That Summer Feeling

July 13, 2017

That Summer Feeling
And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.                   F. Scott Fitzgerald 
Every year since I can remember, after that final bell rang and I stepped into the long-awaited warmth of a June day's sunshine, summer has been my revival. After months of wearing long pants, checking the weather with bated breath to see if it was finally warming up, and trying on last year's shorts only to realize they no longer fit, summer would arrive. And with it, summer would bring freedom. Freedom in the form of late nights because the sun doesn't set until eight or nine. Freedom in that ice cream is unlimited because it's just so hot out. Freedom coming from the ability to drive with the windows down, music blasting from the radio. 

It always seemed as though the world collectively relaxed in the summer. (Or, at least the places that experience warm weather during the months of June, July, and August). Pools, beaches, water parks, and theme parks reopen. Restaurants start opening up outdoor seating, concerts move to venues under the setting sun, and street fests take place nearly every weekend. There is so much less to worry about; all that really seems troubling is the occasional sunburn from a well-enjoyed day outside or an ice cream cone that melts too fast. 

Summer, you seem to hold endless possibilities. Lie down on a patch of grass, stare up at the bluest sky, and you'll know the feeling. The words to describe it may not come to you, but I assure you, you will feel the sun beating down on your arms, the grass tickling your legs, the pressure of the earth on your spine: a sure sign you are alive. And you will know. Summer releases you from the bonds of thick layers and dry skin. Summer tells you it's okay to stay out an extra hour; live a little. Summer lets you forget that your hair is messy from blowing back in the wind of a wild car ride. 

In the past, June's sunshine has been the welcome hug I awaited for several months. The rays engulfing my skin, darkening the pigment, bringing out my freckles, lightening my mood, told me not to worry. But now — summer is not giving me that hug. I am desperately trying to grasp that summer feeling — the one that has always presented itself in years past — to no avail.

Whether it be the unfortunate rain that has plagued my city in June and July, or the unfulfilling work I'm doing that is so different from anything I've ever known, I cannot even remember what it was like to feel free. As I mature throughout my college years and begin looking to the future, I lose more and more of the rampant youthful energy I had just a few summers ago. And it makes no sense to me.

Only 20 years of my life have gone by, yet I feel a burden of fully-fledged adulthood. Instead of planning movie nights under the stars, picnics, and late-night ice cream runs, I get in bed at 10 o'clock and call it a night. The whole world is waiting outside, and summer has always been my time to explore it. Why can't I reignite that summer feeling?

I want to rediscover my past summers. I want to remember the feeling of the grass, the sunshine, the endless possibilities — I want to have that summer feeling again. But then, I ask myself, how do you find an intangible something that has been lost? And will recreating it imperfectly only lead to more distress?

That summer feeling is continuing to elude me. But can I find it again? 

What does “that summer feeling” mean to you?

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