The Summer of Love. The Boys of Summer. Summer Lovin’. Dog Days of Summer. Summer inspires phrases and titles and delightful quotes like this one from Terry Pratchett’s Wyrd Sisters—“I'd like to know if I could compare you to a summer's day. Because -- well, June 12th was quite nice.”
This year, summer is inspiring all sorts of things in Scout-land. I’ll be turning 50 three weeks from yesterday, which I never thought would bother me, but as the date approaches, I’m starting to wonder. I received an invitation to join AARP the other day, and I’m telling you I almost cried.
But more than reaching a made-up milestone in terms of years on the planet, I seem to be making transitions.
I’m on the verge of giving up my newspaper column, which I have been taking a break from anyway. I had actually decided to let it go completely until some friends suggested I wait until the end of summer to decide. So, it’s still up in the air. I have been a columnist for three years and partially defined myself by the activity—without it, I don't know what I'll be.
I am trying to decide what to do about horn playing. Very few things in life give me the thrill and rush of dopamine I get from playing with an orchestra—when all systems are firing, and the music is good and the audience responds accordingly, I believe I can levitate for just a moment. So, I don’t want to give it up by any means. But I do feel like I need a teacher—at the moment, I fear I have reached my peak, or have even begun the downward slide from it with no return. That can't continue unchecked.
And on an everyday basis, I have restructured my eating habits in order to lose weight. We’re not talking a few winter pounds here. We’re talking several years of carelessness and sloth, so much so that if I lose about two pounds a week, I’ll reach my goal by Christmas. Yes, that much.
Years and years ago, I had a problem with hypo-glycemia. I would get dizzy mid-morning or have unsteady hands before dinnertime, and I felt like something was off. I remember standing at the register at an antique store, waiting to buy a lovely china teacup and saucer (I collect them), and my hands were shaking uncontrollably so that the two pieces in the set rattled. After I bought them, I ran out to my car and was going to rush to a drive-thru to get emergency food, and I backed into a telephone pole, I was that unnerved and out of control.
It was soon after that my doctor prescribed the Atkins diet. It solved all my problems, and as a bonus, I lost 40 pounds and looked svelte in really cute clothes. I had more energy than I had ever had before and didn’t get my usual bronchitis one time in the years I stuck to the plan.
It was hardly a sacrifice, but I eventually lost the will to be disciplined. I got sloppy with my eating and drinking habits and just didn’t care anymore. No incentive. No drive. Give me that damn sandwich and get out of my way.
But now I’m back on track, eating and drinking the way I know I should, the way I know suits me and my system. I don’t count carbs as I used to because I know what’s what with food, but I have a general idea of the total, and it’s working. Christmas, I’m telling you. I’ll need a whole new wardrobe by then, and maybe two or three along the way.
Which leads me to another transition—I wear mostly JJill linen, and I love the feel and casual style of it, but it’s got little to no shape, at least the way I wear it. So, as I trim down and become less self-conscious and less driven to camouflage, I’m looking forward to wearing different kinds of things. They might still be made of linen, but they might not look as if they would fit Mean Joe Greene.
Am I dating myself with that reference? Have I mentioned I’m almost 50? This is the summer where I will face my age. This is also the summer where I will face the challenge of reshaping myself in more ways than one.