With all the “end of summer” hoopla around the country it still doesn’t feel real to me. I could blame the heat in Florida (and part of me still does) but the main reason is because, for the first time, summer was just a season. It wasn’t a period of three months to do ALL the activities before school started again. It’s weird, but in a good grown-up way.
Throughout the summer I’ve shared some of my highs and lows in real-time, but now that it’s officially over (well, unofficially calendar-wise) I’m choosing to find the meaning from it all. My summer was simple and a bit of a rollercoaster, yes, but good in many ways. In fact, there was some maturing and self-reflection that needed to happen, along with a lot of rest, gut healing and puppy kisses.
8 Takeaways From Summer 2016
Progress isn’t linear
June and July were rough months health wise. I was discouraged that I had felt so good in the spring only to “spiral” downward this summer. The setback didn’t mean all progress was lost, only that I had/have more work to do. Truthfully, it will be a continued effort for some time, but as long as I’m heading in the right direction, I’m doing OK.
Puppies are hard work…but 100% worth it
I tried to come up with a cute, concise bullet for this one, but this sums it up nicely. Without a doubt, this summer was dedicated to our new dog, Archie. Tell me…what is with puppies needing to be walked, fed and played with every.single.day?! They are like children, substitute crying with barking.
He’s now 5 months old and bigger than Rocco (our 8-year-old cockapoo). Bad haircut and all, he’s a very sweet and naturally well-mannered dog. 100% worth the piercing barking. Ok, 99% worth it.
The job search isn’t a walk in the park
Let’s all just LOL that I once thought I would get a job in a month. I saw the process come easy for some people so assumed I’d have no issue. That was in April…
Now that hindsight is obviously 20/20 I know that it can take many months, cover letters, interviews and denials before being offered a job. At times, this search has knocked my confidence down like ten
thousand notches. As someone who has always a) done things for herself and b) been relatively successful, it’s humbling to have the tables turned. I’ve learned that accepting help isn’t a sign of desperation or defeat, and, of course, that this process is LONG.
I’ve touch on the job search within posts but don’t always want to write about it here. You can assume I’m still plugging away and consumed by the process (apps, interviews, etc.), even if I don’t mention it :)
Change your thoughts, change your world
For a good chunk of time, there was a lot of negativity taking up space in my body. The defeating job search, injury and stomach woes all amounted to some poor self-esteem. Slowly, and with some guidance, I’ve been able to eliminate toxic thoughts. Not eliminate completely, but I’ve seen great improvement. Positive mantras and sources of good energy (which I will discuss soon) have brought some mental clarity and overall confidence.
But sometimes you need a physical change of scenery…
I didn’t do too much traveling this summer (see: puppy), but I’m very grateful for the two trips I did take (to D.C. and Colorado). As a creature of habit, I need to break the mold every once in a while. I always come back from trips, no matter the length, more motivated and happy in my daily life.
When I don’t have the time or money for a big change of scenery, I’ve enjoyed going to coffee shops to write and read. A small, simple change but it works.
Disconnecting from social media is good…and necessary
This has been the year of Instagram for me…growing my account, finding my style/voice and interacting with others. I love it, really, but it’s effort. Throw in Snapchat and all the other platforms and it’s exhausting trying to keep up with everything and everyone.
I got to a point early this summer where I felt guilty for not posting or commenting. Then to add in the FOMO that can naturally result from following hundreds of people, I knew something needed to change. For me, that change ranged from limiting my scrolling time to not even opening the app. Drastic maybe, but it’s more important to be present in real life and take care of mental health.
I think I’m finally finding a happy medium (yay!) and have once again rekindled my love of this crazy connected world.
Respect and give your body what it needs
Mine needed a lot of TLC this summer. I hadn’t intended to give it so much rest and attention but, hey, duty calls. As I get back into running post-injury, I’m mindful of what my body is telling me, even if it’s contrary to what everyone is posting on social media (see above).
When all else fails, go climb a mountain
It’s kind of magical for mental clarity…and you’ll feel like a badass. Bonus points for holding a yoga pose.
This will likely be my last summer-related post because now it’s time for what really matters in life: fall, football and sweet potatoes.
Susie @ Suzlyfe says
I hear you on all accounts (and now on the puppy account!) It has been a long, weird, topsy turvy summer. Fall had better be where we land with our feet on solid ground!
