterward, think about how many of those people you'll see six months from now. Think about how many people period you'll see six months from now. Finally, think about how many people you would've seen had you been ten years old. When you're done with that, continue reading.

I'm not a mind reader, but I'm going to guess that currently, you see a fair amount of people each day (assuming you leave the how) that you don't know, and, unless you're living with or near them, not as many people that you know. Six months from now, when it's cold and rainy/snowy/whatever Pittsburgh decides to be, those strangers that you saw will all but disappear. You may still see your friends, you may not; it depends on how busy they are and how able they are to get around in inclimate weather. As a child, however, you probably saw a lot of people. Every activity was a chance to meet new people. At the very least, you could hang out with a friend down the street and see them as much as you wanted to. Even if you were stuck alone, you had the promise of school to bring you back together. That promise doesn't exist anymore. This isn't grade school, we aren't all in the same home room, and I may never see you again.

At a time where confusion and uncertainly makes us lonely and scared, we have to remember the power that summer still has over us. The weather alone means exposure to the world and safety from a place that could literally kill us with an icicle. It means going out to bars after work and walking home because it's just that beautiful outside. It means playing football or kickball or baseball with friends because real life sucks and acting like you're a kid again keeps you connected to your youth. It's not the same as before, but it's the one time of year where you can remember where you came from and exploit it for all it's worth. The other three seasons just bring rain and seasonal depression.

Things may not be as awesome as they once were, but summer still happens, which means we still have a chance to do something about it. Take advantage of the extra long days. Walk through the woods on your day off. Throw your best friend into the pool. Dance to a bad pop song and make memories to it. Growing up sucks, but if you ain't dead yet, you still have a chance to make it glorious.



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