The Summer Enigma

Chloe Jad
3 min readJul 18, 2021

As soon as the weather gets hotter, students get wearier, and the wait for that three-month vacation is almost too much to bear. But then, summer arrives in all its golden glory.

At first, it feels as though summer could not have come quicker, as though it were always meant to be and school is some foreign concept. What comes next, however, (at least, for me) is the realization that time is as intimidating as a gift as it is as a constraint.

Lacrosse season coming to a close in the regional semi-finals, the weird hybrid-learning school year finally finished, and quitting my job at the country club left me with an uncomfortably open schedule.

It was simultaneously freeing and horrifying. I finally had the time to do all those things I would do “if I had the time.” Now there was no excuse. Here was that time, gifted to me in the form of three, glorious months. There is so much to do. In fact, there is so much to do that I become paralyzed and instead do nothing.

See, when quarantine had first begun and we all thought it was going to be a long spring break, I was on top of all my personal goals and I conquered that free-time like nobody’s business. I guess the fact that summer is expected — anticipated — makes spontaneity and motivation hit a lull. It’s like finishing the grueling marathon, and knowing you can just collapse onto the ground until further notice.

Don’t get me wrong — I get those random spurts of inspiration and energetic drive that we all do, and on those blessed days I feel supreme. But how can I have that ambition, a dependable, steady stream of “do it” energy consistently? Is that even really possible? Can’t I just vegetate for three months?

My other question, and complaint, is why do we directly correlate our self-worth to our productivity on any given day? Sure, waking up at 5 a.m. and saving the world all before noon is ideal and highly gratifying, but it is also okay to have a slow day, a relaxed day, a day that strayed from the plan. It seems like there’s always something more fun to do to distract from the real “TO DOs.”

So with all the open-ended days summer provides, the nightmare — or, rather, the summer enigma — begins:

To do or not to do?

(Or “do,” but do that other fun thing that isn’t the actual “do.”)

I find it infinitely helpful to give myself a clear, listed structure to my day. I like to motivate myself with the intensely satisfying feeling of checking off a task. In my Notes app I type “TO DO” and begin the checklist. The key to this is to be realistic. What can I do today, and which of those things should be my top priority. The list should never be evenly weighted; prioritize what must be done over what could be done at any other time. I also aim to be flexible: if things come up, I should take them as they come and adapt my schedule around it instead of trapping myself into a rigid box.

Another important thing I always forget is that not every life-changing goal I set can be done in a day, or even a week. It takes time, planning, and failure.

“Don’t try to fix everything in your life in a few days. Be realistic.”

Despite telling myself to take progress in steps — manageable steps — allowing myself to be overwhelmed and intimidated ensures that I never take action on anything. The most important thing is to start. I need to ingrain that concept into my overly-ambitious and painfully-procrastinative mind.

All of this is easier said than done (as all of life is), but with senior year stomping its way into August and college applications becoming a very real, very harsh reality, it is vital I get a grip on this summer enigma.

Time is a blessing that I love to sacrifice to Netflix and YouTube, but real life awaits just behind the door, and I intend to let it in! I plan to make this summer a great one, if only it would quit flying by.

Anyway, thank you in advance, Summer.

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Chloe Jad

Writing to preserve people, places, & thoughts in time.