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The Summer of 2020

It certainly wasn't what we expected ...

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As summer is coming to an end, I’m reflecting upon how much of it has been about ‘creating.’ 

Oddly enough, and from where I’m living, this pandemic has shifted my energy and actions. It’s like when I was a kid having to create my own experiences. I certainly wasn’t going to dwell on the doom and gloom of it all. What was the point? I was staying safe, social distancing and doing all that I could.

Of course, it has been horribly sad for those who did not outlive this pandemic. Thankfully (and with gratitude), no one I knew had suffered, and yet friends of mine had friends that were very sick, and others had died. Horrible. Tragic. That being said, we had to push on with living, or else we suffer in fear. 

So, I decide to make the best of a tough reality.

As I’m reflecting on this summer I remember as a kid that we got really creative planning out our summer days. We didn’t have helicopter parents, or at least I didn’t. We had to create our own fun. We had one rule; we had to be home when the streetlights came on.

There were 2 occasions that I can remember where my brother and I missed curfew and my Mom had to drive around the neighbourhood looking for us. She was never mad, just worried, and I’m sure a little irritated. All she had to say was; “Get home,” and we’d hop on our bikes and b-line it back as fast as we could.

There was a real sense of freedom creating our days. Some days we’d build a tree fort, other days play tennis, swim, do arts and crafts. One thing was constant, we always had our imaginations, and our bikes.

These were the summer months before I went to sleepover camp, and then became a counsellor.

Even during the tough months of self-isolation where we were locked down, in my mind I needed to stay creative, open and optimistic. That’s the way I roll. Despite my twin brother constantly sending me articles, videos, advice from experts on everything and anything that would bring awareness to the terror and fear of this pandemic. I had to tell him to: “Stop already.”

Of course, he was just trying to ensure that I was aware of what was going on, and that I was safe – and yet how was any of it helpful in serving me? All it did was constantly remind me that we should live in fear. How would being in a state of elevated stress prove helpful? I’m not ignorant to the facts. I’m informed, and yet I made the decision to remain in an optimistic state of mind. I didn’t want to wallow in the negative. 

Speaking of being optimistic – this summer did create some interesting opportunities for self-discovery. 

This now became “the summer of” self-reflection, writing (a lot), working out (a lot), and planning and creating how I wanted to move along my journey.

I was discovering more about why I was doing things, rather than just doing them without thinking more deeply. The ‘why’ mattered. The ‘why’ would tell me if I was on the right track. Obvious? Sure. However, I hadn’t given it the time that it deserved before now.

The opportunity to connect the dots as it revolved in slow motion in my mind was just what I needed to see all the pieces to the puzzle. To connect to, and explore through, the journey that brought me to where I am now was a meaningful exercise.

This summer could have been quite different if I allowed it to take me there. It could easily have been the summer of isolation, disconnectedness, loneliness and fear. I could have brought myself to a depressed and hopeless state. I chose not to. Rather, I embraced reality and yet created a different narrative.

It also helps when you’re not reminded that summer is over. For me living in Toronto, Canada, the summers meant the bombardment of advertising that came from the announcements that the Canadian National Exhibition (C.N.E) was on. Which meant that there were just 2 more weeks of summer. To this day, it still bums me out when I hear that.

It goes without saying (I’ll say it anyway) that certainly it’s lousy that events have been cancelled and jobs lost. No one wants that. And yet we will get past this.

This is where I could break into any number of quotes that would be appropriate for what we’re experiencing, and yet I’ll finish by saying that; It’ll be a long while before we say that “hindsight was 2020 in the summer of 2020.”

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