Summer approaches a bittersweet end

By Melissa Blake

William Shakespeare once wrote that “summer’s lease hath all too short a date.” Indeed, it’s hard to believe the summer soon will be a distant memory. Before we know it, the winds of fall will blow into DeKalb, and we will begin another semester of tests, projects and endless stress.

But who says we can’t savor summer’s sunshine and cool nights a little longer? Summer has always been my favorite time of the year – and not just for the excuse to be lazier than a bump on a log. After a summer filled with a trip to the Gulf of Mexico and many hours of shopping, I got to thinking: When you get to be in your 20s, you start to realize life is full of bittersweet moments. And more often than not, it’s these moments that best put life into perspective.

The dictionary defines bittersweet as “producing or expressing a mixture of pain and pleasure.” It’s a bit disconcerting to think that an experience could have both good and bad aspects to it. Perhaps one of the first – and most important – bittersweet moments in life is graduating from high school. If you’re like the majority of adults, the end of high school couldn’t come soon enough; you may even be ready to forget the entire experience. But there’s no denying that in leaving the hallowed halls of that scary place, you’re also leaving a comfort zone. You are forced to enter the real world – whether that entails college or a job. The real world soon can become a far scarier place than the public school system.

Birthdays are another bittersweet event. Now, I’ve always loved my birthday and count down the days. But birthdays can trigger feelings of happiness and sadness. When your special day rolls around, you may be happy to be another year older. A birthday is also one of the few things in life that will mark the passage of time. Every year, you’re reminded that you’re a little older, and that can really put life into perspective. You can rest assured that I’m not going to let my birthday get me down this year. I like to look at the happy side of birthdays, and I’m not about to change my tune this year!

On a more personal note, this summer has been bittersweet. If you know me, you know that I love my summers! I’ve always lived it up during the summer. However, my best friend joined the National Guard and has been gone since March. We’ve been practically inseparable since third grade, so not having her here has cast some sadness on my summer. And if that weren’t enough, my sister got a job at Target a few weeks ago. I’m so proud of her, but I miss the quality time we once spent together.

But time marches on, and I’ve learned this summer that bittersweet moments also bring change. We have no choice but to adapt to these changes, which is what I’ve done.

Still, a part of us seeks to recapture our youth to avoid these bittersweet moments. Perhaps that is why men have a midlife crisis and women spend a fortune on Botox injections. My efforts to recapture a happier time in my life have really taken on a life of their own this summer. If you read my column last week, you know that I spent 800 words romanticizing the ’90s. I miss those years for more reasons than the trivial ones I wrote about. For me, the ’90s represent a simpler time in my life. I had the happiest childhood anyone could ask for, despite all my surgeries and doctor visits. In fact, my desire to relive the past has cost me $20, as I recently bought one of my favorite videos from my childhood on eBay. Anyone remember Hugga Bunch?

Life doesn’t always turn out the way you want or expect it to, and you’ll undoubtedly experience more bittersweet moments in life – some heavy on the bitter, while others heavy on the sweet. But perhaps it’s life’s twists and turns that mold us into the people we become. As I always say (and I coined this myself): “If you always stand on the shore, you’ll never feel the water.”