The Last Summer

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And here we are, another Friday. I don’t know how all of you usually spend your summers, but if mine aren’t filled with a couple rereads of my favorite books and discoveries of new ones, then I am doing something sorely wrong.

After all, travelling right now isn’t in my budget and travelling alone isn’t really my thing regardless. So what’s the next best way to get out of town, even if not physically? Our imaginations. Whether you prefer movies, books, video games, or wine, all of it is a chance to get out of our reality for a little while. 

Another word for that, at least in my case: escapism. Usually this word gets a bad rep for people using it as an out instead of dealing with their problems, but let’s be honest, I think that’s just human nature. In my case, escapism is a way for me to get away from the banality of what summer can sometimes turn into. 

It’s also a chance to take solo adventures, learn a few new skills with summer classes, and of course, create my own worlds to escape in. I mean, that’s the fun part of being a creative… Creating.

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If I want to make creativity and art part of my future, if I want to be good enough that it’s the only way to live, I have to practice it. I would like to say that it’s the path to a successful future for me, but I guess none of us can really tell exactly what the means until we get there. 

Not unless one of you can tell the future, in which case if you can, I have a few questions.

Because I’ve been talking to a few friends and I’m starting to get the feeling that none of us are quite sure what path is the “right” one. There are quite a few options after all. 

There’s getting a job straight out of college and seeing where that takes us. There’s freelance or travelling and seeing what this world has to offer before settling down into it as if we know what it all looks like. Then there’s grad or post undergrad studies and depending on what we’re looking at, it could take a couple years. Even then, we still have to figure out what to study or specialize in. Another path per say. 

And these are just a few of the options, I can’t say I know what all of them are. I don’t even know what I would prefer. This is most likely my last summer of wandering somewhat aimlessly between jobs and places and friends that I’ve known at least for a little while. After this, all of us are supposed to be heading in directions others cannot follow, down what at least for them will be path number 1.

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To be honest, I’m only just starting to realize that I don’t have a plan for my blog once that happens. There’s no plan, no telling what my days will look like or weeks will hold. No telling how many paths I’ll settle into. I have no idea where I’ll end up. 

For me, I love falling into fiction and writing my own ways out of this reality. Art in itself is a whole different kind of study in escapism. But this idea of figuring out where we’re headed and what we really need to be doing in order to get there, that’s something that escapism doesn’t really work for. There’s no running from time.

If I play my cards right this summer, I’ll head into senior year with a few extra options I created for myself. From books and extra skills to job prospects and even just a hunch of where I want to go next, one of the few things I can control is what I do right now.

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So who knows, maybe my version of turning a mundane summer into something interesting might just pay off in the long run. Again, if you tell the future, feel free to let me know what you think. Otherwise, I’ll have to wait just like everyone else.

At least we’ve got right now guaranteed. Happy Friday everyone. 

Taking Back My Initiative

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It’s been a very odd week here in SLO. After heading home for maybe 8 days, Nick and I got back to SLO on Sunday. Let me tell ya, summers here are much quieter than the school year. I mean, there is space to park outside my house… That never happens. 

So much open space outside is starting to remind me that while I know change happens quickly, I kind of forget about it until it hits me in the face. A couple years back, sophomore year of high school I think, I convinced my parents to let me get a bunny while running errands on the way home from a track meet; after all, we found ourselves in a feed store and still had a cage left over from previous rabbits at the house, so when I saw all these little floofs in a cage running around in the store…

Gotta love impulse buys. Fast forward a couple years, I’ve been meaning to bring sed rabbit here with me to college but I’ve been worried about neglecting her. Beyond that being sad, rabbits legitimately need a lot of physical love and time around their humans if they’re going to stay healthy. Last week, I finally realized that this summer would give me the time to hang out with her and she could cool off from 100 degrees to 70s the whole time too. A win-win if I do say so myself. 

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But the dream didn’t last very long at all. Long story short, she died on Tuesday morning of a fly strike (if you have a rabbit and don’t know what that is, please do check out the link here) and Nick came running into my room at 7am just in time for me to hold her and give her company. My bun, along with all those little moments and hopes I had for our summer together, were gone in under 2 minutes.

It may seem small, but add onto that a 180 with the 6 month old german shepherd mix that my brother and I are dog sitting. I forgot what it was like to have a pet around that–unlike a small rabbit–has so much uncensored energy, let alone his compulsion to steal our socks constantly and take naps with me on my bed. 

Just like that, my plans changed. And I’m starting to realize that I’m tired being the one it happens to instead of the one that makes it happen.

After throwing myself into a different kind of change, my junior year was full of me constantly moving, completing tasks, starting new ones, connecting to this person or that one, trying new things, and more often than not, surrounded by a whole lot of people.

So I figured this wee would be a much needed change. At least I had hoped it would.

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See, my plan for the summer was to work on my writing (crank out another novel, maybe two), teach myself to animate, working on storyboarding and art, painting, etc. You know, actually doing all the things I don’t have time to do during the year. And I’ve done almost all of it in just this week, minus the whole novel part. 

The challenge, though, is finding company to do it all with. Now I have to figure out who is here, who’s free/who would actually enjoy spending time with me, or where I can go make new friends. I mean, the thing about me is that I love my free time as much as anyone else, but spending my free time doing almost anything with the people I love is almost always preferred. 

In good company, any time can be a good time. But I’m also awkward in newer relationships to find sed company; without knowing where the boundaries are, I can’t always be sure if I can call someone at 11pm to drive around town with the windows down and the music up, or pull someone into late night shenanigans to attempt baking some random pastry at 2am because why not.

I can guarantee I’m not the only person who’s like this, especially in college or when our worlds become a revolving door of people and personalities. I told you, this year was the most social year of my entire life and the year ended just as quickly as it started up—while wonderful in the moment, such a thing tends to leave a little whiplash as to what just happened or what we’re left with at the end of it all.

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After this year compared to so many previous years of feeling insecure in my friendships, these changes are hard. Going from group to group before landing on something that feels secure only for summer break to get in the way, it’s exhausting. And a girl gets tired of being tired after a little while, you know? So I decided, maybe I’m going to take a little bit of my control back. I might edit that summer plan a little—take out a novel, add in some extra people with a pinch of my own initiative around personal happiness instead—and see where it takes me.

Before I end up in the “real” world and have a legitimate job tying me down, here’s to taking the wheel back in the last summer of this freedom we’re told that we hold.

Could be fun. Happy Friday.