Susie @ Suzlyfe recently posted…Mag Mile Half Marathon Race Weekend and BIG News
YAY for Ridley! The best thing to take with you into the fall.
ACKTIVE LIFE says
I have learned so much this Summer….At 37 I am still growing so much and this Summer has been a HUGE eye opener for me and I am grateful for that. I am ready to share my experiences, struggles, ups and downs, with everyone, because I know I am not that only one who goes through these things. I am excited and nervous, but ready for this next step…YOU ROCK woman! XOXO
ACKTIVE LIFE recently posted…CHANGE Is In The Air…
I’m so happy for you, Katie! Excited to here what you have in store :) xo
Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine says
Ah, yes! Spot on with each of these points! My summer wasn’t bad, I didn’t really have any expectations, but I think it gave me the time I needed to really understand what I “had to start doing” with my life and I think it set me up for a good rest of the year. I’m just taking one step at a time and learning something new everyday…slowly…
Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine recently posted…Apple Cashew Snack Bites
I think the expectations aspect is important. I’ve always placed summer on such a high pedestal that my ideals never come to fruition. This year was a wake up call that it doesn’t have to be perfect to still be good.
Sarah @pickyrunner says
Oh you know I get this. Job hunting is SO frustrating. I definitely didn’t expect to be back at it so soon but it’s definitely an exhausting process. You’ve done an amazing job at growing your instagram- seriously, amazing. These are all such important lessons to learn. Summer feels strange when you’re an “adult” not going back to school. I like it, but it almost doesn’t feel like summer ever starts or ends. It’s just there.
Sarah @pickyrunner recently posted…Workouts 9/5-9/11
Yes! Now I understand that feeling. Especially because there are so many “unofficial” ends of summer that it’s hard to keep track.
aw love this! You learned a lot of valuable stuff this summer Emily. Love your realization that progress is not linear. That is so so important. And I still can’t get over how cute your pups are!
Alyssa recently posted…MHM 9/12/16: The Social Aspects of Eating
They are pretty cute together :) Thanks, Alyssa!
What you said about social media; it’s a hard but necessary lesson I had to learn. I had to unfollow people (not because of any personal things) but just because I found that it wasn’t really possible to connect with hundreds of people personally. I had to find a way that was much more manageable day to day, and that really helped.
Also, your post about running and caring for your body; I think I’m learning that slowly. I’ve wanted to run a long race for a while, but the time just isn’t right yet.
Emily recently posted…Why Putting Down Other Bloggers is Not Right
The social media lesson was tough, and truthfully it takes some mindfulness every day. I think it offers a lot of benefits when used in a healthy manner :)
Mollie Sweet says
The best lesson I ever learned on the job front is to change your boundaries. It took me about six months post college to find a ‘real’ job, then, when my husband and I moved to South Carolina 3 years ago, it took me almost exactly a year to find a new job. That year was incredibly stressful and discouraging and I felt completely worthless. Then, in a moment of desperation, I thought, how can I use my skills another way? And started applying to different kinds of jobs with similar skills, even if it wasn’t where I thought I would end up or wasn’t my ideal job. It worked! The process is long, but, I believe there’s a reason. If you got the first job you’d applied for you might be missing out on the job that’s right for you. :) Good luck!
Mollie Sweet recently posted…Pregnancy Workouts and Miles-26 Weeks
I’m starting to believe there is a reason too. The process has been testing my faith but, like you mentioned, it’s also forced me to reevaluate and change perspectives.
Diana @ Live Lean Eat Green says
Obsessed with your pants in that last picture. I can totally relate on the job hunt! It took me a year to find my current job–after applying to probably 200 jobs, going on 50 interviews and never hearing back it got frustrating. Have faith though- I promise when the right opportunity comes around things will happen!
Diana @ Live Lean Eat Green recently posted…3 Ingredient Avocado Pudding
I’m sorry you went through that too, but really it’s nice to know I’m not alone (and crazy)! Thank you for your kind words <3
Claire @ My Pink & Green Life says
This summer I also learned how important it is to take time off from social media. I’m glad that I did, because now I’m back for my last year of school and even though I won’t be able to post/comment/keep up with the blogging world like I was able to over the summer, my FOMO is hardly existent. Taking breaks keeps us grounded in our real lives and makes us realize how truly fulfilled we would be even without the Internet! Good luck on the job search, Emily–I know you will find the perfect thing for you! <3
Claire @ My Pink & Green Life recently posted…Travel: Exploring Hilo & Akaka Falls State Park
As the summer progressed, the FOMO died down significantly. Not to say it’s gone (because it’s kind of a human instinct) but it’s at a much healthier level.
