Who I Am In The Summer

I think I’ve been romanticising the person I am in summer compared to the one I am in winter.

Over the last few months, as winter has swelled and begun to ebb, I’ve been making grand proclamations (mostly to myself, occasionally to other people) about what I’m going to be like when warmer weather comes. I’m never going to sleep past 7:30am. I’m going to get my business up and running and have heaps of clients. I’m going to write all the time – in cafés, outside in the sun – and get published all the time. I’m going to exercise. I’m never going to be idle and I’m never going to waste a moment.

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But hold on a second.

Just who exactly is this wondrous-sounding Summer Claire? This person who gets up at dawn every day without ever sleeping in, who walks and does yoga and eats healthily 100% of the time, who kicks all kinds of personal and professional goals and blazes her trail with no setbacks in sight?

I can tell you now: that Claire has never existed – not last summer, or any before – and I doubt she will when summer comes this year.

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Both Nate and my mum often tell me I’m too hard on myself. That I don’t give myself enough credit sometimes (Mum), that it’s sometimes OK to eat chocolate and pizza and sleep after eight (Nate). I agree, begrudgingly, to a certain extent. (After all, what kind of life would it be if you never treated yourself, never rested, never enjoyed a moment of idle time?) However, I also know there are areas in which I could definitely practise more discipline and determination – times where I could set more goals, and work harder to achieve them.

I have had a fair few things going on lately, but if I’m honest with myself, I’ve occasionally been using the season as the basis of an excuse when I’m unmotivated to do certain things. ‘Oh, it’s cold and windy outside – I couldn’t possibly go for a walk.’ ‘It’s just the season that’s getting me down and making me unproductive today.’ ‘Well, it is winter – everyone eats comfort food/stays indoors a lot/slows their progress down a bit at this time of year.’

While these statements are sometimes true, the fact is that if I really want something – if I know the sort of person I want to be and the sort of life I want to lead – then the weather, or the way it makes me feel, should not play a part; not as hindrance nor as help. The goals and lifestyle I aspire towards are objective, concrete. They’re no harder to achieve in winter and no easier to attain in summer.

Having said that, though… I am looking forward to the months ahead.

Late last week, I went for a brisk afternoon walk, for the first time in a long while. It was nice – really nice. The sun was warm and encouraging; the sight of the sea was calming, as it always is. The air hinted at the salty scent of summer from the ocean and the fish and chip shop.

I walked close beside two magpies digging in the ground and paused to watch them (neither paid me any heed – I liked that). I came home and took off my shoes, letting my usually sock-bound feet feel the breeze and the sun-warmed concrete of my balcony. I filled up my new little watering can and gave my new little pot plants a drink. I felt peaceful and warm and content.

If the next few months have more afternoons like those, I definitely won’t be complaining.

When it comes down it, though… Instead of assuming or hoping some magical change will occur with the onset of spring and summer, I’m going to action that change of my own volition. And if the warmer weather helps me do so, all the better.

The magical Summer Claire may not really exist, but I can aspire to be like her all the same.

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