I have two weeks between the end of junior year at Gordon and the beginning of my summer job up at a summer camp in the Adirondacks. It is currently right in the middle of that time, so I’m home, getting over a cold and wondering what to do with myself. I guess you could call this my brief vacation, but because I’m me, I can’t just lie around bingeing Netflix for two weeks. I had to make lists. Prioritize. I’m filling this time with all those things I’ve been meaning to do but never got around to this spring. Reading more. Learning new piano pieces. Running every morning. Emailing all my England friends I promised to keep in better touch with. Unpacking and repacking.
For the most part, I’ve been doing pretty good at staying busy, and I leave time at the end of the day to relax. I’m going through my list of Movies I’ve Been Wanting To Watch But Never Have, which is satisfying. I’m doing this time ‘right,’ I guess.
But it’s hard.
It’s hard that try as I might, nothing will replace having friends to come home to. My last two remaining friends in Stafford are gone, and I don’t see anyone besides my family. It’s lonely. Really lonely. Despite how busy I make myself, there is no replacing the community I left at Gordon; or England, for that matter. I miss my friends.
It’s hard that despite my diligence, I won’t be in the shape I’d like to be when I head up to New York for camp counselor training. I’m already comparing my level of fitness to girls I haven’t met yet, and worrying about how much I’ll be able to endure during the backpacking trips, the lifeguard training, etc. My fear of failure is often stronger than my drive for success, mostly because I have no idea what ‘success’ is supposed to look like when it comes to being in shape.
It’s hard walking the line between healthy motivation and overkill. Sometimes I stress myself out trying to check off a certain number of to-do list items per day and forget to enjoy any of them. Other times I let myself relax more, and end up bored and unfulfilled. One day, alone in the house all afternoon, I was doing fine until I opened the fridge and didn’t know what to make for dinner. Suddenly, all my motivation and satisfaction from the day’s efforts left me. (I could fold three loads of laundry and work on an audio piece for the Public Radio Exchange and unpack two boxes, but I couldn’t even provide for my most basic needs?! What was wrong with me?)
It’s hard not judging myself for feeling like my prayer life isn’t where it should be just before an evangelism-based summer job. I don’t want to pursue growth simply to measure up to an imagined standard of what the perfect Christian summer camp counselor should look like, but I do want to grow. Where’s the balance? How do I let go?
This in-between time is good. But it’s hard. I also realized today that this is my last real summer. Next year, I’ll be graduated and (hopefully) in some theater-related job, but with no discernible vacation time in sight. (Forever?) That’s hard. And scary. I’m trying to enjoy this time, but my instinct is always to put pressure on myself. To do more, to have something to show for every period.
After Sunday, I’ll be pretty off the grid for the summer (besides a 5-day period where I’ll be home for my dad’s retirement from the Marine Corps- a big day in all our lives). So I wanted to do a brief update now, before things get wild and summer camp-y.
Tonight’s movie is either Silence of the Lambs, Manhattan, or Jackie. (Haven’t decided yet.) The current book is Whose Body by Dorothy Sayers (and I just ordered $80 more of poetry and plays, whoops). The next items on my shopping list are biodegradable soap, running socks, stamps, and a wetsuit. And I miss a lot of people. So that’s where we are are today.
Have grace for yourself, friends. He does.