In a few hours, this week will come to an end. It’s not just the end of any old week; it’s the end of the last week of my summer break. On Monday, I’ll return to work, and a week later a new semester will begin.

Before I turn my attention to the coming school year, though, I thought I’d reflect just a bit on a few things I’ve learned these past couple of months.

1. My body is not immune to the affects of time. Of course, I already knew I was (gosh, but I hate this word) aging, but until this summer, I hadn’t had to face that reality to any great degree. This summer, though, I discovered flab & sags that I’m fairly sure didn’t exist this time last year. More significantly, I faced my first surgery (other than a tonsillectomy when I was 6 and wisdom teeth removal when I was 23). My orthopedic surgeon assured me that a torn meniscus can and does happen to people of all ages; however, he also informed me that “as we age” . . .

2. My “hotter is better” motto isn’t working for me anymore. I’ve always loved summer and welcomed temperatures in the mid-high 90’s, even with the high humidity that my part of the country is infamous for. This summer, though, I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as in days gone by and {gasp!} a few times I even found myself looking forward — just a bit — to Autumn and the cooler temps it will bring.

3. I may never have a chick-lit type best friend or circle of friends. For a myriad of reasons, I’ve never been part of a small circle of best friends that meet regularly for lunch or to knit together or to do some other type of best-friends activities. Finally, just a few weeks ago, I came to the realization that such a thing might never be in the cards for me, and I’m coming to terms with that.

4. My teen-age perceptions of my peers was, at least in some cases, pretty wide of the mark. This summer I learned that a high school classmate that I admired from afar and thought was popular really wasn’t after all and that she struggled with the same insecurities, feelings of not fitting in, etc., that I did. Conversely, I learned that some other classmates that I thought were rule-followers and law-abiders like myself, were not. Until this summer, I’ve never had even the slightest desire to go back and relive my high school years. Now, though, the idea holds some appeal. I would make an effort to befriend some people I didn’t have the confidence to approach 40 years ago, and I wouldn’t be as awed by a few others.

5. I like Martinis. Thank you, Michelle, for introducing me to these wonderful little adult deserts! I’ve also learned they taste better when in the company of dear friends.

I also relearned or remembered things I already knew.

1. When I give of myself, I get far more in return. Near the beginning of the summer, I had the opportunity to visit in a local nursing facility the 90+ year old father of a former classmate who now lives hundreds of miles away. I plan to write more about this soon, so I’ll just say now that my visits with this very intelligent, interesting gentleman were a highlight of my summer, and when I said goodbye to him when he moved to live closer to his daughters, the feeling of loss was far stronger than I expected.

2. I love getting mail. When I open the mailbox and see an envelope with a typed (yes, on a typewriter) address with corrections (XX’s and —‘s covering typos), I’m taken back to the days when, as a pre-teen, I received letters from my Swiss pen pal. I no longer race through the house and into my room to devour the letter like a correspondence-starved person; instead, I pour myself a glass of iced mint tea, relax on the deck, and savor the wisdom and wit of my new, very dear 90+ year old friend. The outward reaction may have changed, but the inward pleasure remains the same.


This summer didn’t turn out as I had hoped; my knee injury, surgery, and recovery kept me from doing many of the things I had hoped to do.

That’s okay. It was a good . . . no, a fantastic summer just the way it was.