Personal Growth, Seasonal Activities

Summer sweetness amid life’s bitterness

When I was a kid, I lived for summer. Afternoons spent splashing in the pool, sleeping on blankets in the grass, and slurping frozen ice pops – those were the days. It was pure bliss.

Even when I was in college, I still thought of summer with eager anticipation. Summers as a college student looked different, but were still something to look forward to – visiting friends and traveling to foreign countries and catching up with family.

Now I am a full-fledged adult. As we begin to transition into another summer, I find that I don’t have the anticipation that I used to. I have allowed myself to be so weighed down by the cares of this world that I sometimes have a hard time remembering the good things.

Adulting can be hard.

Over the past few years, I’ve certainly had my share of unfair challenges. I’ve had more moments of “why me?” and self-pity than I care to admit.

Yet through it all, some things haven’t changed. Summer can still be magical. There are still pools and sun-warmed blankets and frozen ice pops and friends and family and travel. What has changed is what I’ve chosen to focus on.

I could focus on the crap. At the end of the day, however, we all have unfair things happen to us.

Unfairness takes different forms with different people – illness, disability, crime victimization, race. But “unfair” misfortune really is remarkably universal. It’s the sugar cookie effect.

I’m writing this on a Saturday afternoon. When I woke up this morning, I decided to take a “be kind to Lauren” day. I slept in and skipped everything I’d had planned for the day. I treated myself to breakfast at Chick-fil-a, then took a hammock to the park and read for hours. There may have been a little napping thrown in there, too.

After I returned from the park, life reared its ugly, unfair head once again. I almost let it get the better of me. I felt myself quickly slipping into anger and bitterness.

But we are all running around covered in some type of unpleasantness. What defines us is how we choose to react to it. Today I’m choosing to remember the beauty of summer, the joys of sunny days and carefree afternoons.

Maybe I’ll even make a batch of sugar cookies, to remind myself that no matter how bitter life may be, there is always something sweet in it, too.

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