Friday, October 27, 2017

2017 Summer Adventures

There are always good things to enjoy about the time of year we're currently in, but every couple of years it feels like the Universe comes together and just hits you with a full, perfect season. Growing up, there are definitely summers that I look back on as even better than usual, and I think Summer 2017 is going to become one of those.

I've never been a person to have 'free time'. I tend to the lean to the over-commitment side of the spectrum, and when there's not real work that needs to be done, I love to make up arbitrary tasks so my to-do list stays full. It's a control thing, and not something I'm proud of. Too much freedom tends to give me anxiety; or, at least, put me in a bad mood. But, over the past year or so, I've also come to realize how much the opposite of that does, too. When I'm over-scheduled, I become a lot more pessimistic, and don't end up putting out my best stuff, anyways.

Figuring out this balance is currently a work in progress, and probably something I'll never have down to a science. But this summer, a couple of key things lined up that allowed me to spend a lot more of my time on adventures than I have in the past. The conclusion? Make adventure and relaxing and fun much more of a habit. Here are some favorite things from the summer:

Lots of family time // I'm really lucky, because almost all our family live locally. This summer, my entire extended family met up for ice cream, my cousin and I went shopping, we surprised each other at work, watched fireworks together, and ate lots of good food. I spent an entire evening playing with my little cousins at the local lake before my brother's graduation party, and spent quality time with my mom and grandmother over lunch.

 Summer Reading // Ever since high-school I've struggled to read as much as I wanted to, but I think I've fixed that this year! What with my weird work schedule, I spent a lot of time reading early in the morning, between jobs, and at the rink between sessions. I also built a lot more reading time into evenings, and spent whole weekend afternoons just curled up for hours. It's literally been years since I've done that, and it felt so damn good.

Quality friend dates // I started the summer with a mission to spend much better quality time with my friends, and overall, I think I accomplished that! A few highlights: coffee dates with Johanna, beach walks with Katarina, Boston exploring and Shakespeare on The Common with Kat, weekday Panera dinners with Rebecca, Sunday lunch at IHOP with church family, plus many more phone calls, potlucks, and hikes.

Hiking // This summer I re-discovered how much I love hiking. My mom and I did Mount Major in early July, and then we started working our way through the 4000 footers. We did Mount Tecumseh in the rain, which was hard but oh so fun, and then I did Mount Canon with some church friends. I loved that one; there was literally a section with sheer rock and a wooden ladder you had to scramble up (parkour!). I also did a few quick solo runs up Mount Blue Job, which I loved whenever I needed a quick re-set.

Beach Days // Traditionally, I am not a huge beach person, but this summer I loved it. I spent a weekend with my cousins in Bath Maine which was so long in coming. I ran on the beach in the morning and then spent the rest lounging, reading, and getting ice cream. The best! We also took our summer school kids on a beach field trip, which was probably the most fun day I had at work all summer.

Seeing some shows // In August I saw Romeo and Juliet when it was live in the Boston Common. It blew my mind how fun it was to watch theater outside, and definitely reminded me how important it is to support the arts. I also got to see my favorite singer, Cam, when she was live at Eastern States Exposition! To me, she is the perfect mix of country and folk, and was so genuine and adorably retro in person.

Skating breakthroughs // This August, I finally passed Intermediate Freestyle! This summer, a lot of the changes I've made to how I'm training really started to show and pay off, but most of all, I'm proud of the headspace I put myself in. When I was at the rink, I was fully present and working hard for everything. I pushed myself to do more run-thoughs, more spins, more jumps in pattern, and the result was a really strong test day. I've had my fair share of mental barriers in skating, and this summer I made significant progress towards beating them down. 

Given that I work at a school, my summer work schedule was a huge change. I ended up working at summer school three mornings a week, and then coaching and picking up shifts at my old retail job to fill in the gaps. While at first I was a little upset to not have a more interesting summer job, the schedule ended up being a blessing. With work not immediately taking so many hours out of my week, TOI being on break, and having just left a relationship, I entered the summer just wanting to do a lot of exploring and take some time to reset. Now that skating's mid-season and I've got my full schedule at both jobs, I want to keep that spirit of adventure alive by going to different skating events, going to shows, and making a point to set more dates with friends. The holidays are right around the corner and I'm excited to pack in just as much friend and family time as I did this summer!

Best, Gillian. xoxo

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