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This morning, I woke up early, almost immediately conscious of the fact that it’s the last day of July. It’s been a quiet month, a quiet summer in a way that I haven’t had in years. I usually travel during this season, determined to celebrate the long days and sense of possibility.

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This year, I originally intended to do the same. I cleared my schedule to give myself several weeks without work, and thought of the places I could go: France, to study the language; Hawaii, to soak up the sun. I imagined a breezy time, carefree and wondrous, my skin turning golden, perhaps a glass in hand. I thought, too, of writing, my adventures fodder for stories I might compose, perhaps even a book I might pull together.

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Yet as time went on, as summer started to take shape, I felt a pull towards home this year. What would it be like to stay here, to stay in the moment, to go off of social media and embrace my everyday world? I was curious, and so I made the choice to prioritize my home and my community. It felt important, perhaps even crucial. I haven’t set the world on fire. I’ve had a summer of long walks, reading at any hour, baking when I’ve felt like it and yoga almost every day, always done at home and with my dogs nearby.

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It hasn’t cured my wanderlust, of course, so waking up this morning, the last day of July, I had to take a breath and remind myself that it’s ok to walk the duality of this part of my personality. I’m suddenly teetering on the edge of fall with a slight panic: what have I done, to embrace this time of year? Have I made the most of it?

Luckily, the gentle part of my heart answers: who, honestly, can say?

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The older I get, the more precious time becomes. I’m aware of it constantly, and though I’ve always tended towards that consciousness, I feel its weight more heavily now. In the midst of my early-morning panic, I had to remind myself that I made my decision to stay here, and it has been – in so many ways – beautiful.

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I don’t know what I’ll remember from this summer. The closest to achieving any goal has centered around creative output: I aimed to write a short story a week, at least a thousand words a day. While I didn’t quite clear that hurdle, I’ve got about 19,000 words divided among four stories, all in their roughest forms. They exist, where they didn’t before, and I’m proud of that.

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If that’s what I take from these months, it might just be enough. Maybe I won’t have sparkling tales of what my summer looked like, a dazzling type of war story displayed for all to see. Yet looking around at the home I love, I can stay centered in the decisions I made, and the joy I’ve found, the truth I’ve felt – this year at least – in staying still and letting summer work its magic, right where I am.

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Of course, it’s worth remembering: August is still on her way.

 

 

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