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Finding Inspiration: Summer Simplicity

Last summer was a rollercoaster. Once finals were over, I went on an adventure-filled two-week trip to Hawai’i to visit friends. I got to explore the beautiful island of O’ahu, go on hikes, snorkel in the ocean and even swim with sharks. It was only May and I was having an amazing time which made me excited for what the rest of summer would hold. But I didn’t expect the lows that would follow.

Right after vacation, I had oral surgery, went to the ER, saw multiple doctors for health issues and learned that my friend was in a traumatic accident and needed surgery. The expectations I had for continuing my adventurous, carefree summer came to a screeching halt.

Plans to hike, boat, and see friends were put on pause. Although upsetting at first, I saw how I needed to take a pause and recover physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Rest is something I always crave but rarely allow myself to have, so sometimes it’s good for me to be forced into it. Instead of being bitter about the series of events, I started to see it as an opportunity to slow down and tune into what was truly important.

Summer can be full of new experiences, friends, and hobbies, but it can also be a time to rest and appreciate what’s around you. When I started looking at it as a break from filling up my days with work and plans, I found more enjoyment in the simple things.

I found that simple places bring me joy. Some of the most peaceful moments I’ve had have been while laying in my hammock in Ann Morrison Park or going on walks down the Greenbelt. I’ve had meaningful conversations and read under a particular willow tree that’s special to me. Summer allows me to visit these places that bring me peace and remind me to slow down and enjoy.

Living a full life is a balance of experiencing new things while taking time slowing down to enjoy the little things. When I slow down, I find happiness in simplicity. The simplicity of sitting in a rocking chair on my front porch in the fresh air as I write this story. The simplicity of taking slow walks down my road during sunset to pick flowers and hear the birds sing. The simplicity of calling a friend for encouragement or laughter.

The June and July continued to be full of work, hard conversations, bittersweet goodbyes and sobering realizations, but there were still valuable memories made.

Your summer might not live up to your expectations, and that’s OK. When life takes unexpected turns, you have the opportunity to look at the situation as a time to reflect and find happiness in the simple things again.

Take it one day at a time.

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