An Open Letter to My Summer Self

Dear My Summer Self,

For as long as I can remember, you’ve have always been my favorite. It’s not just the long, endless days filled of daylight or the beach vacations oozing with salty air and sweet, melting ice cream cones. Nor was it always the break from tasking schoolwork or a reunion with old friends at sleepaway camp. The summertime has always represented a hopeful time for me— proof that something long and dreadful, such as a cold and gray winter, can be followed by something warm, sunny and bright.

From an outside view, I’ve got to say you seem pretty damn lucky.

We hear it all the time: summer bodies are made in the winter, aren’t they? Romances always bud as the weather begins to warm, don’t they? All the long days and short nights are just made for trying more, doing more, squeezing in more. “Once summertime comes, I’ll do this….plan this….get around to doing this…,” I found myself saying to you in the wee months of March, April and May.

So it’s easy to conclude that, while many have always stamped the autumn with a time of change, for me, it was you burdened with that daunting task. Each summer, I would aim to start with fitter, flirtier, more successful me.

And yet, as the stories of failed New Year’s resolutions and and Monday goals tend to tell, it is rare that these summers ever truly succeed. I would start off strong—fitting in all my fruit and veggies, making lists of where I would go and what I would see, aiming high and saying aloud all the things I had hoped to do in the coming months. But as the weather slowly began to cool, it felt like my time was slowly slipping away from me. My clear failure was suddenly creeping up on me and staring me in the face, day after day after day.

But, as I am not one to give up, this summer started off just like any other. Come winter, I had wanted changes in my life and the long expanse of months ahead of me seemed like the perfect amount of time to put the wheels in motion. This year’s goals? To work on my career, my cardio, my writing, my travels and my friendships…and so on and so on.

And so I began. I was worked tirelessly for this summer of high expectations, staying out late for every happy hour I could attend and squeezing in as many day trips and vacations as I could possibly afford. I was pushing myself to do it all with a deadline stamped within my mind. Even though I knew it was just me wishing for these goals and no due date actually existed, I couldn’t stop myself from thinking time was running out.

But as July neared, I had already found myself burnt out, turning my weekends of possibilities into opportunities to binge and recoup. Trips to the lake turned into a Real Housewives binge-a-thon, and my outdoor workouts were suddenly midday naps locked away in my bedroom. My body just couldn’t take all the expectation and instead of dialing down, it simply gave up. Another summer wasted, I had said to you, my summer self.

Until it hit me.

Just like we often live for our Fridays, I was attempting to live for a time that had been built up to the point where nothing could satisfy it. Instead of taking things day by day, I was working overdrive towards accomplishing everything I wanted.  I was feeling empty, terrified of the fleeting time and hopeless that I couldn’t do it all.

As my feelings of exhaustion and defeat came to their peak, I realized I could no longer treat myself this way. And this brings me to say that I owe you an apology, my summer self.

My entire life, you had represented my most perfect me, one who could accomplish anything and everything while defeating the inevitable factor of time. During the summer, I could do no wrong. And yet, a winter self of me exists too, you know, and she is perfectly capable of doing what she wants. This winter self needs to stop waiting for something warmer, better, easier, and just look forward to doing things she wants to do, whenever she gets the itch to try.

So, dear summer self, I’m officially breaking up with you. You have done by me so well, all these years, sculpting my goals and pushing my perseverance. But you, as an expectation, are simply no longer needed. I’ve decided to stop living for the near future and attempt to live as best as I can, right here, right now.

No matter what the temperature looks like outside.

Stephanie Limiti is a born and raised New Yorker living out her dreams of palm trees and sunshine in Los Angeles. When she's not zenned out in yoga class, she's reading biographies and volunteering at dog rescue shelter. Follow her on Instagram.