For some reason, my generation has agreed that summer 2016 was the best summer of our young lives. There have been Tik Toks, tweets, and memes made about how no summer will ever top 2016.
2016 was the summer I graduated high school. I was still 17 and my friends and I were always together after we got off work from our foodservice jobs. It was my first summer hosting at my new job, the first time my mom let me go to Firefly, and choker necklaces were super popular. I still had my graduation tassel hanging from my rearview mirror, I didn't have a curfew anymore, and I felt wildly invincible. There's nothing that will make me 17, or 18 again, but something has happened over these past three years to change me to appreciate the life I live and moments at hand.
Of course, we choose to remember the good and suppress the bad. Most times, I get over things quickly and tend to forget any bad feelings I had. Well, after some deep diving I remembered what I hated about the summer of 2016. Flaky and late people- dates. friends, and more. My friends never knew how to be on time and I was always early. I would spend hours sometimes waiting for them and spending my time walking through stores, driving down Coastal Highway, and sitting in parking lots before meeting up. I couldn't go home because I lived 30 minutes away with beach traffic and it wouldn't be worth the drive. So I waited. It was very upsetting to me at the time how we would arrange to meet somewhere at 9:30 and no one would be there. To this day they are terrible communicators through text.
What's changed this summer is me not caring enough. If they aren't going to try, then why should I? If stress can be avoided, find a way. I chose to change my attitude because I know that we can never stick to plans and I was setting unrealistic expectations that they would be on time. Now, I hardly show up on time and I let them choose what we do. They're not bad friends, they just don't like living within time constraints and honestly, after doing as they do, I can see why.
Another bad attribute from summer 2016 was how open and talkative I was. No one needs to hear every detail and listening to people go on and on is tiring. Although I didn't talk for hours, I still told everyone and anyone, every little detail about my life. Now, I keep secrets. Not secrets as in things I'm purposely hiding, but rather things I do that no one really needs to know about.
Though this summer has barely taken off, and technically, according to the Summer Solstice, it has just started, there has been less turmoil and more fun in my life than any summer before. Two notable differences in my life have occurred. I have a second job and work more days and shifts now, therefore being a lot busier. And my mindset and attitude have totally shifted and I'm focusing my free time on the things that matter.
During summer 2016, I stayed out late and woke up late. Before I would have to go into work at 4:30, I'd spend that time mindlessly watching Netflix or scrolling through Instagram all day. So far this summer, I wake up early each morning, make my bed, and begin my day either working or spending time with my friends at the beach. Sometimes I do stay up late to hang out with my friends, but the mornings are too peaceful to pass up.
Getting up and running errands or getting to the beach by 10 am makes for the best days. It all makes sense that it feels better to wake up early right? There are countless articles that tell the morning routines of successful and happy people. A few summers ago, I hated the days because it meant staying inside all day (on my own account) and now by waking up early, I have the time and positivity to achieve anything.
Another thing that has made me feel like a new person is caring less about my presence on social media, living in the moment, and focusing on the people around me. The ultimate reason I feel so good about this summer is because I'm slowly shifting my priorities in the right direction. I don't see my friends all the time, but I see them many times a week. Before, all nine of us in our friend group always had to hang out in a large group. This summer, a few friends are away at internships, which means our group dynamic has been different. I've got to spend time one on one with friends I'd never done that with and we've all been having so much fun.
When we are together, we non-stop talk to each other and our phones are hardly a factor. Where I'd pick up my phone in 2016 and take a picture of the food I was eating or a video of our hangouts, I realize that no one really cares and the people that actually matter are right before me. And if I have to pick between my friends or a date, it's definitely going to be my friends since they're the ones to undoubtedly stick around longer.
Though I'm not sure what exactly made my negativity and stress from 2016 turn into positivity and gratefulness in 2019, I believe it's my overall change in priorities that come with growing up. I'm no longer a teenager, and yes it was a fun time, but I am so happy now and I wouldn't choose to go back for anything.
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