Almost immediately after I signed my latest job offer I realized that this wonderful “summer of me” was coming to an end. The initial plan, which I had formulated just hours after I was laid off in late April, was to enjoy the summer, make good use of my time, and find a great job for September. Sometimes plans don’t go accordingly but in this rare case, it pretty much went as I had hoped it would. That didn’t stop me, however, from having a sudden panic because I feared I didn’t get to all the things I should have.

Overall, I should be and am fairly happy with how the last four months have gone. In those months, I’ve expressed numerous times how I wanted to use the summer not just to relax but for personal growth. For the most part, I think I made some progress there. I lost almost twenty pounds by being more active. I can’t even guess the last time I was this slim. Perhaps it was the summer of 2008 when I was playing tennis at least twice a week. I enjoyed the nearly perfect summer weather we had in Vancouver. For so many summers, I was stuck inside behind a computer. For the rainless month of July, I think I was out in the sun almost every single day. When you’re working in an office, that’s just not possible. Finally, I widened my cooking skills. There was a certain enthusiasm I had for learning how to make different dishes. I sometimes would spend a whole day running around buying ingredients, meats, spices, and cooking implements for a recipe. I would wake up with a liberating sense of freedom knowing I didn’t have to worry about anything that day other than making a delicious meal.

Of course, with the realization that I will be starting work again but I began thinking about the stuff that I perhaps missed out on and maybe should have done as well. I never thought about these things before because going back to work wasn’t a concrete reality until just last week. Was that a mistake? Maybe. There are a few things that I think I might have missed. The one that sticks out in my mind is that I could have spent more time amongst friends. That’s not to say I was hermit for the last four months, far from it. It’s just that there were many days that became about me. A day where I’d go learn how to cook this. A day where I’d go see a movie by myself in the afternoon. A day where I’d walk around Stanley Park on a glorious weekday afternoon. I suppose people didn’t have the freedom or flexibility like I did in terms of time but I should have made a better effort in seeing friends in the evening or on the weekends.

I also started to think about if perhaps I should have traveled more. Sure, I went to the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas last month but could I have done more? Should I have planned a grander trip? Europe? Australia? Maybe I should have. Perhaps, I should have even thought about a trip to parts of this province that I’ve never seen. Travel was a tricky thing to balance since you can spend a lot of money on it. Burning through money without knowing when I’d exactly get a job could have shortened my summer. Still, I think there could have been one more trip.

Lastly, there are dozens of one-off things that are running through my head that I perhaps should have done. Maybe I should have volunteered somewhere like the food bank or a soup kitchen. Maybe I should have watched the sun rise on Grouse Mountain. What if I should have concentrated fixing a personal flaw in my character? Maybe I should have read more books. Maybe this or maybe that.

I have about a week and a half before I go back to work. I’ll try my best to make them valuable and purposeful days but experience tells me I won’t get to everything I want to do.

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