The Last Year of Summer Vacations

Sheppard performing at Lolla 2015

Currently Listening to: Dear Catastrophe Waitress by Belle and Sebastian

The Ghost of Summers Past

I’ve never been a huge fan of Sunday nights. In my eyes, the weekend’s true ending was Saturday night. Sunday was always a laid back day nevertheless. The most rigorous summer Sundays mainly consisted of either yard-work or maybe an early shift at the restaurant. When it came to those nights, regardless of it was a school night or summer, there was always a sense of dread to accompany. Parents went back to work, kids went to school/work, and dog became lonely until around three in the afternoon.

One thing is for sure though, nothing was worse or better than that last night of summer vacation. I can pinpoint any year of school and be able to tell you if I was excited for it or not. Spoiler alert: anything after 8th grade was anything but thrilling. Not that being greeted to the scent of high school pubescence in the halls wasn’t wonderful its just that I’ll miss looking into my eyelids at 7am instead of the back of some kids head behind a patched up seat on the school bus.

One thing occurred to me while on a FaceTime call this past weekend though that lead me with a bittersweet taste in my mouth. Ready for this phrasing? This past Sunday was my last last day of summer vacation. After this there would be no more school year anticipation and anxiousness to keep my late night thoughts company while staring intently at the ceiling or the wall next to my bed. This year was especially different given the crumbling state of our country. Summer 2020 felt like a summer when I was in elementary school. The kind where I practically stayed at home for a majority of it, the only difference was that I had work and there was a sense of ‘hey I can potentially catch an incurable disease out here if I’m not careful, haha!’.

Bummer Staycation

I’m totally not alone when it comes to expectations of what this summer would’ve been if not for the covid-19 pandemic. In early February I was infatuated with the idea of barbecues, baseball games, dinners out with family and friends, swimming, beach trips… you get the picture. Think of every single stereotypical summer vacation idea and I had hoped the world that those summer days would be in the future. Given that nearly none of that happened and summer vacation just kind of blended in with the morbid online schooling of spring 2020 semester, I was pretty much ready for my last year of college.

Although I feel prepared for the year ahead and have come to terms (we’ll see how long it takes for that to change) with this being my last year of school I can’t help but feel slightly disappointed that I was deprived of my senior summer. I felt like a whiny 16 year old girl whose idea of her sweet sixteen was nothing as how it turned out. Only difference is that I couldn’t exactly do much about it and that I’m not a 16 year old girl (sure you’re glad I cleared that up).

As stated previously though, I have never really been ready for summer to end, but this year I totally was ready. That is in no way a bad thing though because ever since I transferred to a university my passion for learning has come around full circle. I actually adore school now. Just goes to show how a few good professors can really influence a student’s perception of attaining knowledge (shoutout to Professor Swan and Semali).

Summer 2020 was still nevertheless enjoyable for what it was. As an adult, the past few summers were a bit less magical than in years prior since as a kid summer is a sacred thing that can’t be touched. When you’re a kid the only three times you can’t mess with are video-gaming time, bedtime, and summertime. I guess you can argue dinnertime, but even as an adult if you mess with any mealtime we may have an issue at hand that can only be resolved with a sing-off or dance-off. In all seriousness don’t mess with my food EVER.

Doing Backstrokes in the Fountain of Youth

I would give thousands of dollars to regain childhood wonder and magic. Those summers of going to the waterpark on Sundays, going out on Friday nights with my family, seeing my grandparents Monday through Wednesday, and going to concerts are memories that I wouldn’t give up for all the money or 17 grain bread in the world (bread isn’t exactly currency I just really like 17 grain bread). I always looked forward to the next adventure, the next activity, the next trip to the park, the next time I would get to go to Target. I just looked forward to any sort of summer excursion no matter what it was.

This isn’t to say that I don’t see magic in anything anymore. I still get excited to see my family, to go out with friends, to go on dates, even to see my coworkers. Finding the beauty in little everyday activities is the biggest relief of dopamine I could possibly fathom. Writing this entry itself gives me so much joy and comfort with how easily I can write this and not feel any weight of life push down on my sore shoulders.

Adulthood and childhood are two entirely separate entities and that goes without question or even a second thought. Both have their perks and their strains, but I will always have a special place in my heart for that wonder I felt on many summer activities in the past. The enthralling rush of anxiety I would feel before pitching a baseball game, the wonder I felt taking the train to the city and seeing the skyline, the beauty of seeing the lake front in the distance driving up the dunes, the euphoria I felt for my childhood friends whenever we would meet up with each other… I’ll just never take those memories for granted.

Looking Ahead

So even though this is was my last last day of summer and my last first day of school I can’t help but feel optimistic for future summers. Sure, it’ll most likely blend in with most other days given that schooling will be a soon memory of the past, but I have high hopes of what those days will consist of. The one thing I think about often is how much I appreciate how my parents introduced my siblings and I to so many different activities and places. I think about how when I have kids how excited I’ll be to take them on small adventures and do little activities that hopefully invoke some sort of love with each day that follows. To create traditions that follow for years to come. Even if the ‘childhood wonder’ is a thing of the past for me I’m sure it’ll feel just as good to give that feeling to my kids one day. In the meantime, I’ll stay content with the excitement I feel every time I see a cool sunset or come across a cute dog. I promise my life is more exciting than this heheh *sweats nervously*.

Published by cpetschke

College student, writer, music lover, listener, learner.

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