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Summer reflections and big love
Hiiiiii everyone. Sophie here! What’s up? Enjoying the latter half of summer?
I have officially stopped working at the bakery in preparation for law school in two weeks!! It was important to me to have a quick moment of my summer that was purely for fun and freedom, in part, also being nostalgic for the memory of carefree past summers as a child.
So, I’ve had a fair amount of extra time on my hands as of late, and naturally, I have been earnestly wondering “What are other people doing right now?” As in, what do other people do with their free time from work in general? I find the more free time I have, the more guilty I feel about squandering said free time. But I’ve mentioned my unconscious-productivity-mindset many, many times in here, so I won’t focus on that today.
I was re-reading the last newsletter Jess and I sent out, just before the “official” beginning of summer. Since I’m nearing the end of my summer break (so-to-speak) I was trying to see which of my BIG LOVE SUMMER intentions I hit the mark on…and I did compile a couple from the list that I’ve indeed achieved! Here are some abridged notes included for those who care. Cheers to setting some light-hearted fun intentions for the season! I want to keep doing this in the future.
Wear deodorant that works for you (Natural deodorant to cough …aluminum…Old Spice. Which you can knock, but I don’t smell bad …. Also my sister just told me LAST NIGHT that during my DIY deodorant phase, i smelled bad. This secret was kept for years.)
Spontaneity, Impulsive hanging with friends (Lol in retrospect isn’t it counterintuitive to set a goal to be spontaneous?? Uhhh… whatever. It worked for me in relation to really just saying YES way more to things I normally wouldn’t. Roller-skating!!!)
Tennis shoes - no, but TENNIS…yes! (Get stuck in Ft. Lauderdale for 24 hours —→ Spend 7+ hours chilling in the airport—> Get beer—→start watching Tennis—→ Wowie how have I been missing out on this exciting and fashionable sport for my whole life?? Also I have some new tennis crushes. Contact me for more info)
Not sexy (I don’t really know how to explain this one, but yeah, I think it had to do with not labeling my summer as “Big Slut Summer” like I did last year…lmao no regrets)
Being on the internet A LOT or A LITTLE — WHICHEVER BRINGS YOU MORE PEACE, (Yes to both of these options at diff times…leaning more towards a little….I have so much more peace at night when I don’t spend 1+ hours scrolling thru tik tok…though I miss it dearly…)
2 Hour nap (Never thought I’d be able to enjoy this incredible activity as a part of my day….I never realized it actually takes lying down and being patient)
dancing (Absolutely!!! This is my all time fave list item from this summer! So much dancing has made me feel alive in the best way)
So, to condense my thoughts here…so far I’m feeling content. The past couple of months have felt a bit anticipatory, because I wanted my summer to feel meaningful and a little monumental, as always. I can’t say it’s been anything truly monumental, but my therapist reminded me last week that much of the time, you can’t recognize the important period of growth/time in your life until after it’s already happened. Makes sense.
Jess and I decided to call it big love summer, and it has been, but not in the way I was projecting it to be. You already know where this is going. I’ve never felt more single in my life lol, and it’s def been a journey of actually celebrating myself, growing, investing in friendships and spending time with myself in a transitional time. It’s hard to say that last sentence in a way that’s not cliche. Reflecting on that last sentiment, it also may not have helped that I’m way off of the…[dating] apps post finishing this book, The End of Love by Eva Illouz, which I HIGHLY recommend for anyone interested in a sociological perspective on contemporary romantic relationships. Wow, it was a bit bleak. But, importantly, Illouz also left room in her writing for contemplating how we can be more self-aware about how we form and approach relationships now and in the future.
TL;DR, the following quote p much summarizes the book’s main thesis. The full book has a lot more nuance obviously!)
“Romantic love is irrational rather than rational, gratuitous rather than profit-oriented, organic rather than utilitarian, private rather than public. In short, romantic love seems to evade the conventional categories within which capitalism has been conceived.”
