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  • Writer's pictureKaitlyn Widener

Summertime Sadness

I am dissatisfied with my life right now. I suppose it has something to do with the stress of moving my parents, longing for the freedom I had while I was away, and the chaos of organizing things to move into my apartment, but it doesn’t help that I haven’t had much time to enjoy myself. I have worked most of my summer away to save up for the upcoming semester because if I work as hard as I can now, I might struggle a little less during the school year. While saving money may come with perks when august rolls around, right now, I'm in desperate need of a break.

Working fast-food since high school has put many things into perspective for me. More importantly, it’s helped me decide that quick service is not for the faint of heart. Every day that I force myself out of bed to work for a chain that lives on corporate greed, I feel more of my soul slipping away. (Not literally, I just hate my job). Better yet, while I remind myself of the many reasons why I need the job, I continue to get yelled at by customers who expect me to maintain my polite customer service persona. Considering I haven’t gotten fired for telling someone off, I think I’ve done a decent job. I’m polite and well-mannered and unbelievably patient to people who look at me in the most condescending ways. It’s a skill that I, and several thousand other minimum wage workers, have mastered, and I’m telling you, it really sucks. However, that’s a rant for another day. Before I get off on my hatred for how minimum wage workers are treated, let me continue the real purpose of this post; complaining about how the summer between freshman and sophomore year of college completely and utterly sucks.

While it may not be a disaster for some, there are those who don’t have the luxury of summer vacations and peaceful relaxation. Not only does that tend to put a damper on attitudes, but it also doesn’t help if one must work their summer away while their friends enjoy beach trips and photo shoots at the lake. (I’m totally not speaking from experience). I’m not jealous of these individuals. I know that some people have more luxuries than others. I just wish I could take a breather for just a weekend. It’s not like I’ve never traveled before, though there are those who’ve never had the opportunity to step out of their hometown, and I feel for them. It’s just that my soul is longing for journeys I don’t quite have the time, or money, to go on at the moment. The summer before college, I had saved up so much from working over the years that I went on several trips. I used those experiences to calm my mind and help me transition from a high schooler who depended on my parents’ income to the person I am now.

My heart yearns for walks on the beach and late-night swims in pools. It aches for the rush of boarding an airplane alone for the first time, venturing off to new sights and dangers. I long for the smell of salt water and screaming my head off at amusement parks. I miss actually feeling alive.

It’s not like I can’t enjoy myself now, but when I get off work, I’m usually exhausted, and then there’s the added stress of making sure everything is ready for my parent’s move, and then mine come august. It also doesn’t help that the atmosphere in the home is tense. I came back from actually having the space to breathe, to express myself, from having a lot more privacy and respect to now having to conform to my parent’s rules once again. It’s a difficult transition and harder since things are tense because my mother just wants to get everything boxed up, sold, and moved on a timeline that’s going to have her chipping away at piles for years. I swear, sometimes, her way of doing things is the most complicated process known to man. In the end, it won’t matter. It’s just stressing me out more than it should in the present.

The unfinished tasks have my mind in such a complicated scramble that I can’t seem to find time to do things I truly enjoy, and it’s draining me. I previously dedicated an entire semester to allow myself space and opportunities to relax, and it seems that it disappeared the moment I came home. I’m struggling to maintain a good schedule. For instance, I find myself scrolling on TikTok at ungodly hours, going to bed late on days I’m supposed to be getting up for work in the morning, I’m putting off simple tasks, and most importantly, I’m struggling to write. The one thing I find purpose in isn’t flowing out of me like it usually does. The mental blocks are awful, and they only make me feel worse. I’m not sure how to get over it. I know I’ll work my way out of another mental crisis; it’s just rough.

Despite my struggles, I’m looking forward to the next stage of my life. I’m excited to be moving into my college apartment and starting my next semester as a sophomore. Reminding myself about the upcoming changes is the only thing keeping me going. It’s safe to say I have a lot more to look forward to if only I could get over everything that seems to be going wrong.

While complaining has been nice, I know I need to focus on more important topics. I understand that my struggles during the summer after freshman year are less worrisome than some people’s, but they’re still valid. That is an important distinction that I thought I should recognize. There are things that bother some more drastically than others, and patience doesn’t help everyone. I don’t need to make myself feel terrible about not being content with my life at the moment.

I know I’ve focused on the negatives, so here’s to sharing some positives that have happened while being at home.

  • I found out I was eligible for more scholarships, which allows me some space to breathe this upcoming semester. No more working ungodly hours to support myself.

  • My parents have agreed to help me with some apartment expenses, which is more than they did last year.

  • My high school best friend is engaged to be married within the next year and a half.

  • I’m adopting a cat for my sanity when I move back to college.

  • I’ve committed to the plot of a new novel and am excited to see where the journey takes me. (If only writing it was easy.)

  • But most importantly, I’ve come to terms with the growth I’ve made in the last year, am more content with the person I am today, and am excited for the new changes that are to come.

This summer break has been unbelievably difficult, but I am facing these challenges with a positivity I would have never found possible had I not made the decision to work on myself. I am nowhere near where I want to be, but the progress is noticeable. It’s clear I am a better version of myself, and I don’t quite miss the old me. She’s still there, from enjoying princess tea parties to random high school basketball games, and she’s very proud of the person I am now. I remind myself of that when I find myself grieving over what life could have been instead of enjoying what I have made it. I’m not done yet, and I must remind myself constantly.

For anyone reading this blog, I want to make something clear. Pointing out these changes I see in myself is for me, yes, but I also point them out for anyone who stumbles upon these posts about my life. Reading situations someone else goes through sometimes helps personal struggles feel more valid. I only want to encourage people that there are positives in hardships. I might have it easier than some, but my life has been unbelievably hard to manage at times. Though, if I’m putting up with some of the difficulties I have been facing, either with a positive attitude or suppressed anger I didn’t even know I housed, I want others to know they can too. That is why I write. It helps to be noticed, to feel heard and understood, and I hope that others can find a reason to do the same.

I want to point out that if there is anyone struggling and feel like they need someone to reach out to, do not hesitate to contact someone. My inbox is open not only to blog post ideas but to those who want to be heard by someone as well. However, if you feel as though you could be a danger to yourself or others, I’m not equipped in that department. Please reach out to professionals if things become past the point of management. People love you and want you here. I love you and want you here. Everyone has a purpose in this world, so please don’t quit before you find yours. You’re beautifully talented and wonderfully made, and I hope you find help through every step of your journey. Thanks for reading about my issues. Hopefully, the blog will develop into something more interesting than rants about my life. Maybe I’ll be posting book updates soon. Why don’t you stick around to find out?

National Suicide Prevention Hotline


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