All through the winter months all I could think about was summer. Of course that wouldn’t mean much to someone who would be living it up on South Beach, but here in the Midwest it’s a pretty good deal.
All I could think about was how I would plan my annual trip to New Jersey and enjoy the beach life for a week and then let myself step back into reality.
My sister graduates high school today and I still remember my graduation like it was yesterday. Yeah, it was 14 years ago, but man did it go by fast. At that time I really didn’t know how old I was. I had no clue that all of the kids life that I had experienced would soon evaporate. There was no thought of a credit score, health insurance, and a multitude of other heinous bills that Americans are forced to pay.
My body was so much more durable and I would have never thought that I would injure and tire as easily as I do now. I thought the beach body would last forever and I would still go to the movies every weekend with whatever money mom and dad gave me. But as soon as I took off that rented cap and gown I would have never thought that I would have to endure so much hardship to find my undiscovered glory.
I was so intent on going to college as far away from home as possible and that there wouldn’t be anything put in my way that would ever stop me. Yes, I would be sad to leave some friends and some others I wish I still had the binding ties to them. But, as we get older we inevitably grow apart. We start working, we grow our own families, and before we know those freedoms that we thought we were gaining in high school were already had.
It was the first day of summer and I found myself training harder than ever and working a minimum wage job at Parvin State Park scooping pooh out of the bathroom stalls every morning on the beach and cleaning log cabins. All I could think about was how I couldn’t wait for college to start, because it wasn’t something that I would want to spend the rest of my life doing. How the permanent employees working there did it day in and day out I could not understand.
College wasn’t a cakewalk either. I was still financially broke, but I had so much fun on that Ohio State campus, that those memories will last more than a lifetime with me. I can remember washing paper plates and saving plastic forks from restaurants in order to make it from day to day. I didn’t have a car, but thankfully the public transportation around there was exceptional. Of course, the bus was never always on time, and that could be a dilemma in the Midwest.
As I sat there that junior year in college microwaving some macaroni and cheese and looked at my sofa (a minivan seat picked up from a dumpster); I thought back at how good I really had it in high school. There was no tuition, no rent to pay, and I had food and shelter all day long. I was really ill prepared to step out on that platform of adulthood.
Right a check? What do you mean? I argued back and forth with my first landlord. Thankfully, the internet was running a little faster than when I was in high school so I was able to look something up and get it done correctly. Balancing the checkbook consistently was something else that would be mastered a little bit later in life.
Those were the days and I am so thankful that my parents were brave enough to let me get on that Amtrak train with only five bags to my name. If I would have stayed home and I am more than sure that I would not have developed my brain to strive for something better than what I was dealt. Persistence always beats doubt. Not everyday was sunny and there wasn’t a party everyday. Sometimes money just couldn’t come through Western Union fast enough.
But I thank God for that first day of summer with that shovel. So on this first day of summer I would like to congratulate my sister Jessica on such an illustrious career in track and field and being the last in the family to graduate from high school. Congratulations on your first day of summer and don’t look back!