I still remember the times in my life when I was at summer camp. Those halcyon days spent running through the sunlit woods, the laughter that echoed across the open fields, and the whispered secrets shared in moonlit cabins. The years I spent there are etched deeply within my heart, and are some of the best memories of my life. The fire within me still burns bright, with flames like memories, that time, in its relentless march forward, has been unable to extinguish.
Growing up, I was always a bit different. I was the girl with her head stuck in a book, more at home in the world of her own imagination than in the reality that surrounded her. Fitting in was never my forte; I walked to the beat of my own drum, and danced to the rhythm of my own tune. This year, as I was driving in my car with the radio humming with some forgotten tune from long ago, I had a thought that sent a shiver down my spine. Perhaps it was time to put a period on this chapter of my life. Perhaps it was time to write it off, to move on from the nostalgia, and start living more in the present.
The sharp pang of realisation was unexpected. It struck me with the force of a freight train, leaving me breathless, my heart pounding in my chest. As I navigated the winding road home, my mind grappled with this thought, this sudden urge to distance myself from my past, from a place and time that had shaped me in more ways than one.
Every year, the calendar would slowly inch its way to the summer camp reunion. An event that saw friends and campmates, now scattered across the globe, come together to relive and celebrate those magical summers. This year, however, I won’t be there. The realization filled me with a strange sense of sadness, yet it also brought a liberating feeling of acceptance.
The last time I attended, I spent my time trying to capture every minute, every memory, and every sacred moment in my mind. I filled my camera with photographs of familiar faces and well-trodden paths. I chased after memories, desperate to hold on to each one, terrified they would slip away. It was a bittersweet journey, one that brought smiles and tears in equal measure.
Yet, in my quest to capture the past, I realized I was missing out on the present. I was holding onto something that was no longer there. Our memories are fluid, changing with us as we grow, and shape-shifting to fit our narrative. And in my relentless pursuit of the past, I had forgotten to live in the present, to make new memories that I could look back on in the years to come.
Life is a journey of many chapters. Some are filled with laughter and joy, others with sadness and pain. As I grow older, I’ve come to realize that every chapter, every moment, and every memory has shaped me into the person I am today. I was the girl who never quite fit in, and now the woman who walks to the beat of her own drum. I am grateful for those summer camp memories. They’ll always be a part of me, those fires still burn within, but it’s time to make room for new fires, new experiences, and new memories.
So, as I navigate this winding road called life, I’ve decided to let go and embrace the present. The past is a lovely place to visit, but I don’t wish to live there anymore. As I look forward to the future, I know there will be challenges and joys in equal measure, but one thing is for certain, I’ll meet them head-on, with the spirit of that summer camp girl, who still lives within me. Always remembering, never forgetting, but forever moving forward.
July 29, 2023