As August comes to an end and the darker days and colder nights of autumn set in over New England, I find myself falling into a familiar sense of contentedness. I consider myself blessed to live in a place with four beautiful seasons, but the fall has always been my favorite. I’m not sure whether it’s the windy mornings, chilly nights, or the feel of warm apple cider on a cold day, but I always find myself at peace during this time of year. The year is finally winding towards its end, and I can comfortably reflect on the summer I’ve had.
I have always loved the start of a new school year. Even when I was struggling with academics and motivation to succeed, nothing got me more excited to go back to school than the feeling of getting new binders, folders, notebooks, pens… Nowadays, I genuinely just can’t wait to go back to school. I love my major (Natural Resources) and cannot wait to start classes this fall. I’m taking Plant Science, Forestry, and Environmental Chemistry. All three are lab classes… this should be fun. Typical school stress aside, I think I will have another successful year. Also, my dear friend Bri and I are co-presidents of the school’s Green Society. There’s a lot in store for me, including the long-awaited introduction to the composting system we petitioned the cafeteria for last semester. It’s cool to feel like, even on the smallest little levels, I’m making a positive change in the world.
The future, though always foreboding, is not actually what this post is about. It’s about the past few months of my life, how I’ve spent them, and how it’s made me feel. I feel that I’ve been on track to something decent despite all the horror in the world, and this summer in particular was a memorable one for me. The summer of 2019… my twenty-second orbit on this Earth… the first summer spent being old enough to drink.
My summer started off with a bang, and the end of a short, fatally passionate relationship with a very wonderful human being. Mere days after this abrupt, awkward breakup, some family issues came up that occupied a fair amount of my time and emotional energy. Both of these factors aside, I managed to have a wonderful early June visit with my mom and her husband in Florida, for their birthdays. My stepsisters were both there, and it was so amazing to see them after so long! Upon getting back, I went to a Red Sox game, which always makes me happy––we won, which makes me even happier.
Soon after, I was officially diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a connective tissue disorder that affects 1 in 10,000 people. It contributes to my chronic pain, joint hyper-mobility, and bruise-prone skin, as well as a variety of other factors that affect my physical and mental health. To hear the words out of the mouth of a medical professional was… bittersweet. On one hand, it feels like somewhat of a condemnation– this is your life now, there’s no cure––it can only be managed. On the other, it feels amazing to know where my pain and struggles come from, and it has helped me to learn what’s good and bad for my body. It’s important to know your limits; I’m learning mine.
I went to a few concerts over the summer: Gaelic Storm with my roommates and their parents, and MisterWives with my friend Taylor. Both concerts were amazing, and not just because I could drink hahaha! If you like Irish music, Gaelic Storm is for you. If you like upbeat revolution-driven pop-punk, try MisterWives. If neither, well, that’s fine too!
On July 7th my cousin Tony married his college sweetheart Angela after many years, and they had a beautiful Hawaiian themed weekend wedding down in Connecticut with all our family. As they live on Hawaii, it’s not very often that we get to see them. It was a wonderful weekend and I was happy to be able to enjoy it with family. As my uncle, Teddy Larkin, said in his song “If The Walls Could Talk:”
We’re a comfortable, dysfunctional family
The only one I know
Something special, but nothing fancy
And I’m just your average Joe.
It was around this time that I started going to a divey little bar, usually for karaoke. I still go, and I’ve met a bunch of really cool people while hanging out there. It’s a dive, but its got character, and I love being able to sing my heart out and nothing makes me happier than being out and about with people. Well, maybe not nothing. But it’s up there, as long as I get to go home and sleep in my own bed when it all comes down to it. I’ve balanced my summer well, I think, between socializing and resting. Like I mentioned before, I know my limits.
At the end of July, my “family” (whom I live with, not my blood relatives) and I went on a vacation to Montreal and Quebec City. Oh, it was so amazing… I’ve always loved Quebec. I’d move to Montreal in a heartbeat. It was hot and muggy, but we saw the sights and had an amazing time. We visited the botanical gardens, watched fireworks, drank nice brews, ate nice chews, and I thoroughly enjoyed the nightlife. I miss it, but I know I’ll be back again someday.
Now, as summer winds down, I feel as though I’m satisfied with how it went for the first time in almost a decade. I met tons of nice people, reconnected with old friends, and made a plethora of amazing memories. My mental health is in a better place than its ever been, and I see it getting better. Overall, I’d chalk this one up as a win. Onwards, to the future, and upwards.