― Eva Illouz, Consuming the Romantic Utopia: Love and the Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism
I feel happy to be sweating in the heat, but also somehow jaded and cynical. Like, i was remembering the feeling of getting new school supplies before the school year in elementary school, contrasted with the true feeling of not having a set “agenda” over summer break from school. Which I try not to over-romanticize, but lately I feel connected to my past summer selves, caught up in the minutiae of a boring, hot summer day. Many of the past summers have felt characterized by a certain amount of dreamlike yearning as well, which might just be a given at this point. Do others experience this? It’s different than winter, which I guess is just me longing for warmer weather.
Now that I know I’m hopefully going to be busy enough that I won’t be wondering what I “should” be doing come this fall, I still wonder over the summer what others are doing when they aren’t working. It’s not exactly FOMO so much as a curiosity I guess—wondering what’s going on? WWGO. I read this awesome article a couple months back written by Hanif Abdurraqib “On Summer Crushing”. It affected me! He perfectly articulates the summertime yearning feeling I was talking about before through describing the feeling of a summertime crush. Love!
I found this quote within…
I have cursed myself for misreading all my crush’s signals, but I have still felt thankful for the time those signals were there for me to read in the first place. To have a crush can be joyous labor, and can also be anguish, and can also be something that will vanish in a day or an hour and never be revived again. While out with my friends now, we’ll see an old acquaintance from afar and we might exclaim, “I can’t believe I ever had a crush on that person!” and we’ll laugh at the foolish desires of our past selves. And I like that part, too. Even if it is played up for effect.
Going off of this quote, the long summer seems to be characterized by spending a lot of time thinking, and a self-questioning, not wholly dissimilar to the questioning of myself I felt when I first starting reading things in college that posed interesting questions about identity construction/gender that I’d never before considered. Which I want to write way more about, but this quote, from an interview written by Elif Batuman with Celine Sciamma, resonated so hard with me.
When I saw “Portrait [of a Lady on Fire],” it felt like an answer to questions I’d been thinking about for years. In 2016, when I was thirty-eight, I met my partner, who is a woman. It was my first nonheterosexual relationship, and it resulted in a series of changes to my views not just of gender but also of genre (a word that, in French, conveniently covers both). For the first time, I realized the extent to which my ideas about womanly comportment—about the visual and auditory effects you were supposed to produce when you were, say, having sex, or driving a car, or writing a novel—came from movies. Such behavior, which had felt appropriate and legible in the presence of a real or an imagined man, now felt fake and insane.
I’m going to begin to conclude my meandering thoughts on this summer’s comfortably familiar longing here, and say that I’m excited to see how the future keeps unfolding. I’m specifically excited to take my Professional Identity Formation class (LOL) and discover my professional identity. Hmmmm… I’m reallllly hoping my tooth gem fits somewhere in that professional identity, at least for a little while. More later on professional identity and identity in general too, soon!!
Ultimately, I feel lucky to have experienced a brief return to that aimless, restless feeling, the transitional blank space before another change, to have one last (?) summer back to myself… to be preoccupied with crushes, or lack thereof, gently questioning myself once again, sweating, laughing with my friends, walking up and down the street then climbing back up my familiar, sweltering front porch stairs, falling into bed.
note: I’m still trying to figure out a new way that writing this newsletter will fit into my changing schedule this year, so updates to come on that as always. I love hearing from y’all so much! Wishing everyone a good, long rest and lots of hilarious fun. Weeee!! In the meantime, I’ll be uncontrollably binging Love Island!
It’s been a while since I’ve sat down to write literally anything so forgive any clunkiness. The heat feels like it is sucking my my brain cells dry, one by one until all of the juice is gone and my head is full of nothing but raisins—sweet and beautiful golden raisins that taste very good when rehydrated in a curry. The new Love Island season has almost come to a close, every summer I say to myself there is no way that I’ll be having time to watch an hour of this show 6 days a week and every summer I prove myself wrong. And boy do I love to do it. I watch these randoms lie around all day and do nothing but create dynamics with each other and then talk about said dynamics to everyone else and I realize that this is a condensed version of all that life is, or all that life should be. If I could I would press the episodes together into a tiny digital morsel and send it out into space for the aliens a la The Voyager Golden Record.
