#reverb14: summertime blues

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Summer Time Blues  It’s mid-summer and we’ve got the summer time blues. Tell us how you’re feeling at this mid-summer check in point. Do you have the summer time blues? How do you snap out of it? Or if you’re still loving summer, what’s been going great? What I want to know is where did July go? Do you know that feeling when you're on a really excellent vacation, the anticipation of it ending? How you are almost pre-emptively sad, which makes it difficult to enjoy the actual moments you're experiencing? That is how I feel right now about Summer. I see the calendar days tick by; I see the deadlines looming. And yet, I'm still trying desperately to hang on to the time I have left, to enjoy the absence of structured days before classes begin and time is no longer mine to experiment with making smoothies and sandwich spreads.

I have had an incredible few months traveling, trying recipes, attempting to work and write and research. But I'm feeling the pressure to get stuff done, which sometimes prevents me from enjoying the moment I'm in. I'm always thinking about what I need to do next. This is not only a summertime problem, but a lifelong one.

Here's a perfect example: I'm eating breakfast with M,  delicious Cheerios Medley Crunch with blueberries, which seriously you HAVE to try; they're amazing. Instead of enjoying the time with M, or noticing the cardinals outside the window, or even focusing on how fresh the blueberries are, I am thinking about lunch. I'm thinking about it out loud, planning, talking about what's leftover from the night before, what groceries we need, or might need. Sometimes I even go so far as to talk about dinner. I like to plan my meals, make sure I have all the ingredients, prepare myself mentally for the day ahead, and I like having a plan because I'm less apt to crave crappy food if I know what and when I'm eating. The thing is, as much as I can rationalize the behavior, it's also kind of annoying, particularly to other people, to always be thinking about the next thing you're doing. It sucks the joy out of the moment in front of me.

M is a good sport about it and usually teases me or says something like, "can we get through this meal first before we plan dinner?" Usually I can snap back into the moment. I tend to be like this about other things, too, and it's a coping mechanism for feeling some modicum of control in my life. I know that trying to control things is futile, but I'm neurotic and I deal the best way that I can. Listening to music is my saving grace. I listen to music whenever I can. It changes my mood like nothing else. Coffee comes close, but music is the true salve. I spend time making playlists, reading music blogs and magazines, but I also listen to a variety of radio stations, and find music through apps like Pandora, iTunes radio and Spotify.

One of the things I love about mixes and playlists, are hearing songs I love but aren't in my current rotation. This happened last night on my walk when Alabama Shakes came on.  When I first heard the band, on either an NPR story or a Pitchfork feature, I was instantly hooked. Brittany Howard is beyond, like otherwordly good. There's something about her voice that pushes to a place deep inside and fills you up. One of my favorites, and the one that came on last night is "You Ain't Alone". The song is about being afraid to be vulnerable. "Are you scared to wear your heart out on your sleeve?" But the last lines, get me every single time: "you ain't alone just let me be your ticket home."

If you've somehow managed to not hear Alabama Shakes then I highly recommend you give their album a chance. One of the songs, "Hold On," was used on a commercial so you've probably heard it even if you were not aware. And though the music itself is intense and blues-y. It is sure able to cure me of my own.