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Dear Summer 2020, We Need to Talk

Dear Summer 2020,

As school approaches in its slow-yet-rapid way, I’m forced to contemplate the summer that was. I could use disappointing as an adjective, but it was more complex than that. It was mundane yet surprisingly enlightening. Amidst all the confusion in the world, my role in it became clearer. This summer, I learned who I am and who I want to be and I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to slow down and reflect on myself. In other words, thank you Summer 2020 for being an absolute mess.

I’m aware of the multitudes of people flocking to the beaches and traveling far, but my family stayed at home in Michigan for the majority of Summer 2020, only venturing to nearby towns and once to East Lansing. As the only child living at home, I was quite lonely not having anyone except my few close friends to talk with. I wanted to change something about my life; I needed something different whether it was a new hairstyle or just a glow up in general. This was supposed to be my “hot girl summer,” and instead it was just “a really hot summer.” While the heat was overwhelming outside, I was inside and incredibly bored. I tried my hand at painting cacti, learning new languages such as Korean, even resorting to online window shopping for hours but nothing made me feel happy; they just felt like mindless tasks. I was struggling with one big question: How could I find ways to enjoy myself during a global pandemic when everything I wanted to do is meant for non-pandemic life?

I didn’t realize the answer immediately. It took a week of me spending 8+ hours on my phone and feeling miserable everyday for me to realize that if something didn’t change within myself, I would be stuck in an endless, sad nightmare. With this new motivation I started dragging myself out of bed every morning with the challenge to do something. It wouldn’t have to be something new or exciting; it could be as small as doing the laundry. Once I got moving, it became easier to find the “somethings” that made me happy. For example, I fell in love with baking and so I baked desserts every week (much to the pleasure of my parents). Once I found the hobbies that accelerated my day, I became more excited to wake up. I wasn’t dragging myself out of bed anymore—I got up every morning looking forward to my day. You have to force yourself to find the light in the dark until it becomes natural.

I should clarify: I wasn’t happy every single day of Summer 2020. I had bad days too; I just learned how to control them. For instance, old friends went their separate ways and left nothing but hurt. I struggled to cope at first, but, in the end, I did cope. I understood that I was grateful for the times we had in the past but I knew our futures were parallel, never to reconvene. And so, I moved on. This is monumental in my life, because I used to have terrible anger issues, and I would have cried for weeks, but I didn’t. I turned the anger inside of me into a sense of passion that helped me grow as a person. I wasn’t angry anymore but rather thankful and appreciative of the memories that were. I grew, and that made all the difference. 

Summer 2020 was an unforgettable experience—not because I traveled anywhere fancy or because I made a ton of memories with friends, but rather because I found out who I want to be. In the entirety of my life, the person I’ll have to be around the most is myself. I’m glad I got to know myself better amidst all the mundane moments sitting at home. Summer 2020, you were a real pain to deal with but it was nice knowing you. Fall 2020 better be good or else we’ll have some more talking to do. 

A forever grateful teen, 

Aditi

A Michigan State University student by day, an 8-hour sleeper by night Aditi would best describe herself as a "rather simple enigma." As she embarks on her college journey, Aditi cherishes the simple things in life: a cup of coffee, some pastel post-it notes, and her ever-growing succulent.
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