I grew up riding horses competitively. Every summer was horse show season, so I had to limit my sodium intake to make sure my boots fit (my legs swell) and pump up my protein intake to ensure I was performing at my peak.
The hotter the days, the earlier I woke up to work all the horses before the heat maxed out for the day.
My arms were the only part of my body exposed to sun, so my legs had never seen a non-artificial tan in their skinny little lives.
After a serious accident last summer, I was forced to take time off and the longer I was out of the saddle, the less I wanted to climb back into it.
I haven’t ridden seriously in a year and while pangs of nostalgia still come in waves, I can honestly admit that I don’t miss it.
For the first time since early childhood, I am experiencing summer.
When I wake up in the morning, I decide which maxi dress and flip-flops to slip on instead of tugging on skin-tight breeches and knee-high black leather boots.
I spend my Saturday mornings walking to the farmers’ market with my husband and our dog instead of sweating and bathing 1,200lb animals.
I stay out late and don’t worry about being up at 4:30am to beat the heat. The hotter it is, the later I sleep.
This summer, instead of pinching pennies to afford another weekend on a horse, my husband and I bought a house. My “project” this summer isn’t three years old with four legs, a mane and tail; it will be refinishing garage sale finds to create an oasis in our new home.
I am grateful for the life skills and the memories riding gave me, but this summer I am most thankful to go to the movies and salt my popcorn. Excessively.
My husband laughs at me when I experience some things for the first time, at the ripe age of 24. Wearing a bikini more than once in a year?! Eating hot dogs?! Sleeping in past 7:30?! These are new concepts to my adult life and I am drinking them all in.
So, this is summer. This is what everyone has been raving about.
Excuse me while my maxi dress sways in the breeze and I read a book outside in the sunshine.
If this is summer … I’ll take it.
Jess Bedsole is a Graphic Designer, turned Web Designer turned Social Media Producer who has a burning passion for blogging (& over-sharing). She has a constant “Go get ‘em” attitude & is a firm believer that all things happen for a reason. Her goal is to inspire others to make better decisions or share their latest epiphanies. A dedicated do-it-yourselfer, Jess can be found blogging about newlywed life, home ownership, crafty projects & emotional meltdowns at Sparkles & Crafts and as a monthly guest author at Parenting Without A Parachute.