It’s been an emotional few days. I said goodbye to an amazing man, I cycled through a myriad of emotions, I closed out another school year, and I struggled with frustration over work and friends and life. I came out of it realizing that this summer is going to be a summer full of self-care.
The man I said goodbye to was my grandfather. The world truly lost a beautiful soul with his passing. He’s been sick for a very long time, and he’s been in so much pain. The last day I saw him, I walked away thinking that it was so unfair he had to live like that. But when the news of his passing reached me the next night, it still felt pretty devastating. He was a wonderful grandpa. He was always full of smiles, hugs and advice. The thing I noticed most in the past few years was that his advice started to change. He used to always talk about keeping up with responsibilities and, essentially, being a good member of the community. He was big on being a responsible person (paying your bills on time, going to work every day, taking care of your family). All good things. And that’s what he would talk about when I saw him. Then, a few years ago, something changed. This was also about the time his illness really started to take its toll. He stopped talking about jobs and being responsible. Instead, he regularly gave me this advice:
Don’t listen to other people. Actually, don’t listen to anyone. Do what you want to do. Do what makes you happy. You don’t have to live a traditional life to be happy. Keep traveling. See the world. Life is short. See and do everything you possibly can.
I think that advice pretty much sums up my view of life. Life is short — see and do everything you possibly can. I don’t know if he realized it, but it meant so much to me to hear him say those things. And I took them to heart. I often thought about them when I was struggling to make decisions or when I was looking for reassurance that I was making the right choices.
There is so much more to say about my grandpa. But I’ll leave you with that. I miss him already, but I’m truly glad he was able to live such a full life and that he was a part of mine.
After losing my grandpa I still had to close out the year at school. It was difficult showing up and smiling and getting things done. But I knew I wanted to clear out everything from the year and say goodbye to some very dear colleagues that wouldn’t be returning next year. So I went in and completed my last day. It actually turned out to be good for me. There were many loose ends tied up and a lot of hugs shared between friends. I would have been sad to miss those goodbyes, especially with my friends that were leaving the school for good.
I was also incredibly lucky to spend the second half of the day with a good friend. Things have been weighing on me lately, and I truly needed time to decompress, talk things out, laugh, and relax. We met up for an afternoon at the movies (Maleficent), dinner at the Cheesecake Factory and lots of good conversation. We walked a few miles to the park near Lone Mountain. I convinced him to swing on the swings with me for a good half hour. Swinging may well be one of my favorite pass times. (I dare you to swing super high and not find yourself in a giggle fit.) Then we played on the monkey bars, climbed the jungle gym and hopped around on the huge world map engraved in the concrete. It was a blast and filled with a lot of laughter. I needed that.
In the end, I’ve realized that I need to spend a lot of time this summer taking care of myself. I need to go to yoga classes and delve into my photography passions and get a lot of exercise and lose myself in making art and spend lots of time in nature and cultivate my friendships and get lots of sleep and return to eating healthy, whole foods. I need this summer break more than I’ve needed one in the past. I’m a little burnt out. I’m a little exhausted. And I’m a little fragile at the moment.
So my theme for the summer is self-care. And I may need the occasional reminder when I veer off path. But I’m determined. And I’m really looking forward to these next two months.