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