Summers can be hard.
Which kind of stinks, because aren't summers supposed to be easy? The heat slows you down, spending a day at the lake is your only homework, an ice cream cone is a balanced meal, your toes and your heart can take a deep breath.
These were summers of summers past, but not recently. As I have grown older and confronted the perfectionist beast inside of me, summers have routinely convinced me to make this summer the best summer yet.
This summer, I'll go to bed early and wake up early.
This summer, I'll run everyday.
This summer, I'll lose 10 more pounds.
This summer, I'll make more money.
This summer, I'll read for education and for pleasure.
This summer, I'll fully learn about and understand the Middle East.
This summer, I'll be so fit that I will finally feel comfortable in my body and go to the beach with friends.
And on and on.
(Sometimes being in my head is exhausting.)
These summer goals I make for myself, much like New Years Resolutions, amount to one great expectation: this summer, I'll be perfect. I'll be disciplined yet carefree; I'll be strong yet delicate; I'll do it all and make it seem effortless.
The summer I find myself in the midst of currently has been no different. The destructive voice in my head has been churning out goals at full speed: I am working three part-time jobs (nannying, interning at the Boys and Girls Club in Kalamazoo, and [still] interning with Adios Barbie) while also writing my Senior Individualized Project (SIP), due the first day of Fall Quarter.
But wait! There's more!
I'm hesitant to share this, but I still find it difficult to concentrate when sometimes all I can think about is how much I miss Maia. Her passing is tangible; I see her smile many times a day on my wall and feel her warmth when I cuddle with her stuffed giraffe, but sometimes I wonder if these reminders serve to trigger my pain when I am already feeling lonely. Or maybe I'm looking for an excuse to disregard SIP work and watch Orange is the New Black. It's a toss up. But dearest Maia, I miss you so.
A professor once told me that sometimes we can only improve one facet of our lives at a time, because we have finite reserves of energy, time, and patience with ourselves that we must protect for the long haul. I'm trying to nurture this wisdom during a time when I want to pull a Liz Lemon and "have it all". Because when I take a step back and look at the summer ahead of me, 11 weeks seems awfully short for a complete life revolution. Maybe this summer I am focusing on money, networking, and academic projects. Maybe that means I shouldn't train for a half marathon as well (an honest thought I have been having). Maybe that means I shouldn't let patriarchal oppressive beauty standards of acceptability convince me to fall back into old restrictive eating patterns (wait-- definitely. It definitely means that). Maybe that means I don't have to expend an exorbitant amount of energy on being a changed person when I return to school in the fall. Maybe change happens all on its own.
I have written before about my "less+more" lists, what I feel is a healthier alternative to sweeping resolutions. I've kept my old one in mind for the last 6 months or so, but I think this new season might call for a refreshing new list of what I want to do less and more of.
Less saying I'm ok when I'm not. Less Facebook. Less multi-tasking. Less gluten. Less wishing parts of my body away.
More meditation. More music. More looking at myself naked in the mirror and appreciating my body. More running (for fun, not for a race). More blogging.
Excuse me, while I go write these down in a place where I will see them often. We are all working projects, but that doesn't mean we need to work on all of our projects at once.