Summer, as evidenced in past entries here, is always a nostalgic time for me. Maybe because popular culture dictates that summer is a time of transition and coming-of-age, of young love and growing up and finding one’s self. Maybe because in my sort-of short time here in Edmonton, I have been fortunate enough to experience many great summers, and the summers here are absolutely stunning with 16-17 hour days, brilliant sky-filling sunsets, green trees and gold fields as far as the eye can see, and an endearing, small, distinctive skyline that sits like a piece of jagged amethyst with its shimmering prisms jutting out, standing tall amidst the softness of the North Saskatchewan river valley.
In summertime I find myself thinking about bygone times in one way or another. I can even remember specific days in my past summers; the last day of summer when my childhood friend and I cycled out to Lake Annette by ourselves for the very first time. We were about to enter grade five, and our lives were tumultuous in a way only we knew or understood, but there we were with our Jammer bicycle helmets and neon green and pink sunglasses, heading to the lake on our junior mountain bikes. Or the day when my three friends and I ate at the now-defunct Il Portico downtown and had lobster ravioli and wine, and the sun was gleaming outside as we talked and laughed until the late evening. I remember in 2007 when I flew to Vancouver alone just for one night, so I could see the one and only Ryan Adams & the Cardinals at the Commodore Ballroom. It was my first time in Vancouver since I was 8. I love the coast; the smell of the pungent seaweed, the sounds of swarming gulls, the gently crashing waves and sea salt. I fell in love that day, with life and music and the pacific and everything.
I have, as of late, noted that in just a few short weeks, everything I have here now will disappear. I have photos and personal touches dotting my office and I have an apartment full of my treasured belongings, many of which have already been packed away in duct-taped boxes. And they are only reminders that my life is about to spiral into something completely and entirely different. In the name of what..? A degree that may never ever get me a job I want. Or a degree that has me feeling the way I felt while I completed my Film Studies and Creative Writing degree four years ago. Or a move that will leave me feeling displaced and alone. Or a move that will allow me the freedoms to be who I’ve always wanted to be and spend time with the people I love. There is much to think about, much to reminisce about, and soon it will all culminate. Soon I’ll close the door on my empty apartment and leave, and not return. Is that brave? Or is it outright stupid? Time will tell.
In the head space I’m in right now though, I am desperately seeking change. It may not be as easy to obtain as I thought it would be, but leaving all of this right now, is the best thing I can do to get over these plagues that are being here. Because nostalgia can be a back-handed compliment. It can be injurious to think of the past with such fondness that the present seems leaden and empty and dim. It can be injurious to think of people who were there, who now seethe with hatred at the very thought of you, and know they were probably hoping you didn’t make it, and that you are not successful, and think about a time when you had the kinds of conversations that me, as that high school student who spent her summers watching reality TV shows with her mom every evening and went to work as a housekeeper during the day doing backbreaking labour four hours on end, could only dream about. And to this person I would say that I don’t care if I’m successful, and I don’t care if I’m better or worse off without them. All I care about, is taking a chance, because that is bravery, and bravery means more to me right now than anything else.