Reflections on summer
There was a time when we thought being "really into autumn" was a personality trait, or at least something slightly unique.
We thought there was a small subset of people who loved the season, and that it was a kind-of-interesting opinion to have, as though we might find ourselves in a situation where it was imperative to defend our favourite season.
Then came the Christian Girl Autumn meme (which I cannot believe was only in 2019) and those of us on the internet started to mentality prepare ourselves mid-August for posts about Pumpkin Spice Lattes and cosy jumpers and crunchy leaves. And soon we realised, wait, doesn't everyone love this time of year?
I am the first to admit that I am a bit basic (I think everyone is a bit basic) and loving the autumn is one of my most basic traits. Every single year I squeal in Aldi when they start having in mini squashes (I have a favourite pumpkin curry I wait all year to make), I have the most insane jumper collection (more on this in a few weeks!), I drink hot drinks half a dozen times a day year round, and my hobbies of reading, writing and cross-stitch are definitely best suited to chilly weather.
But every single year around the end of August, I find myself filled with that sinking-heart feeling of regret.
We don't get much summer over year in the UK. Once the autumn hits, we're in winter coats until at least May and I'm writing this in August wearing a fleece. So once I commit to autumn, I'm in cold-weather season for the long haul.
And I always find myself thinking I didn't make the most of the summer.
Cause the reality is I like the idea of summer a lot more than summer itself. I hate hot weather, hate being too hot, hate having bare legs (I hate showing any skin really!). I hate the beach because I hate sand, I hate eating outside when there are insects flying around, I hate the maintenance of toenail painting and leg shaving and sun cream application.
But I remember writing a note in my phone this time last year mourning the summer I basically didn't have. Where I live, we were in lockdown pretty much all of the summer, and when we weren't, I didn't feel safe going out much. I mourned only sitting in one beer garden, only having one ice cream, not going to the beach or on holiday at all and not wearing any of my summery dresses. I mourned no summer football, few BBQs, and not sitting in the garden because my neighbours were having noisy, dusty building work done outside.
But this year has been different. While I still can't quite believe it's nearly September, I have done so many things this summer I was dreaming about last year.
I've been surprised by ice cream vans in my local park and bought a 99 every time. I've sat in beer gardens. I've worn my favourite summer dress, worth the effort of toenail painting to wear with sandals, and I had so many compliments.
I've worn pink lipstick and big bright earrings and had bright pink and bright yellow and rainbow nails.
I've drank sangria and mojitos and Aperol Spritz and cold rosé. We've had more BBQs than I can remember, thanks to a new BBQ and to two fantastic vegetarian BBQ cookbooks (reviews coming soon!). I've drank iced coffee in the morning and eaten fresh fruit and summer salads in the garden.
I've been on holiday! A roadtrip to Wales with music on and the windows down. Taking my dog to the beach and seeing him dip his paws into the sea.
And while I've already bought my first jumpers of the year and I'm already looking at cosy winter recipes, I'm not quite ready for the summer to be over year. While it's easy for me to fall (pun not intended!) into the autumn the second I see those pumpkins in Aldi, I think I'm going to try to enjoy the summer for a bit longer. Enjoy bare arms and cold drinks and bright lips just a bit more.
And though I think I'll always feel like I wanted one more ice cream, one more beer garden, one more BBQ, I think I can honestly say I've done everything I wanted to do this summer. And I think that more than makes up for last year.