“A little bit of summer’s what the whole year’s all about.”
– John Mayer
As summer comes to a close (for us college kids, anyways), I reflect on the fantastic moments of the past three months. Inevitably, every summer is coined as “the best summer of my life,” full of new adventures, friends, places, and lessons that I hope to carry with me into the fall months. But every summer, when it rains it floods, and it makes for not-so-good days. From the beautiful sunny weather to kayaking through the streets, here are 14 lessons that the Summer of 2014 taught me:
1. The Beach is ALWAYS a Good Idea
Rain or shine. Good day or bad. Alone or with my 40 closest friends. The beach was never a bad idea, but always a great one this summer. I discovered a new sense of appreciation for living by the water and soaking up the sun any chance I had. There were days I was out as long as the sun itself and other days that I spent an hour, if that, to take it all in one last time before the sun went to bed. No matter the reason or rhyme, the beach made this summer something special with every visit.
2. Summer Hits of the ‘90s are Still the Summer Hits of Today
Arguably the most popular Pandora station, Summer Hits of the ‘90s took on a whole new meaning for me this year. Blink-182, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Weezer will be the soundtrack to every summer – they’re the classics. You can’t be in a bad mood with the windows rolled down listening to 1985 by Bowling for Soup; it’s impossible!
3. Boys Make Great Best Friends, But Terrible Friends With Benefits (FWB)
It’s time to DTR (Define the Relationship), so let’s keep that relationship status at BFF and not change it to FWB – it’s for everyone’s sake, I promise. He’s not the relationship type and his friends (who are your friends, too) don’t want to hear about what happened that one (or almost every) Wednesday night in June.
4. Take Out the Old and Bring In the New
If you’re anything like me, you are set in your ways. You have your friends, your routine, and your summer bucket list planned out before the start of March. But this summer, I learned that everyday is a new day. I had decided in May to let go of the past year, semester, and month to open myself up to anything and everything this summer had to offer. I made so many new friends (and sadly, but surely got rid of some old ones). I brought into my life a new perspective and took advantage of new opportunities – the view is much better from here, trust me.
5. Boy Roommates are the Best Summer Roommates
To my sorority sisters, old roommate, and future roommates – I love you all dearly, but seriously, we are so dramatic when we live together. The shower isn’t clean enough or I forgot to hang up my dress that one (or one hundred) times. But guess what? Boys don’t care, and in the summer, neither should you. I have to brag, I lived with two absolutely incredible dudes. They taught me so much and added a new sense of adventure to my life. So ladies, take that chance, you can deal with the “boy scent” and the dishes never being done for three months.
6. Make “Yes” Your New Best Friend
“Do you want to go shopping?” “Wanna drive to the beach?” “Happy Hour tonight?” “Make a reservation at that new restaurant?” “Let’s go on an adventure?” “Can we throw a party?”
YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES.
7. Take a Trip – To Anywhere
My summer trip this year was to Wild and Wonderful West Virginia. I know what you’re thinking… Was I going to attend a wedding where my cousins were getting married (to each other) or did I sit in the creek and fish the entire trip? Well, no… to both of those. I found a new sense of pride for nature, beauty, and adventure on my trip back home. I spent three days in the forest where I went zip lining and white water rafting and had the time of my life! Cabins and fire pits have a special place in my heart now – but don’t get me wrong, I love the beach house and country club, too.
8. Don’t Forget The Faithful Friends
I had the incredible opportunity to have two very close friends of mine visit me for a short time this summer. It’s so easy to get caught up on life, work, exams, extra activities, and everything else under the sun – but don’t let it be too easy to forget those friends that live 1,000 miles away. Invite them to visit you – and next summer, go visit them! If you start now, in 10, 15, 20 years, you’ll be alternating years and visiting friends all over the world. If they’ve been your friend for longer than 6 years and they stuck through your freshman year of college (yeah, you know what I’m talking about), keep them around!
9. Forgive AND Forget
People suck – some worse than others – and hurt is a natural and healthy thing to experience. When your friends cancel on that trip you’ve been planning for months or don’t show up to that dinner you invited them to or forget your birthday, forgive. You are not weak for forgiving them but rather strong. You prove your loyalty to friendship in these moments. Not only should you forgive, but you should also forget. Don’t hold it over their head. If you carry any bad memories into the fall, they will come back to haunt you… And your Halloween costume will be scary enough.
10. Memorize the Brunch (and Happy Hour) Menus at Your Favorite Restaurants
It’s not every week you can sip wine on a Wednesday at 5:00pm while eating the best sushi on the East Coast for half off or spend your Sunday morning in your most comfortable hangover dress and drink bottomless mimosas and eat the most delicious omelet you’ve ever had in your life. When you have meetings, work, class, and studying you don’t have the luxury of brunching at a new restaurant every weekend until you’ve had them all or finding the best happy hour deals in the city… So now’s your chance: Ready. Set. Drink.
11. Spontaneous is Splendid
Between commenting on that friend’s Facebook status that you haven’t seen in two years to buying tickets on Sunday for a concert on Monday that’s two hours away from you (and it end up being the best concert of your life) – spontaneous decisions could end up leading to the best memories of the summer. So call that friend out of the blue, buy that plane ticket without a return date, and for once in your life, don’t make a plan.
12. Live in the Moment
Enjoy every second of every single day.. It’s pretty simple, but much easier said than done. Even the bad times in the summer are better than the bad times in every other season, and that’s a good enough reason to smile. Enjoy that party with your 100+ closest friends and turn up the music a little bit louder. You only get summer once a year, so take advantage of every minute of it. This is the season that you have that calendar countdown for. You can sleep when you’re dead!
13. It’s OK to Be Introverted… Even if You Are An Extrovert.
After a practically perfect summer, it’s certainly ok to take time for yourself to reflect and appreciate life – in fact, that’s normal. I, of all people, know what its like to wonder what it might be like to miss out on that party or skip that dinner to lay in bed with a journal, good book, or your favorite movie. But this summer made it all a little bit better. I feel more comfortable than ever to be alone and I have discovered the cure to FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)
14. And That’s Exactly What Autumn is For
With the turn of every new season comes the prime opportunity to do things differently – to be whoever you want to be. I know my skin color wasn’t the only thing that changed this summer. I have made some huge improvements to my lifestyle, mindset, and daily habits. Your friends will think the summer was good for you and they’ll like the new and improved you (they don’t have to know what you did last summer).
So fall in love (with yourself) as the leaves turn brown.