Whoa!! I had never heard of this, and after reading that Wiki page I found this track called “The Sounds of Earth” from the track list…incredible. I’m fucked up at this concept lol - S
Isn’t it great? I also recommend reading through some of the greetings that were sent up as part of the record’s audio. Personal favorites are the French [“Hello everyone”], Mandarin [“How's everyone? We all very much wish to meet you, if you're free please come and visit”], and Amoy [“Friends from space, how are you all? Have you eaten yet? Come visit us if you have time”].
Surprise for you, I’m writing this from the sky! Not live of course, because I can’t figure out whether or not this plane has internet and I don’t care enough to ask. I do not like to fly and I’m hoping that working on the newsletter will keep me from an anxious thought spiral. I always forget how dramatic the take off feels and am watching a man in front of me read the New Yorker’s “Talk of the Town” section completely unbothered by the sensation of being literally blasted into the air. The only other person in proximity that reads as nervous is my sweet mother and I have to laugh a little because in attempt to distract herself from the flight she’s pulled up the menu for an Italian restaurant my uncle wants to order dinner from once we reach our destination. Sometimes when you’re really nervous it helps to have someone nearby who is slightly more nervous than you, so you can look them in the eyes and say everything is normal and completely fine and your brain is forced to listen to this as well.
My phone just randomly started charging! Fabulous.
I’m chewing Juicy Fruit—a gift from my sister—to help with the change in air pressure. Mom is sitting next to a flight attendant and I’m a little jealous because another thing that helps when you’re nervous is to be around someone that is very knowledgeable about the situation and is not nervous at all. The flight attendant is a very beautiful Asian woman with a peach-colored engagement ring the size of a single Starburst candy. I’m so happy she’s here.
Talk of the Town is now looking at a picture of chicken parmesan on his phone.
Being on a plane is one of the most emo mindsets one can have. I feel like the population of Earth begins and ends with this 737 and there’s really nothing for us to do up here besides think, or watch something I guess but I’ve always found it too hard to concentrate on media when there’s so much going on. On the topic of updates and reflections, really I’ve just been coasting through the summer. It’s flying by as it does truly every year, but there are still a few more things ahead marking mental divisions between now and the fall. Sophie starts law school soon and I’m feeling secondhand excitement! I wish I could have a bumper sticker like those ones that say “My kid is a National Honors Society student” but instead reads “My Bestie goes to Law School”.
omg, i’m literally so honored you feel this way— S
I was watching Joni Mitchell’s surprise performance at the Newport Folk Festival a few weeks ago, and as she sings “Both Sides Now” the camera scans the stage behind her to show a crowd of fellow musicians who are all wearing an expression of individual reflection, thinking about their own griefs and the grief we’ve all shared and also all of the love and the things we’ll never truly understand. I found a video of Joni singing the same song at The Isle of Wight Festival in 1970. She was 26 at the time (which is the age that I am now) and it feels like some unexplainable gift that she comes back to us at 78—after relearning to walk and speak following her 2015 brain aneurysm—to say I've looked at life from both sides now / From win and lose and still somehow / It's life's illusions I recall / I really don't know life at all.
Looking around it does seem like there are many things to be anxious about…my algorithm has me on monkeypox-TikTok, recession-TikTok, the list continues. I have deleted said app in interest of preserving my sanity, but being with my family on this trip and having a summer with my friends has made my realize that if I were given the choice of a timeline to live in I would choose this one over and over in order to spend it with the people I love so much. And I would relive all of my loneliest moments if it means dancing with my uncles to Toxic by Britney Spears after watching my cousin marry her soulmate or having my mom point out to me which tomatoes in the garden are ready for eating. The love does feel really big this summer! The gifts of life are punctuated by hurts but remain plentiful and if the world is truly going up in flames, there are no people with which I’d rather experience the burn. The illusions I recall!! Are bright! and beautiful. Seek pleasure (!) and look out for one another.
Update: We made it!
Mom and the flight attendant held hands for the entire landing. Here she is with her BOGO napkins:
Thanks for reading this! And apologies for the scattered publishing schedule we’ve had the last few months. Let us know if there’s anything specific you guys want to read about!
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Nick, Will, Jake, Ian, Amber, Deb, and Veronica!!! We love you
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