Yesterday was Father’s Day and in the early hours of sun rise I drove to my hometown to meet my dad. He was in the front yard weeding the flower beds my mom had carefully kept until she got sick. Seeing me drive up, he turned and urged me to park on the hill (lest my grandmother, who has a history of backing into cars, hit it). We switched to my moms blue truck and we were off on our annual father daughter day (for Father’s Day).
We had a disappointing trip at the flea market (those deals we used to get in the 90s and early 00s!) and had great conversations along the way. We went to several hardware stores that he wanted to go to and we rounded things off with lunch. With the pre-summer heat and me riding shotgun with my dad driving my truck, it felt like the many years of my life spent in that situation.
As we made our way home, we got stuck on a backroad and ventured past the house of one of my closest friends (since 3rd grade). This summer has an oddly similar feel to the summers of my teenage and the summer of my freshman year of college. This is the first summer, since I was 14, that my summer has not involved working. From the age of 15-19, I either took classes part-time in the summer or worked part-time. This still left me with a decent chunk of free-time. Free-time that was spent with friends playing video games, watching movies, going shopping and there was a lot of it. There was a lot of it.
Countless afternoons were spent doing just the above from the age of 14-19. I remember watching a lot of anime, going to the movies at least every two weeks and playing a significant amount of games. I also had 1-2 part-time jobs while attending high school and college, meaning I had money to divulge in entertainment, with bills few in number.
Those were the days, as they say, but of course those days came to an end. My friends either transferred to another college from our local community college, dropped out or decided to pursue a career rather than further their education. I went the transfer route and school engulfed me as well as my new friends. Summers still had those ‘lazy days’, but increasing coursework and real life responsibilities took over. I didn’t have the money to spend on entertainment like I did and eventually it become a rarity (1/3-1/2 the 100+ DVDs and boxsets I own were bought between 14-19).
After graduating college, I spent a year working 3 jobs and taking classes because I was trying to kickstart my career. The following 5 years would see me in 3 jobs (including my current one). Working at year round schools, I never had summers off, but I did have 6 weeks off, in total, throughout the year. Tomorrow presents me with something unfamiliar, however, 2 months off, paid. I have the freedom to do what I would like. I could play video games all day, I could pretend to be a teenager again and binge an anime series if I’d like. It’s extremely rare for me to do it now, as I’m too much of an A-type personality to do that all day unless it includes socializing.
Stil….I think I will. Sure, I have actual things to do and I’ll be spending most of my summers traveling or visiting loved ones, but a lazy day of gaming and watching TV would be rejuvenating, an escape from the real world. After all….