Rethinking “Summer” This Year

I’m sure I’m not the only childless adult not in school and who does not work for a school who looks forward to summer.

I did, however, spend 19 years in school, so I know a little bit about looking forward to summer break.

Summer is still a break in many senses for me. I tend to have less joint pain, the sunshine is great and the longer hours of daylight help my moods and mental states considerably. I don’t mind the heat, I like wearing fewer clothes (I find jackets and layers constricting), I like the herbs and veggies right out of the garden and I all around am a summer kind of girl.

For the last few years I’ve looked at summer as a time of seasonal improvement, if you will. Ok, it’s about to be summer, this summer I am going to do this list of goals related to my health and well being and have fun and experience new things and just live life!

That hasn’t happened.

I spent two summers ago caring for my brother. I spent last summer in bed a lot while fighting depression caused by PTSD and exhaustion caused by caring for ill and injured family members for two years. Both summers I had wanted to live that vision of a big summer life, and both summers I did not and was mostly at home. When I did get out and about last year it was for work. I did take a trip out to the desert, but a few days out of an entire summer fell far short of my intentions.

This year I have zero plans, interests, or goals for SUMMER!

It might be because that hasn’t worked out for me yet, it might be because I’ve been really busy with work, it might be because I haven’t realized that summer has just about arrived, but I think it’s because I’m not desperately looking for an escape this year.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m wanting an escape several hours out of the day, most days. I would love a two week vacation – a real vacation – so much. This year, however, after working so hard for months to accept myself – PTSD and all – and to address my symptoms and to make healthier choices and to get out of bed and after working harder and smarter at my job…I might not be so desperate to escape. And I might not be building “summer” up as a season of escape, but rather accepting it as a continuation of the past few months of effort. Because what I need is not a bunch of brunch and pool time and late nights and weekend trips, what I need is to keep working at transitioning from a person who can barely get out of bed to a person who can manage a busy work week, PTSD and the fallout of five years of downward spiraling due to an injury no one can see and I didn’t have a handle on. There are not enough cute dresses and sweaty workouts and brunch cocktails and filtered selfies on Instagram to fix what I deal with or erase the scars of trauma.

For me it will be the slow, steady, show up every day and do the hard work that will get me to a place that I view summer as a season of enjoyment rather than a season of escape, and I am not there yet. But I will keep working at it until I am.

photo of woman in white short sleeved crop top and brown sun hat posing by sunflower field
Photo by YURI MANEI on

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