The nostalgia of summer
Summer nights are long, wide open and full of possibility. They’re made for driving aimlessly, searching for something, chasing some transcendent, cinematic and fleeting sort of feeling you’ve never felt before that you know is right in front of you if you just keep going and dreaming and driving and living and being. Or, more realistically, most of your summer nights, like mine, were spent at home after a long day at work, waiting for yet another long day of work the very next morning. So if you’re anything like me, you want desperately to make the most of your weekends or days off, sometimes making drastic or insane plans to compensate for all the days you spent held back at your job.
Really though, summer is about the simple things making you the happiest. There’s no single best way to spend your summer because there’s so much joy to find in the littlest, most unexpected ways. Even though summer is over, it’s nice to keep these thoughts in the back of your mind as you make it through the next two semesters.
1. Drive around the quietest hours of the morning and night.
This is the quintessential summer pastime, best embodying the essence of the freedom and opportunity that summer promises. The only limit is how much gas you have in your tank. Picture it: windows down, aux in headphone jack, volume full blast and no traffic in sight. With the right music, you feel complete, almost overwhelmingly so.
Personally, very few moments topped the time I drove my friends through back-roads under a canopy of trees in rural New Hampshire at dawn, Sufjan Stevens’ magnificent Carrie & Lowell playing softly over my speakers as the sun rose over the mountains. You might laugh at how cliché that sounds, because it is, but I’ve never been so taken back by a scene as picturesque as the one I saw that day.
2. Be lazy at the beach.
Pick a spot, throw down your blanket and just relax, you’ve earned it. Listen to the waves crash, and then fling yourself into them. Going to the beach during the day is fun, but going to the beach at night is therapeutic. That same ocean you dove right into to cool yourself down has this way of washing away negative feelings. Highly recommended if you ever feel down any time of year.
3. Build a fire.
Conducive to deep and personal late-night conversations with friends beyond the scope of anyone’s philosophical expertise, gathering around a bonfire is satisfying even if purely for aesthetic reasons. Have your designated Boy Scout friend build you a fire, toast some marshmallows, put on some music and kick back. Talk about blaming everything that happens in your life on your zodiac signs, the multiverse theory or how ghosts definitely exist.
4. Take pictures of you and your friends.
When I say take pictures, I mean at all times, candid and staged. Even if your friends get annoyed with you, keep taking pictures of them. They’ll thank you later. Take pictures of yourself and have your friends take pictures of you, too. Why? You’ll never be exactly the same person that appears in those photos. You never know what might happen in your life that changes how you see others and more importantly, how you see yourself. To look back on moments of your life weeks, months and years later is rewarding in so many ways, especially if you’ve grown closer to becoming the idealized you in your mind. Getting to see that transformation play out visually is just so fulfilling.