Guest Post by Emily Lin
Undoubtedly as summer ends and I make my way back to school, the question on everyone’s lips is going to be, “How was your summer?” Granted the only answer they expect is something along the lines of “Good!” or “Great!” Much like the “How are you?” question, these are perfunctory, lacking any semblance of actual care from the part of the asker.
Likewise, my answer of “It was great! I went to go see the Grand Canyon (hello-omitted-details-about-the-frustrations-of-traveling-with-family-or-anything-else-I-did-over-the-summer)” will also be routine. Nobody actually wants to know about how I waited tables or worked with an amazing woman on her blog over the summer. Nobody wants to hear the nitty-gritty details of server life and the chances of them tuning me out the second I say the word “feminism” are greater than the chances of this year’s winter being hella wonky again.
Despite that, I could go on about being a server in a futile attempt to try and make people more understanding, higher-tipping customers. And on about Tyece and Twenties Unscripted, about how it’s given me perspective on writing, perspective on life and perspective on the type of person I’d like to be. And on about spending time with my family, even if only for a week, I could probably spend hours talking about how my mother over packs, my dad is a workaholic and my sisters and I are amateur synchronized swimmers (or at least that’s what we tell ourselves), and how extremely grateful I am for all of them. And on about my senior thesis, otherwise known as “the thesis that never started,” and on about going to New York to visit friends and on about moving my boyfriend into his new apartment and on about losing my phone and on about….you get the picture.
However, I think the idea of asking someone about their summer is absurd. Granted this could be my school structure perspective talking; I don’t know how often “real people” get asked about their summers. But asking not only accomplishes nothing because it hides the truth behind an oversimplified easy response, but also because then it sets summer apart as this time of our lives where different things are supposed to happen, maybe even special things. We’ve secluded this three-month period, isolated it from the rest of our lives and then use it to “do those things we don’t usually have time to do.”
I know that it’s called summer break and I understand the necessity of rest and relaxation but does that equate to some sort of life-break too?
This phenomenon of “summer time” and “summer break” construction is like any other. In the same way that we’ve sectioned out the “twenties,” the “thirties” or the “prime” and the “retirement,” we’ve given ourselves a period of three months to fulfill an arbitrary purpose, some ‘other’ purpose, tangential to our ‘real lives’ that can technically be fulfilled at any other point in the year and in our lives.
“The time you have now is the same time you have when you’re thirty and the same time you have when you’re nearing the end of your earthly existence. It is all time. It doesn’t stop and it won’t wait.”
Asking about summer carries with it the expectation of difference and with it the expectation of excitement. But my life is going through summer, fall, winter and spring with new things happening all the time. I want people to ask me how my spring is going, how my winter is going and how my fall is going because no matter what time of the year or time in life it is, it’s happening and I don’t want to wait three months after the fact to tell people about it.
My life is made up of not the seasons, not the months nor the weeks and the days but rather the overall passage of time from one to the next. I like to call it the present. It does not come in sections nicely portioned out to accord with an academic calendar or internship duration. Instead it flows, with the past pressing on the future and the future redefining its past.
“Life is most beautiful in its smallest doses, the fragments that we so easily forget.”
This all came about when I was confronted this morning with the task of writing a “peace out” post for Twenties Unscripted, more or less wrapping up my summer with Tyece and all you lovely readers. I tried. I tried really hard to ask myself the question “How was my summer?” and then ended up taking a nap because trying to answer was exhausting.
So here’s what you get instead, a mildly whiny, somewhat philosophical piece of my take on time—which in retrospect actually sums up my summer pretty well. It’s been a time to reflect on the choices I’ve made and the choices I will make going forward about how I want my time to be spent because time, I’ve learned, is endlessly valuable but also notoriously perishable. It has also been a time to bitch and moan about those things in life that need to get done despite your unwillingness to do so (I’m looking at you laundry), and to grumble through the not-so-favorite jobs because money is necessary.
But this is life and in living it I want to let the experiences I’ve had with Tyece, with my co-workers at the restaurant and with my frustrating thesis mentor who won’t respond to my emails affect who I am becoming and ultimately will become in the future. Rest assured that means at the very least blog and Twitter updates as well as plenty of love and support for the Twenties Unscripted family.
Thank you and all the best,
Emily, the Intern who likes hats