I know I say this all the time, but fuck… it really is crazy how different life can be in one year’s time.
At the culmination of last summer, I blogged about all of the great times I’d had, despite having spent my whole summer preparing for, undergoing and recovering from a debilitating double mastectomy, on the heels of a devastating break-up no less. When I posted it on Labor Day ’15, I wrote, “This year you were a schizophrenic bitch. You gave me some high highs and low lows. All in all you did me right. Next year, I’ll be ready for you.”
I’m a woman of my word.
I fucking owned Summer ’16.
I kicked off my summer in May with back to back trips… first to LA to visit my west coast family.
I went straight from LA to St. Barths for an amazing long bachelorette party weekend.
Once back in the US, I headed straight for the beach with my friends to ring in Memorial Day Weekend and the official start of summer.
My cousin Lauren and I got floor seats to Beyonce’s Lemonade tour… we danced and screamed in fabulous outfits for two and a half hours in the name of women everywhere.
I jaunted out to the most beautiful summer house in the Hamptons to chill for a long weekend with my best girl Cathy.
I bought an adult blow-up pool and sat in it for hours while working on 90-100 degree days, and there were several.
I hosted friends at my place almost every weekend and often spontaneously during the week… we stayed up until the early AM drinking, belly laughing and playing games on my back porch while thuggin’ out to hip-hop by candlelight.
I got back in my garden and made delicious meals from the veggies I grew.
I hiked, a lot, and fell in love with beautiful spots in my own town that I never knew existed.
I rode my bike pretty much everywhere and did outdoor yoga alongside the Hudson River on the regular.
I went on my annual summer trip to Maine with my family, ate delicious food and climbed a mountain I haven’t climbed since I was 10. I drove to Maine and back, six and a half hours each way, with the top on my car down and the music blasting.
I had an incredible photo shoot with a dear friend and blogged about my most personal topic to date… I spent most of June and July preparing for it, writing it, editing it, crying over it and reminding myself how brave I was to share it.
My best friend Sofia and I spontaneously went to the Drake concert one night… we got white girl wasted on Bud Light, danced our asses off and sang Every.Single.Word.
In mid-August I flew to Greece for Sofia’s wedding and spent a week and a half on one of the most memorable trips of my life… Greece is just a magical place. But the company I was in made the whole trip.
I traveled with a bunch of old friends, some of whom I haven’t seen in years and forgot how much I love hanging out with. And, I met a ton of new amazing friends who are kind, driven and 100% on my level.
I’d been to Greece before, 12 years ago, straight out of college… this experience was vastly different. Everyone is older now… we’ve got established, successful careers… everyone worked hard for this trip all year… and nearly 50 of us came ready to fucking party, first in Athens, then in Mykonos.
We floated and frolicked around the crystal clear Aegean Sea, drank Greece dry of Rose, ate every single last bit of fresh octopus and feta cheese and dropped coin like it was Monopoly money, because who fucking cares, it’s Greece.
We drank expensive champagne, danced on tables in our bathing suits after lunches, bronzed our bodies on the beaches and stayed up until 6 a.m. most nights.
We also randomly met and swam in an ocean overlooking the mountains with Team USA’s basketball team, who’d won the Olympic Gold a week or so prior. The look on Sofia’s face, a die-hard NBA fan, is something I will never forget.
Sometimes life really does you right. Or as Sofia put, perfectly, “What a time, to be alive.” 😂
Upon returning to the US, I spent a week puppy-sitting for my uncle in NYC, working from his sick apartment and enjoying the most amazing views of the skyline and the last of the summer’s cotton-candy sunsets.
This summer was truly one for the books… here’s a bunch of things I DIDN’T do…
I didn’t wake up to an alarm clock most days.
I didn’t plan my outfits based on my day… sometimes I got all dressed up just to go grocery shopping… sometimes I rocked sweaty gym clothes and no make-up at Happy Hour.
I didn’t bat an eye at the cost of the Beyonce and Drake concert tickets, even though they were semi-outrageously expensive… the experiences were worth every penny.
I also didn’t think twice when my mother asked me last minute to “just join her and my dad” on their trip to LA to visit my brother and his family, even though the travel logistics were somewhat egregious. I literally landed from LA at 10 p.m. and returned to the airport the next morning at 6 a.m. to fly to St. Barths.
I didn’t give a fuck about what anyone would think when I asked my brother to tattoo a beautiful arrow on me and he insisted I place it prominently on my forearm.
I didn’t allow companies I worked with to control my life and my schedule… I didn’t rigorously plan my days… I didn’t beat myself up if I didn’t check everything off my to do list in one day… I didn’t deprive myself of sleep and relaxation… I still didn’t disappoint anyone. And I didn’t go bankrupt in the process of working hard and playing equally hard.
I didn’t beat myself up if I ate pizza and cheeseburgers and fries and ice cream and pitchers of beer… I didn’t stay home from the gym just because it was Sunday.
I didn’t hesitate for a second when Sofia asked me to join her on two lavish trips to St. Barths and Greece… I couldn’t wait to celebrate the beautiful woman she is and watch her walk down the aisle to join the love of her life.
And I didn’t pause for a second when I saw Team USA swimming in the Aegean Sea from my lunch table dance party… I automatically grabbed my glass of Rose, threw my cover-up off and legit sprinted toward them as gracefully as possible.
Because here’s the deal people… you are living RIGHT NOW. When opportunity knocks, you answer. You don’t overthink it. You do what you know is right in your gut and in your heart. And if the life you’re living right now restricts you in any way, shape or form, than I encourage you to take a long hard look at it and remember that we should all live a life that we don’t need to vacation from, and you have CHOICES… everyday should feel as free as I did all summer ’16. And opportunities to live that way are right under your nose… you just have to stop swatting them away when they present themselves.
This summer validated all the tough decisions I had to make over the last year, with regard to relationships, where I was going to live and how I was going to work. The truth is, I vowed at the start of 2016 not to make any plans and instead allow the universe to lead me.
So far, pretty fucking outstanding.
I made more new friends this summer than I can count. I networked with all kinds of creative, smart and inspiring men and women. I dated my ass off. And the world didn’t fall apart because I put myself first… in fact, it came together perfectly. I’m better for all of it.
So you know what? I’m not gonna stop here… I’m gonna keep this going… I’m gonna live the rest of my life the way I did this summer ’16.
And you should too. ❤