A sweltering hot Arizona summer spent away from home for the first time. That's how this story goes. Like most stories of growing attached, everything building up to this was just a combination of chance events that happened to fall together nicely. And, also like other stories dealing with attachment, everything happened quickly and unexpectedly. Perhaps too quickly and unexpectedly. Over the past three years, I've thought of those two-and-a-half months almost every day.
Being attached to a certain period of time in your life is arguably worse than being attached to a person. You can avoid a person, delete them from Facebook, and block their number from your cell phone. But how do you just delete a chunk of your life? How do you get over places and times and feelings? How do you unlatch yourself from a season and a year and all that comes with it?
Especially when it was everything a summer could and should be. It was living somewhere new and going on late-night walks and having even later-night phone calls. It was being kissed for the first time and wearing his plaid flannel shirt and getting a glimpse at what it means to be in a relationship. It was freedom. There's nothing a 16-year-old wants more than freedom. The freedom to spend every day shamelessly flirting with and falling for some beautiful boy. To stay up till 2 a.m. To consider a glass of Coca-Cola and a doughnut "breakfast." To bend all the rules and maybe even break them.
But obviously, seasons and years can't last forever. Even if I have tried my hardest to make it so. I have spent quite a bit of time missing the summer of 2010, trying to chase down its romance and freedom and feelings.
Nearly three years later, I think I'm done missing summer 2010. I think I'm ready to let go of places and times and feelings that don't exist anymore. I don't mean this to be an ugly, severe break-up. I want it to be as graceful and smooth as possible. Because I don't resent the summer of 2010 or want to forget it forever. But, rather, I want to stop believing that it was the best time in my life. I don't want to rob myself of possibility by thinking I could never love a place and time and feeling as much. I don't want to fall victim to the cognitive bias of thinking the past is always better than the present or future. I don't want to limit myself to reminiscing about happiness that existed three years ago.
I want to move on, three years later than I could have and should have. I want to just be here, in the present. I want to find comfort and contentment in opportunities and friends that I have in the present, or could have in the future. I want to break up -- but be on good terms -- with summer 2010.
So, summer 2010 sure was one for the books. And, perhaps, summer 2013 will be even better.