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Live into Summer

I am not a fan of summer. Oh I love the way the days seem to stretch endlessly past dinnertime. I love the frenetic energy of filling the months with traveling and hosting. Love escaping to a museum or a matinee during the heat of the day. Love being rewarded for waking up early with slightly cooler mornings.

Or, at least, I felt I used to be. 

As someone with a very low tolerance for very high temperatures, I’ve been especially bummed by the lingering of this summer, the way the mornings burn and the way the usual relief of an evening walk leaves me sticky and uninspired. 

I don’t feel motivated to do anything, I found myself grumbling on a morning when the humidity was over 90% and the thought of doing any sort of strenuous outdoor activity seemed daunting. 

On a recent weekend day I’d decided I would get groceries and run errands in the morning, “before it got too hot.” I woke up a bit late and was enjoying a quiet pajama morning when I realized the temperature had already soared. I certainly didn’t want to go out now!

And then it hit me. Here was a weekend day. I had nowhere to really be and all day to basically arrive. I had a list of things I was hoping to do that day—some casual combination of productive and fun, inside and out. But here I was hovering around 9:30 AM and already deciding my best hours were behind me. Best to sit in the manageable warmth of my own apartment with the ceiling fans or air conditioners running than wander out into this nightmare of a day.

Boy is that depressing.

I put on my shoes and walked to the store.

And you know what? By the time I got to the store, I was completely caked in sweat. But I was outside. I was connected to the world again. And once you’re out you might as well enjoy it. 

I got groceries. I went to the park. So what if it became a two shower day? So what if everything I’m wearing immediately needed to be hung over the hamper? Tis the season!

Talking to a friend on my walk home, I realized how silly it was to be constrained by the discomfort of a hot day. Extreme extreme weather and personal health restrictions withstanding, there’s no reason not to tumble a few blocks to the grocery store for fresh fruit at 11:00 AM. It’s worth noting that I’m not recommending running in the heat of the day on an unshaded path. I still try to build my outdoor exercise around the coolest temperatures possible. But for the simpler things. When it’s within reason to do so. Go outside.

The second you accept that you’re going to be a bit of a sweaty mess. The second you accept that your hair might frizz up and you might need to reapply deodorant a few times. The second you accept that your feet will smell and your skin will tan unevenly and your lips will crack from the sun. The second you decide you’re okay with a crowded train car that smells of sunscreen and body odor. Then you reclaim summer.

So step into the heat undeterred (and prepared, preferably with multiple reusable water bottles). Sit in the park and read even if it means ants crawling over your blanket. Go to the coffee shop to treat yourself to someone else’s a/c—even though you have coffee at home. Go for a walk after dinner, even though you’ll come home sweatier than one might expect for 8:00 PM.

Live into summer. Live into every piece. The sticky bodega run. The bubblegum joy.


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