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Grow & let go

I’m walking on sunshine *whoa* and don’t it feel… lonely?

Two years ago today I was wandering the streets of Athens, pretending that my 1/4 Italian genes and my untamed curls made me blend in with the beautiful Greek people around me.

This week, I submitted my final college assignment, paid off my credit card debt, and completed my student loan exit counseling. Equally fulfilling, but just not the same.

It’s finally starting to feel like summer in Buffalo, which usually means no more snow and consistently happier days. But with every warmer, sunnier day comes another Snapchat memory. I used to welcome these with nostalgia; they remind me of good times with good people, and assure me that happier memories are yet to come. This year, though, they remind me that I’ll have to wait another year for summer bonfires, beach trips with friends, and to see all the places I planned to travel post-graduation.

Summer is typically a time for congregating and seeing more people than you actually like just for the #SummerVibes. In 2020, everything is different and, unfortunately, summer won’t be exempt from these changes. My dear friend Grace once said that summer Jacklyn is more fun than school Jacklyn, and (thank the Lord) school Jacklyn will never exist again. This year, I’m afraid summer Jacklyn won’t, either.

I’m pretty sure I’ve said this in every blog, but it’s worth saying again that I am grateful for my job and my living situation and my support system. Because quarantine is weird and hard and very, very necessary, but that doesn’t change the disappointment of staying home (and at least six feet) away from friends. And all of the Zoom calls in the world can’t replace the feeling of spending time with friends in the summer.

So how do we cope? What do we do to stay busy –– and safe –– when it feels like the world around us is simultaneously opening up and shutting down?

And how in the world will I ever get my summer tan while avoiding overpopulated Buffalo beaches?

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I obviously don’t have the answers.

So far, I’ve chosen one (1) friend to see regularly. We wear masks and go for walks and get coffee and enjoy the outdoors. We might even go camping, who knows. But having a designated person to see and spend time with (and knowing that we’re both actively social distancing) helps fight off the overwhelming feeling of isolation that the warm weather has brought.

I know this is hard, and everything is uncertain. Every day that passes will bring new challenges but they also bring new opportunities to self-reflect and learn. If you’re anything like me and are fortunate enough to use this time as a break, why not make the most of it?

Please stay safe, please stay healthy, and please wear a mask in public. But please take care of yourself and find ways to beat the summertime slumps, too.

With love and an overwhelming desire to sit by a bonfire,

Jacklyn

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