When you see photos of your friends vacationing in Italy and kissing their boyfriends in front of Cinderella’s Castle, it’s easy to feel like you’ve been wasting your entire summer. But now that you’re older, summer isn’t the only time of year you’re allowed to step back and relax. If you find the money and the time to sneak away in the dead of winter, you can hop on a plane and fly off to Hawaii while all of your “lucky” friends are stuck working.
But then again, who says that working is a waste? It isn’t. So don’t be upset that you’ve been spending more of your summer with your coworkers than with your friends. You’re making money. That’s more important than spending money. While your friends in Vegas are emptying their wallets, yours is filling up. Their fun vacation will soon be in the past, while all of your vacations are in the future–the money you’re making guarantees that.
Of course, when you actually have a second away from work, don’t feel obliged to spend it doing something super exciting. It’s okay to turn down your friend’s invitation out to sleep the entire day. Sometimes, you need a warm pillow more than a cold beer.
So don’t think you’ve been wasting your entire summer, because you’ve spent the majority of your free time binge watching reruns on Netflix in your old tank tops. If that makes you happy, then it’s not a waste. No, seeing what Sherlock is up to isn’t going to help you succeed in life, but who cares? You can focus on more important things in autumn. For now, be lazy. Be sluggish. Be happy.
When the season ends and everyone asks you what you did over summer, don’t feel bad when you don’t have a story to tell about the beautiful beaches you drank margaritas on or the spectacular mountain view you had from your hotel room. Your friends will be just as eager to hear the story about the squirrel that snuck into your bedroom and ripped apart your curtains. It’s not glamorous, but it’s a story. It’s a memory.
You’ve probably heard Oscar Wilde say, “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people just exist.” But you don’t have to be in constant action in order to really live. Just do what you love to do. When you have spare time, a blissful second away from work, put on that movie you love. Get drunk with your best friend. Drive around the block with your radio blasting.
Who knows? The half-hour you spend riding around town might be better than your friend’s weeklong trip to Europe, despite what it looks like in her smiling photographs. Smiles lie. Pictures lie. People lie. You’ll never know how miserable her eight-hour plane ride and stuffy hotel room really was.
So remember, you haven’t wasted this summer, not at all. You just haven’t learned to appreciate it yet.