Summer 2015: How I Did It

So here I am. Sitting in sunny California where every day is Taco Tuesday. As of today, I’ve officially been here for one week. One glorious week filled with west coast sand, a crap ton of cheap (yet still delicious) Californian wine, old friends, new friends, lots of laughs, and way too many horrible movie puns…(see title above… if you can name that movie, you win a high-five from yours truly). My cousin and I have been taking Orange County by storm these past few days and tomorrow we will embark on our next adventure to Yosemite where we will be camping and backpacking with a group of friends from around the world.

This whole adventure in California is my way of treating myself for making it through Summer 2015: the summer that made me want to stab myself in the eye with a fork almost every other day.

I don’t need nor want to go into details, but basically the combination of being a fresh graduate and returning to your home-ghost-town from growing up on top of dealing with the crazies from your past and taking care of sick family members does not make for the ‘ideal’ summer (whatever the hell that is anymore). But anyways, all things aside, I’m sitting here in California with my head (still) on my shoulders, next to one of the most important and reliable people in my life, and today everything is okay. In fact, everything is f***ing awesome. I haven’t heard from my father in like over a month now, but I know I helped save his life this past July and did everything I could to help with everything else. I kicked ass at my first real dig job, even though it was one of the most testing jobs I’ve ever taken on. I got to catch up with friends I hadn’t seen in a while and I also got to send off a few other friends who are already starting their new lives all over the country. I was also lucky enough to spend a week at the beach with my mom’s side of the family. The most exciting parts of my summer were my solo day hikes all across PA, with each hike inspiring me more and more to get my shit together and go backpacking for real. It’s actually blowing my mind right now as I’m sitting here in California and reflecting on everything that happened this summer. Like never in a million years did I ever imagine that my sick father would be completely dependent on me at the age of 22.

So yeah, graduating from college has been perhaps one of the scariest parts of my life so far. For the first time ever, I don’t have any deadlines or people waiting for me. This summer has made me realize that after watching friends move away, working my first real job as an archaeologist, and all the other ups and downs, I actually have no clue what I want. Like not at all. I have no clue what I want to do next in my life. But regardless, I’m still keepin’ on keepin’ on. Instead of “How I Did it”, the title of this piece should be “How I’m Doing It” because I’ve realized after this stressful summer that the best way for me to take life on is to go day by day. I’ve learned to wake up and tell myself: today I’m doing this, this, this, and/or this. Of course it isn’t always as simple or easy as looking at what’s happening in a single 24hour grouping, but taking on each day as a single entity has really taught me to appreciate a lot more things and find enjoyment in activities and slow times that I would have shoved aside or gotten frustrated with in the past. Don’t get me wrong, I still have moments of paralyzing fear that hit me when I think of what I’ll be doing in October or November, but those scary moments are what help remind me to find extra joy in “the perfect taco” or a tiring swim in the rough west coast waves along Newport Beach.

So for now during the next few days in Yosemite when I’m completely removed from society and the bullshits of everyday life, I’m going to make myself put together a list of the things, large and small, that I undoubtedly know make me happy or will make me happy in the near future.

Because I believe following and acting upon the random signs and moments of pure happiness will ultimately lead me to more happiness and greater moments in my future.

Because you can’t make anyone else happy until you learn how to make yourself happy.

And so for today, Tuesday… I woke up and my cousin and I said: Today, we pack. And we eat all of the food in the fridge that would “go bad” while we’re gone (we’ll take whatever excuse we can get for us to go HAM on the rest of our red curry and whiskey in the freezer).

As for tomorrow: we leave for Yosemite.

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