In Order to Move Forward, I Must Change



I’ve never understood the appeal of summer. It’s hot, sticky, heavy. I joke sometimes that I have the opposite of most people’s version of Seasonal Affective Disorder–a Pacific Northwest version where I get itchy and angry until the rain returns. My entire family is like this, and I give full credit to my Scottish heritage. The cool grey and the drops beating down have a way of reviving more than just the earth around me. They wash away the dust, and they wash clean my soul.

We’re creeping toward summer again, and I’m feeling the return of the hot, the heavy. As the temperature creeps up, so does my discomfort.

Lately, my life has been feeling hot, sticky, and heavy too. The scorching sun beats down relentlessly, and I don’t know what to do. I’m taking steps forward, but with forward momentum comes anxiety, thick around me like the summer heat I can’t shake.

I’m preparing for grad school, caring for an ailing parent, working full-time. Heck, these days even just trying to keep up with USA politics is beyond me, much less the everyday tasks of eating and sleeping. It’s hard, and it’s summer.

I’ve lived in the same spot for three years now, and one of my favorite things about it is my patio that overlooks city lights and bits of ocean. It’s this patio that has inspired me to try to embrace the season I love the least.

As a commitment to summer, and to myself, each year I make the patio a little better. The first summer, I dusted off the rickety old patio chairs that came with my place. Last year, I sprang for better chairs, and this year, a table and a little pot of lavender.

There’s something about decorating my patio, bit by bit, that feels sacred and also very commonplace. It’s a bit like flipping the bird at this unwanted season. “You can’t get the last word, Summer. That’s not how this is going down.”

My patio isn’t faultless. It’s hella hot in the afternoons and it’s practically a wildlife sanctuary for mosquitos. However, I’m determined to sit my butt out there in those damn patio chairs with iced coffee. I’m determined to find a way through this season.

[Tweet: “I can’t change the fact that in order to move forward, I must change.”]

I can’t change the fact that Washington summers have turned into four months straight of 90 degree weather where we grumble from our old, un-insulated, un-air-conditioned houses. I can’t change my family circumstances, crazy politics, or how hard it can be to make a solid meal. I can’t change the fact that in order to move forward, I must change–I must propel myself through school.

But what my patio is teaching me is this: I can find a way to make myself at home here anyway.