First…I want to say thanks to everyone for your comments on my last post, your tweets of encouragement, your texts and emails and phone calls that have helped bring a little light to a very frustrating and sometimes overwhelming situation. I owe a great deal of gratitude to each and every one of you for the support you’ve shown me, not just these past few weeks, but throughout the years. You have all become so much more than a community to me — you’ve become friends, and friendship is not something I take lightly. I don’t feel I’ll ever be able to say it enough: thank you.
* * * * *
Hey, thanks, thanks for that summer
It’s cold where you’re going
I hope that your heart’s always warm…
Dashboard Confessional, “So Long Sweet Summer”
There’s something about the changing of the seasons that always seems so bittersweet. Actually, it’s more about the change from summer to fall that leaves the heart a little bit nostalgic, if not a little more wistful. When you reach for your jacket before heading outside, you briefly wonder when it was that everything changed again, as if summer merely sighed and fall slipped past without you even noticing.
There’s a clarity in the air now– as if these next few months are offering you a chance to breathe after the stiffling heat; you can slow down now…You can slow down, you can take your time.
People always talk about fall and how it’s a season for change — change in the colors of the leaves, change in our wardrobe for warmer wear, change in the harvest, change in habits and routine as we begin to stay in, closer to home…It’s the beginning of the end of one life cycle, readying itself for another.
Fall seems to be in that place of perfect balance, all about looking back and moving forward, and all I can think is:
I’m ready to look back and move forward, too.
It was a whirlwind of a summer, one that I don’t think I’ll soon forget. There weren’t so many huge, life-alterning events that made it so memorable, but there were BBQs, there were concerts, there were short vacations and longer staycations; there were friends, there was family, there was maybe a little bit of summer romance.
These were the little moments that added up, the little moments that mattered.
One of my best and oldest friend’s newborn son was baptized in a church in late May — a Catholic church; a church whose teachings seemed so familiar but that I hadn’t believed in for years. And while I still don’t believe in those tenants, being there in that church, being there for them, left me humbled.
I was happily watching something so precious, moved by the memories of who these friends once were, feeling so proud of who they had become and who they, still, someday will be. I think it was there, in that church on that May day, watching my friends build a family and feeling so full of joy for them, that I let myself find faith again. And maybe, in some strange way, I began to find myself…
When June rolled around, we were kicking wedding mode into high gear. My best friend was getting married, and she had asked me to be her Maid of Honor. Bridal shower, bachelorette party, dress fittings, wedding-favor-assembly…It didn’t seem like there was a moment to spare between pulling off surprises for our soon-to-be-married friends and helping to coordinate the last-minute details; afterwards, I would find that I actually missed the excitement of it all.
I still can’t put into words how it felt to see Sarah so happy; maybe it’s because I don’t think I’ll ever be able to put into words just what she means to me. There are some people in your life that become more than your best friend — they become family. And to describe the depth of emotion that you can feel for your family — the way that I feel for mine — seems an impossible feat. Nothing I ever write could do it justice.
And maybe nothing I write could do justice why it was so personally memorable to me; maybe nothing I write can explain how I had found parts of myself I had long kept buried, protected, and just what it meant to not only acknowledge this but to change it. One simple night. Suffice it to say, it was another new beginning, another chance.
It’s funny how people can become more than a name, more than a Twitter handle or 10-digit phone number, in the space of a few conversations. It’s amazing how those people can embed themselves in your heart without you even noticing, and when you do notice, you don’t question it — you know how precious a friendship is; you know enough not to take it for granted.
So these people — these “online internet people,” these “twitterers” and “bloggers” completely and irrevocably become a part of your life. And you chat and you email and you text and you call and, if you’re lucky enough, you meet.
In July, Anna flew up from Georgia to visit for a week.
“You met this person online?” My co-worker asked, incredulously.
“And you’ve never met in person?”
“And she’s staying with you?”
That’s just it, though. Through these forums — through email and phone calls and reading their blogs and seeing how they interact with others –you get to know a person on a more intimate level. So while Anna and I had never officially met before, we had known each other for years.
As it turned out, it became one of the best weeks of this summer…
– NKOTBSB. It was the last Saturday of July — not quite August, but close enough. It was hot — the early evening air was filled with that suffocating mugginess that made it hard to breathe. Or maybe it was just the excitement lingering in the air that made you catch your breath. Either way, I didn’t care. There were a thousand and one screaming girls in the stadium and I would make a thousand and two.
In a matter of seconds, I was eight years old again. Next to us, girls our age screamed as they held posters and waved boy band dolls.
If my brother hadn’t thrown my Joey doll down the stairs twenty years ago, I would have been right there with them.
– August 31st marked the first anniversary of owning my own house. Even now, I can’t believe I made this happen. Sometimes I wonder just how much is fate, and just how much is you…and how much it’s both, working together.
– August 31st also announced my promotion at work. After two years, I’m now in a “senior” position, which sounds more important than it really is, but international marketing and social media initiatives — which I’ve been introducing to the company and for which I’m happily considered a lead — has officially been included in my job description. To say I’m stoked is an understatement. It’s pretty cool to feel valued and trusted in a job, and to be surrounded by people whose company you truly enjoy makes it that much more worth it.
Sometimes it feels like you’ll never get to where you want to be, but sometimes where you end up along the way can make a difference.
Sometimes, you have to let life surprise you.
So that was my summer. Looking back, I don’t think I could have expected any of it — or at least, I couldn’t have expected what it all would mean.
Thinking about where I was then and where I am now, thinking about where I am now and where I could be, I begin to realize…
Maybe the season isn’t the only thing that’s changing.