CONFESSION: This summer, I pretty much ate and drank whatever I wanted.
These days, I’m paying for it. While I regret just about nothing about this awesome summer, that frivolity is one thing that pains me. Literally and figuratively. I know…we all get off track, we all give in to indulgences…we all get weird around cookies. But, I seriously used myself this summer. And then I let myself get away with it. I was my own bad boyfriend.
I won’t lie: gluttony is super fun. And it’s easy to talk yourself into. As summer came into focus, I was working out religiously, my health was stable and after all, it was summer. “Can’t we just let go of the rules a little bit?” I thought.
Clearly, I forgot how far I have come.
I was in the womb the first time I came to Seven Mile Island in New Jersey. And I’ve come back every summer, ever since. Except maybe one when I lived in Texas, if I’m remembering correctly.
When I was a little girl, my mom’s whole side of the family would come – my grandparents and all their offspring: aunts, uncles, cousins, all of us packed into one house. Sometimes for as long as three weeks.
Ironically, Adrian grew up coming here as well. Oh, how I love to sit around imagining that we may have met at the arcade as kids.
Coming here feels like coming home. Even the sulphury smell of the marsh when we drive over the bridge triggers instantaneous relaxation. The seagulls cawing, the wind blowing, the sun shining, the bustle of shoppers and diners making their way down 96th Street.
I haven’t had a summer off since 2001. That was the summer we moved to DC from Texas in the month of June with no prospect for jobs, no apartment and no money. I’d left behind the hourly pay that I earned at a small-scale publishing desk job and some moonlighting at my favorite job ever: greeter and folder at the Gap.
But it was DC, a land of opportunity. We figured we’d have jobs in no time.
With a parental co-signature, we ended up renting in an idyllic garden apartment complex that felt a little like Melrose Place (I’m dating myself, I know) because so many people we knew lived in or around it. It had this huge glamorous pool that was far more enticing than job searching. So days slipped into weeks, slipped into months, and before you knew it, we had idly passed nearly four months with nary a job on the docket. But, man, did we have rockin’ tans and “regular” status at a bar up the street. Oh, and about $10,000 in credit debt. But we didn’t care. We were young and wild and free.