The Longest Summer

Summer Pallet

When friends and family ask what I’m up to on any given night or on the weekend I usually respond, “I’m just laying low.” They give empathetic replies because for the most part they are doing the same. This year has worn the hell out of everyone but especially the people that have been on the front lines of the madness the whole time. The news cycle, the virus, the Lindas and Daves — the whole damn thing has battered so many people to the floor that the energy to go do things just isn’t in the cards. It seems that all I ever do is lay low. But I am a social person. I like going out. I love seeing my friends and family. Summertime is usually filled with baseball, tan bodies at the pool and the sense that we can all have a break for a short time. That wasn’t the case for a huge part of the population. And now we head into winter. 

Summer Elevator

Part of my personal shift was revealed through my new job. I don’t have the money or the time off to take trips. I shifted my priorities and it changed how I have experienced summer. Even if I did have the means, things are only starting to open in major American cities. It’s a strange summer of solitude and possibly of growth.

My mental health has taken some serious blows this year. And you can see the same struggles with everyone playing out in the public sphere. But I keep clawing my way back up by reminding myself that I’m not alone. I’d like to think we are in this together. I’ve fallen in and out of healthy habits several times over the course of the hottest months. I’ll eat right for a week but find an excuse to devour comfort food and fall right back off. The battle rages every damn day. The love handles remain. And those demons I fight on a regular basis are hanging out like friends from college I can’t seem to shake. Or maybe I don’t let them remain because they are fun. I guess that’s another thing to think about.

Pallet Jack Summer

With the exception of consistency in “laying low”, discipline has been severely lacking in my life. Even though I stay home all of the time right now and I want to make a living as a writer, I find sitting down is the hardest thing to do. The words come easy but making the time to place them on the page and plopping my ass into a chair feels like a chore. I know what I need to do but I don’t do it. I watch borrowed Netflix or HBO Max or read. I haven’t maximized my time at home and I know I’m not alone with my struggle.

As we head into winter things will need to change, because the opportunities to go outside will be more infrequent and the walls will close in faster than before. Staying disciplined, focused and creative in our endeavors is of the utmost importance. We will all need to fight those demons since the lockdowns won’t be ending. Communication with those we love will have to be open and continuous. It’s been one hell of a summer, and as we head into what might be more lonely hours, let’s remember to maximize our time and push through to a better 2021.