For years when I was growing up, my parents would send me and my siblings off to Lebanon for the summer to stay with our grandparents. This was before peak internet when there wasn’t Netflix to watch, Spotify to listen to or Instagram to scroll through. Those summers were long, slow and admittedly boring at times, but wow, there was a magic to them.
It was a time in my life where days were endless and youth felt limitless. Literally and figuratively, my whole life stretched out before me. I may be looking back on this time with nostalgia-tinted glasses, but that is my summer happy place. Whenever I close my eyes and conjure summer memories, I always picture sitting on my grandparents’ balcony in our village.
Summer heat in Lebanon is oppressive, but that balcony always summoned a cool breeze. My grandfather would wake up before the sun to pick figs from the garden for us to have with breakfast. He’d descend again after lunch to gather grapes for our afternoon snack. He didn’t speak much, but this was how he showed love. My grandmother would clue me in on village gossip, scattering in names of people I’d never met, but was definitely related to. And it was on that balcony, that I felt safe, connected, grounded. I could watch the sunset over the Mediterranean or soak up rolling hills of olive orchards. It was the place I spent time alone in my thoughts and it was also the place my family gathered - our place of congregation. Our home.
It’s my summer happy place because I can close my eyes and take myself back there with such ease. I can recreate that same lightness combined with security and self-assuredness that’s hard to come by growing up. The world felt simpler then. Infinite.
We all have a summer happy place - the place where our mind wanders to when we’re sitting at our desk longing for sunshine or a quiet moment reading a book under a tree or the wonder of having no responsibilities again.
I asked around our office to see what everyone else’s summer happy places are. Katie told me, “Hiking, any hiking. A mountain. Steep.” She also hit on one of the greatest feelings in the world - enjoying a meal after strenuous outdoor activity. There really isn’t anything quite like digging into your packed sandwich at the summit of your hike. Or nothing like the feeling of getting back to your cabin, showering and indulging in whatever meal you want because your body and brain are in a deep daze.
Our newest teammate Vungelia (who I will introduce you to in a later post, I promise) told me her summer happy place is on her parents’ porch back in Cleveland. For her, it’s mid-morning with her cup of coffee and her dog in her lap, overlooking the pond in the front yard when everything seems to slow down.
My summer happy place doesn’t exist in the same way anymore. It’s the first summer when neither of my grandparents are around to welcome us into that home. I’m also in New York, building a company that I love and am excited about, but it doesn’t change the fact that their home is out of reach. So I’m struggling to build an equivalent, to find another refuge that offers me that same escapism wrapped in security.
I’m nostalgic and I’m searching for a new age comfort. On my grandparents’ balcony, I was safe and nicely sunned. But I was also wildly optimistic and free. It’s that feeling I’m looking to recapture.
So, while I hunt, I want to know: What’s your happy summer place? Is it in the city? Is it out of the city? Is it even a physical place at all or is it around certain people? Or, is it a time and place that doesn’t exist anymore? If so, looking for fresh ideas.