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A Necessary Deconstruction of “The Summertime Problem”

Here we are, at the end of another summer. For some, this was the hottest summer ever. In Nevada, summer was as hot as it ever could be. But now that summer is over and we are left to look at the future, we can also take the time to look back on where we’ve been. To see what we have achieved over the past few months, marvel at the satisfaction that it provides, and reckon the goals that we have yet to complete.

If you remember from an earlier blog post, I wrote about this thing I dubbed “the Summertime Problem.” If you haven’t read it yet, then you should. But for a quick recap, the Summertime Problem is about not getting the most from your summer break and trying to change that. It’s easy to let your life pass you behind, especially when you have the summer heat beating down on you. In summer, routines change and we get more free time, but we don’t always plan on what we will use that new time for.

It’s a problem that many of us face, myself included. Yeah, having a lackluster summer isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you. But the season itself has long been romanticized as a freeing time where you can do anything you want. Plus, it's pretty long, and you have to do something with all that time. So, to beat the Summertime Problem, you have to make sure that you dedicate every day to doing everything you want to do. To make the summer one you will always remember.

With that last post, I wanted to use it as a rallying cry for everyone who falls into having a lackluster summer. To help encourage my readers to make the most of the time they have before they lose it to the monotony of the rest of the year. I also wanted to use it as a sort of motivator for me. If I can teach my audience how to overcome the Summertime Problem, then maybe I, too, can beat it. In the past, I realized that my summers were underutilized. There was always a friend I did not get the chance to see. An event I had to skip out on. A project I held off for too long. Granted, they are not the biggest goals in my life. But with all the time I have in summer and how many things I could do, missing out on them can sting. They can make you feel unfulfilled when you start to add them up, and that can really take away the sense of achievement you get from the things that you do.

So, when I wrote that post, I began to plan all of the things that I wanted to do this summer — so that this summer was better than any summer before it. Here’s what I had going into summer:

  • Hang out and spend more time with more people.

  • Write more for both myself and my clients.

  • Drive more to become more comfortable with it.

  • And always try something new when you have the chance.

All of these things were supposed to come together to make for an epic summer. One that would surely beat whatever form the Summertime Problem would appear as. By making a plan on what I wanted to do, I felt that I was more able to actually do them. To make sure that my summer would be fulfilling.

To make sure that my summer will be one to remember, all thanks to my intuition and drive.

Yet here I am, with a return to school imminent. It was a great summer when all is said and done. I did a ton of stuff. I wrote, traveled, and worked. But even now, there is still a part of me that wants more. More from summer and more from myself. Even though I planned out my summer, I couldn’t do everything. I can’t help but feel that I succumbed to the Summertime Problem, even though I was aware and ready for it — even though I did a ton of things that I am proud of.

I wouldn’t say that I wasted my time this summer. Every day I had something to do, something that I wouldn’t say held me back. Some days I would write blogs after hitting the gym, other times I would stay up late playing video games after work. And I got the opportunity to travel to California and Utah with people I love and care about, as well as start to plan for my junior year of university while looking ahead to a potential future in graduate school.

Yet, I can’t stop myself from feeling that I failed to beat the Summertime Problem. There’s something inside me telling me that I could have done more. Something that tricks me into thinking that I just let my summer slip by, like an unfulfilled dream. Like sand falling through my fingers, if I had to use a tired metaphor to explain how I feel.

I did new things this summer and kept up my good old practices. I wrote, traveled, and played video games, which are all things that I liked to do. However, all the things that I failed to do kept coming back to me. I feel remorse for the friends I failed to stay in touch with. I left some projects on the back burner for too long, and now I have to deal with them while going to school. I still have shaky legs when driving because I didn’t put enough time into practicing when I had the chance. Even fun things that I wanted to do never got completed just because I never got the energy for them.

I think that reason that I feel this way is because this was the first semester that I ever felt burnout. Real genuine burnout. I had a stacked set of classes (each with their own super-involved finals and end-of-semester projects), I worked every day I was not at school, and on top of it all, I had my internship going on. I am grateful for the opportunities that I was given in the past semester. But once the semester was over, I had a massive shift in my lifestyle. I didn’t have to worry about the responsibilities of school or work as much anymore. I was given near-limitless free range to do whatever my heart desired.

And then, I didn’t use all of the opportunities provided by summer to their full potential. I did not push my limits as far as I could have. Out of all the things I wanted to do, I couldn’t do everything simply because I realistically can’t do everything.

It is here that I realize that I need to accept everything I did and did not accomplish this summer.

I can not call this summer “the definitive summer,” but I also do not think that that is a wholly bad thing to accept. Sometimes we can’t get everything that we want. To use another tired metaphor: “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.” Not getting what you want, or even what you expect, is all part of life that we have to deal with. What we plan for doesn’t always pan out as we expect it to.

And at the end of summer, I think I’m okay with accepting that. Maybe I was too ambitious. Maybe I’m not appreciating what I was able to do over the past few months. Maybe the Summertime Problem that I believed I needed to beat was not as severe an issue as I thought it was.

Sometimes, you just have to take what you get in stride. You have to change your perspective from feeling bad about what you miss to cherishing what you were able to do. Take pride in the achievements that you’ve earned, even if they aren’t what you originally set out for.

At the end of the day and the summer, I realized that I never needed to beat any Summertime Problem. Summertime is my time, and how I personally used it was ultimately beneficial for me. All I had to do was accept the real role that the Summertime Problem had me face. It wasn’t about doing the most in summer. Rather, it was about making the most of the time that I had. I hope that everyone who finds this post can come to that same conclusion. Regardless of who you are and where you’ve been over the past few months, feel proud of what you’ve been able to do and determined on what you want to do next. Remember, the summer is what you make of it!

About the Author:

Leonard Brattoli is an Honors student at UNLV studying English. A Nevada native, he has been a blog writer since 2021, getting published at the Beyond Thought Creative Arts Journal, the Love Yourself Foundation, and the Original Breath Builder. His experience is varied, with his writing ranging from sharing personal stories to helping promote products and organizations. Leonard is also well-versed in creating social media captions, producing weekly newsletters, and designing creative journals in a collaborative setting.

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