This summer has definitely been one of ups, downs and loop-the-loops… You are completely right about how negativity in the form of injury, illness, disappointment and frustration can so easily put a damper on your whole outlook and I am looking forward to hearing more about your sources of positive energy.
I have also struggled to find the ‘right’ job (or any job I felt the slightest bit passionate about) since leaving University but, after a lot of thought, we have decided to take a different track so this autumn, I am going back to school in order to get a Masters degree in a field that I enjoy. It is going to be a lot of hard work, but fingers crossed it will pay off in the end.
In light of this though, I haven’t had a ‘proper’ summer vacation or any trips far from home, but I also love to get out of the house for a change of scenery so have been doing most of my work from various coffee shops, and it has become quite an adventure sourcing out new places to go!
I really hope that you keep making progress with your stomach issues and also that you are able to return to running soon. Give Archie and Rocco a cuddle from me too!
Oh how I wish there wasn’t an ocean in between us! I’ve contemplated going back for my Master’s too because, like you, I’ve found a path I’m very passionate about. This stage of life is so confusing, but it’s comforting to know we aren’t alone in our experiences. I hope you are having a great week. The dogs say hi xoxo
I love your finishing statement…when all else fails go climb a mountain. Sometimes it feels like we are already climbing mountains and the end is never in sight. What I’ve learnt recently is that becoming an adult is hard and life doesn’t actually get any easier.
The more I learn, the more I realize just how much I’ve got to learn. But I think taking it one day at a time makes it not seem so bad.
Megan recently posted…Living in a society that breeds eating disorders
So many great points, Megan. I agree, the more I learn, the more I realize there is still to learn. It’s overwhelming when I think about it all at once, but in a way it’s exciting.
Kristy from Southern In Law says
Archie has changed so much since you first got him!
I feel like “when all else fails, climb a mountain” needs to be my new motto ;)
And it has been winter for us in the southern hemisphere but in the last six months I’ve learnt that my heart thrives on helping others, however, I can’t help every single person in the whole world and that’s okay – it just means I have to give my all to those who I can!
Kristy from Southern In Law recently posted…Recipe: Healthy Zucchini Bread Baked Oatmeal (Vegan)
Kristy, that is such a powerful message and probably something that was hard to accept. You have the best mindset behind it!
Marina @ A Dancer's Live-It says
OMG your puppies!!! I want them!!! This summer I learned that I’m no longer concerned about “food remorse”. If I wanna have ice cream, I’ll have the darn ice cream! My body is SO much more than aesthetics.
Marina @ A Dancer’s Live-It recently posted…7 Questions To Stop Asking Dancers
No matter what else happened, you have had a beautiful and successful summer with that one :)
Ellen @ My Uncommon Everyday says
We didn’t get Pippa as a puppy (she was 2, and had basic training from her prison program), so I’ve never watched a puppy turn into a dog. It’s so SWEET. Archie is adorable and has grown so much!
This is so vague, but this summer I realized that it’s okay to change your plan – or not even have one, leaving your options open. Miss “Always Follows the Plan” over here probably should have learned that sooner, but I guess I’ve never had to. :P
Kerri McGrail says
I had the opposite of you this summer- for the first time in my life I was in school year round (including all summer) and that taught me some of the same things that you learned. I definitely learned to take care of myself and change up my scenery often! i love studying at coffee shops or somewhere outside. Goodluck in the job search!
Kerri McGrail recently posted…Chocolate Banana Smoothie Bowl
Oh my gosh your puppy is SO cute and fluffy.
We got a puppy 3 weeks ago so I know what you mean-they are a TON of work, but seriously so worth it. Although we got really lucky because so far we have only heard him bark maybe once? Hoping it stays that way haha.
The job search thing has got to be so frustrating! I’m nervous for when my time comes with that in less than a year…
“When all else fails, go climb a mountain” <—- seriously though, that is the best advice!