It’s official: the summer is here. The evidence: scorching hot weather, mosquito bites, evening strolls that smell of hay and literal bull shit, but on the positive side: sunlight sailing the inside walls of the living room at 8 PM.
Gone are the days of being outside in the afternoon. Gone is the obligation to move the mower in a procession around the orchard trees every weekend, as the grass is no longer growing as fast. Now I rather wait for the evening to avoid the heat but not the armies of mosquitoes that feast on my blood.
I always look forward to summer for longer days, but when it comes, I look forward to winter because of this heat. I forget. At least I’m not that indoor-bound in the winter. It’s never so cold that I can’t take a couple-hours-long walk. The frustration of the summer: the sun that invites me outside and the swelter that slaps me when I get out.
(Which reminds me: how did people drive before A/C? Was it just open windows all the time, even on highways?)
I’m slowly preparing for the traditional Summerly Migration Period of the peoples of the continent towards the coast. This means I’m addressing one of my first-world problems: searching for a good summer perfume. Dior Homme Intense, which I bought because Sasha Chapin recommended it, is not really a summer perfume. Still, it’s the best perfume I ever owned, so I decided to trust his perfume recommendations from now on. He’s compiled a list of them, so I went looking for the testers in all the perfumeries in the city. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any rated 5/5, and I don’t want to simply order a perfume without smelling it first. I trust Sasha’s taste, but not that much. Also: how do I test the hipster brands that are probably not available anywhere? Also: the lady at the niche/hipster perfumery told me “We don’t have any Sasha’s perfumes” as she saw his Airtable page opened on my phone. She thought it was a perfume brand. As she later repeated, “No, we don’t have that”, for every 5/5 perfume on that list, I could only conclude, “You don’t have any Sasha’s perfumes”.
Summertime is also a time for weddings. We attended two weddings in a very short period. One was very posh; the other was pretty relaxed. I enjoyed the one in which my wife didn’t tell me that I should dance more seriously, to my confusion, as the tune blasting from the stereo was not Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake (which would more appropriately match the attire of the attendees) but some domestic disco song from the ‘90s. I am not serious people.
I am not a big fan of weddings, just like I’m not a big fan of going to clubs where they blast 150 decibels all night. I know this sounds like I’m 60 years old, but I’m not a fan of loud music, which impedes conversations. The majority of wedding conversations are just “Sorry, I didn’t catch your name. Can you repeat it?” until the end of the night. Also, it’s a little awkward getting to a table filled with strangers and then sitting and eating with them. Feels too intimate to be done with people that you have never seen before. Sometimes I don’t even shake hands with all the people that are sitting at the table, which always produces vibes that are a little hostile. I imagine other people saying, “Look at those two; they didn’t even shake our hands”. Which is why I’ve decided to change: I now go around the table and shake everyone’s hands, even though it produces a tiny bit of cringe.
What this demonstrates: I’m a people pleaser. Thinking too much about what someone else will think about me and change my behavior so they think favorably. Just one in a rich plethora of my vices. What this produces: not people liking me. Another example of God’s rich sense of humor or how “life is unfair”. When you stop caring about getting a thing, you get it. Courage to be disliked makes you more likable, looking for a new job is best when you already have a job, the best time for looking for a partner is when you are a great partner to yourself, it’s easiest to attain more wealth when you are already wealthy, and so on.
Also: internal locus of control. It’s always my fault if we don’t shake hands. It’s my fault if we don’t have a relationship anymore. It’s my fault whenever there’s a social problem because my social skills are not that great since I’ve spent the last decade mostly talking with computers instead of people. *butterfly meme* Is this me being hard on myself?
I’m embarrassed that this was my recent realization: I’m conflating being hard on myself and doing hard things. Not being hard on myself doesn’t mean that I don’t do anything hard anymore. Like quitting cold showers, especially since I know I usually feel more positive and chill the whole day afterward, especially since I know that I need them the most when it’s hardest to convince myself to take them. Like not training hard enough, especially since I know about all the benefits: the feeling of lightness and confidence it gives me afterward. Not being hard on myself means that I’m not overly self-critical. It means I’m telling that critical voice in my head to shut up.
I’m trying to edit less critically; I’m trying to look at my thoughts and actions more favorably; I’m trying less to appease the inner critic by ensuring nothing can be criticized. Instead, I’m trying to amplify that which is playful and alive.