The Myth that is My “Summer”

When I was little, summer used to be this really big, exciting thing. I’d long for it for months; I’d dream about what I’d do with all that time off from school once I had it — play make believe games, and go for adventures in the woods behind my house, and go on family vacations, and go to camp, and just… go everywhere, do everything. When I was little, I wanted to do everything with my summers, because summer meant freedom, back then.

When you’re little, the adults make all of the plans. They decide where you’re going and when and what you’ll do when you get there, but there were always forgotten moments during the long, hot summers that the adults were too busy to dictate what you were doing, and you got to make the plans, for once.

It was magical, and it was free, and it was what made sitting in a classroom for the entire school year worth suffering through.

Now, summer is for working.

Sure, I don’t have a paying job at the moment, but I don’t have time for one — I spend my mornings and afternoons focusing on my writing, my evenings at play rehearsals, and my weekends doing more of the same. I’m hosting a writing conference in a couple of weeks for a group of teenagers, and I’m busy preparing for that. Whenever I’m not busy writing or acting or conference prepping for five seconds, I’m either sleeping or doing the dishes (while eating something super unhealthy, like my current craving: nachos *mmmm*).

Meanwhile, I’m behind on things. Yesterday I realized I forgot to do something for the conference that was supposed to be done a couple of weeks ago, I’m just now beginning to get my stuff together for college, and my room is still not clean, despite being two months into summer–all of which is much to my parents’ chagrin.

What happened to summer? What happened to freedom, relaxing, making plans and then just going and doing them? My schedule is completely booked up for the next two weeks, and it sucks, because my friends want to go to an amusement park for a day, and I can’t go with them. I can’t do anything with my nights this week, because I have theatre every day (although, on the upside, the company’s all going to see The Dark Knight Rises together at midnight on Thursday, so I at least still get to do that).

I am trapped, and I am hectic, and I’m still not doing everything that I’m supposed to be doing. I’m falling behind, I’m falling through on commitments, and isn’t that what school is for, not summer? Isn’t summer supposed to be for recharging your batteries, not for draining them even further?

I had one little taste of summer yesterday, when I was out shopping with my mom for supplies for the conference. We were coming back from a t-shirt store, driving home, when she asked me if I’d like to go to Jo-Ann Fabrics, since we were out and about anyway. I almost said no, because there was stuff I needed to get done at home, but then there was that thought–it’s summer–and I said, “Sure, let’s go.”

Isn’t that sad? That the wildest, craziest thing I’ve done in weeks is go to Jo-Ann Fabrics?

And the worst part of it all is that I’m the one who caged myself in. I’m the one who signed up for all these things I’m busy doing.

Whereas the adults used to dictate my life, scheduling me into a hole all summer, now I’m the one doing it! (Hurray for me, right?)

There are so many things that I care about, and so many things that I’m scared of falling behind on: I desperately want to be an author. Desperately. And I’m addicted to acting, and I love helping other people, and there are just so many things that I want to put my all into, but there’s just not enough time or energy for all of it, so I’m falling behind.

And it’s summer. IT IS SUMMER. And I know it’s supposed to be part of growing up, no longer having the freedom to explore and have adventures and all that, but this is not acceptable. I’m eighteen years old, and I work more hours a week than my parents do, and I’m not even getting paid anything for it.

I love to write and I love to act, so I really don’t want to complain about those things. But I need a break. I need a week of this-is-Julia’s-relaxing-time. But I feel like I can’t do that, because I have so many commitments and there are so many things that need to get done.

What happened to summer, and why in the world is it even busier than the school year was?

In other news, the winning option from the Wordy Wednesday poll was to post a new chapter of Cadence, so be looking out for that this Wednesday!

~Julia

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6 thoughts on “The Myth that is My “Summer”

  1. sorry i have been too busy to read your blog resently and this is not my computer so i do not have spell check sorry about that as well. i find it funny that the first thing i read is about how buty summer is and i feel the exact same way. i do not have a paying job and want to get back into acting but i do not have a car to get to rehursals. my driving test is in august, i want to throw a hunger games birthday party and show the movie. my sat scores were not high enough so i have to study to take it again in the fall. Ap homework is killing me. my escape from the world is a mystery puzzle 1000 peices and i have no idea what it will look like when it is finished. for now that puzzle is keeping me from a nervous break down i hope you find your escape the puzzle is mine, i thought wrighting was your but that is causing you stress now too. we are strong and as long as accomplishments are being made at least something worth while has been done. good luck with everything. 🙂

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  2. I know exactly what you mean. As a teacher, the lure of the summer kept me going many, many times (probably more than i should admit! Haha), but my summer is not quite turning out to be the break i had convinced myself i needed. Of course being up in Michigan was nice and fun, but it was still packed non-stop with things to do. And now that I’m back home, I’m taking summer school classes for teaching certification (that i didn’t know i needed to take until just before i left for michigan-had to cut the trip a little short), trying to cram in rosetta stone spanish lessons, getting organized for when school starts and oh yeah, wedding planning.

    I think the best way to handle it though is to be careful to not lose sight of the big picture. There’s a reason you chose to sign up for all those things, and i know how easy it is to forget that when life gets stressful. Just do your best and focus on the things that mean the most to you. The rest will fall into place. And take advantage of the little breaks that come along. Live in the moment for those, and try not to think of all the things you should be getting done. Sometimes a break is necessary to be more efficient. You are doing something worthwhile with your time when a lot of other teenagers are sitting around being bored. That is something to be proud of!

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  3. At least you’re doing things — my summer ends up with me just not doing what I wanted to and feeling unproductive.

    But I suggest you take a bath and make a pot of tea and give yourself one day where you don’t do anything except read a book or watch a movie or something you really want to do. Surely you can spare one day.

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    • Maybe once school starts I’ll be able to take a Saturday off or something, but not right now. Today I have a six hour rehearsal, tomorrow I’m going to U of M for the morning, going to book club in the afternoon, and then going to another rehearsal in the evening, along with doing some major conference work. And then I have rehearsal Tuesday and Wednesday, and the show Thursday through Saturday. And then there’s strike, and the mad dash to the conference the week after, and then it’s another mad dash, this time to getting ready for college–I move in three weeks after WIC, and one of those weeks is going to be spent on a family vacation (which, knowing my family, will be more of a sprint than a jog), and I just have FAR too much stuff to buy and pack and do. And meanwhile I have a huge stack of novels to edit, along with keeping up with my own stuff, and I haven’t been to a voice lesson in like TWO MONTHS, and I AM DROWNING HERE!!!

      Okay. Breathe, Julia, breathe. I am breeeeathing.

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