Those Calm Summer Nights

Chelsey - Florissant, Missouri
Entered on February 11, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: carpe diem

I believe in summer vacations. This was not always the case, for I am the type of person who is not happy unless I am constantly busy accomplishing some task. Summer used to signify three long months, awaiting return to school where I could be preoccupied and feel the pride of completing schoolwork. My whole outlook changed last summer.

One evening in June 2008, I expressed my frustrations to my dad. Instead of agreeing with me, he told me I should cherish the time off because I may not have it when I grow up. He then proceeded to tell me childhood stories of his summers spent climbing trees or running behind the mosquito trucks as they passed his house. While I saw his experiences as proof of my point, my dad viewed them as the epitome of a perfect and carefree time in his life. After he was finished revisiting his summer memories, I decided to take a walk around the block.

I walked around my neighborhood. First, I passed some young children playing and enjoying the cool breeze. Memories of racing on my bike to beat my next door neighbor flashed before my eyes. As I kept walking, I watched an elderly couple making their way from the car to their house. Could that be me in 50 years? Finally, I decided to walk to my favorite spot, the open field adjacent to my neighborhood where a willow tree resides. I took shelter in the cool shade and began to reflect on my life. Where will I be in 10 years? What career will I decide upon? Will I make a strong impact on someone’s life, or even the world? And as I thought about the big questions every individual faces in life, the sun began to set and a sense of calm swept over me. I returned home with a new outlook.

I now believe that summer allows me to step back from the busy pace of academic life and reflect upon who I am and what I want to pursue in life. I have learned that life can move fast. I must try to stop to enjoy it every chance I get, and I can think of no better way than taking walks on those calm summer nights.