I arrived safely in Illinois after ten weeks of summer camp and 9 days of post camp shenanigans. I was away from internet and most forms of technology which accounts for the radio silence. Given the opportunity, I more than likely would not have posted anyway due to exhaustion. Camp sucks every ounce of life from your body. One just has to hope that at the end of the summer, it will have been worth it.
As is usually the case with camp, there were struggles and triumphs and lessons in every moment. My summer had a few recurring themes. Maturity, identity, and gender norms were amongst them. So now I will start where I ended, with the people I love and the family I gained.
I have lived a somewhat disjointed life. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it nomadic but I have not developed roots in one set place thus far. From one experience to the next I have met people in various places in life and stages of awareness. Life has been a string of moments occupied by an assortment of characters. Some have shaped me in incredible ways and some have shared laughs before the moment passes and we part as friends.
Some friendships make complete sense in a time and place. Some outside force brings two (or more) people together, united against a common enemy or for a particular cause. Three and a half years ago I spent an amazing night at a park in Brooklyn with a girl who helped me see the world more clearly and I haven’t seen or talked to her since. But I also haven’t felt quite the same bond with another person.
A very wise friend said not long ago that real life just doesn’t feel as meaningful as camp. Every moment we were making memories and now we are simply living. And I mostly agree. At camp, and in many other scenarios that have played out in my life, the relationships we develop have an expiration date. It encourages us to appreciate every moment that we have with each other. Each of us will go on to real life. Whatever that looks like. And we will take with us the moments we shared. Changed in some way but still moving forward from the summer together.
But we assign significance to each relationship and each moment. For me this has looked like bonding with other humans under time constraints. Life needs to have meaning regardless of an ending date. Moments should be important whether you have a million more or only a few to hold on to.
Above all else, that is what I’m learning.