The Start of Summer

I always consider Memorial Day as the unofficial start of summer. On this weekend the neighborhood pool opened, school finished, and my family packed up to head to the beach. This year — as with most things — the start of summer looks different.

Photo: Circa 2010 Ocean City Maryland – Where I spent all my summers!

We are currently moving apartments. Yes, we are those people moving in the middle of a pandemic, in Boston – one of the current hotspots. It’s truly surreal and I hope to one day write and reflect about this experience But right now, as I sit here and type this, my feet are swollen, paint streaks my hair, and my creative juices are flowing, fueled by the excitement of our (forced) “summer cleaning.”

John Michael and I moved to Boston a year ago. We’d never stepped foot in the city, or the state, or New England really. We took a chance on new jobs, in a city far away from home and our families. We doubled down on a relationship defined by 3+ years of long distance. It hasn’t been the easiest. I’ve talked about my struggle with this move before here, and after 6 months we debated leaving. So this move is a huge bet on staying in Boston. We’ve dreamed, cried, prayed, and talked about this since the start of 2020, and although we were supposed to move in two months ago, I truly believe things happen for a reason. This timing is perfect for us.

Maybe it’s the excitement of the move, or maybe it’s the realization that my job announced we are to work remotely indefinitely. Whatever it is, I am taking the idea of the start of summer and running with it.

I’m starting by cleaning up

This move has forced us through the paces of typical, new season cleaning. We have Marie Kondo’d our wardrobes, cleaned the inside of lampshades (the dustbunnies in these are gnarly!), bought new plants, and re-arranged our furniture to usher in more light.

I’m also cleaning my online channels and presence.

As I build a brand online I have been thinking about my purpose and mission in sharing. I LOVE Instagram, and especially the planner community on Instagram. It is the most genuine and inspiring group of people I have “virtually” met. Every account that I interact with brings a smile to my face. I’m also re-finding joy in Pinterest. It’s been a while since I’ve curated boards – but I love the inspiration it gives me.

My personal Facebook does not bring me that same sense of peace of inspiration. There are people I am “friends” with whose ideas I do not agree with and whose posts I do not enjoy seeing. But I feel this obligation to remain friends because we shared freshman year English together … it’s a silly obligation and it doesn’t make sense to me. I find it so easy to fall into the comparison trap and self-doubt because of toxic positivity. So I am starting on Facebook, sifting through accounts to gauge how they make me feel.

The next part of my start of summer is about time.

I struggle with feeling it’s OK to take time for me( raise your hand if you are with me there). But in my effort to do a summer refresh, I’ve decided to be intentional about making time for my passions.

As I unpack boxes I am looking at souvenirs, items, and pictures of experiences that have brought me So. Much. Joy. And I’m realizing I bury these passions (exploring new cultures, making a home, baking, reading, content creation, and creative planning – to name a few), because of the pressure I feel to maintain a routine.

So I am giving myself the grace to explore these passions again without time constraints. My hope is incorporate one of them daily. And guess what, y’all? Even though I’m not working out as much, and my apartment isn’t as clean, and I’m not checking off my to-do list — I’m genuinely happier. And to shock y’all even more — this exploration of passion isn’t something on my schedule. I am just letting it happen. Sometimes, indulging in these passions means making homemade chocolate peanut butter cups during my lunch break (John Michael note: these were really, really good), and sometimes it looks like squeezing in 20 minutes of writing at 11:48 pm before another early morning of unpacking.

Pre-work-from-home Lauren would be freaking out.

I’m still figuring it all out, but I am where I am. I hope that whatever summer brings this year you find time to dive into your passions —whatever they are.


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