Summer of Adam

This summer was supposed to look different.

Back in the month of May, I was seeing someone. We started dating during COVID, and as the weeks went on, we spent increasing amounts of time together. There was a definite connection, but we went too far too fast, and the strain was visible and real. We were spending too much time together, and even decided to take a break from each other one day per week. We were figuring it out on the fly, but In the midst of it all, we started to plan, plan what our summer together would look like. We had three different trips booked for the month of June, and the summer looked promising. I was excited, even if I was apprehensive about meeting her family, whose political views differed from my own.  I told myself that I would be civil and courteous, that I would make it through.

Then, in a flash, it was all over.

I won’t get into the details, as that’s really not my style. What I will say is that after breaking up for a third time, I realized that we weren’t the right fit for each other, and vowed to move on. There was no use holding on anymore, just for the sake of holding on. I’d done that before, and I like to think that I learn something new with each and every new experience. Still, the breakup stung. I hadn’t been entirely ready to let go, and the dissolution left me to think about the mistakes that I’d made. I won’t shy away from the reality of the situation. The brunt, the bulk of the blame, fell on me, and I knew it. It was my first relationship in six years, and it had humbled me. It made me realize that I had a lot to learn about relationships now that I was a full-fledged adult. It was a muscle I hadn’t flexed in quite some time, it had atrophied.

The breakup happened before summer officially began, but it changed everything for me. All three trips were scrapped. Our last communications to each other were for logistical purposes, cancellations and such. It was a strange note to go out on, to go about the sad task of getting our money back for trips I always assumed we’d take. The night that the breakup happened, she returned to her apartment, and even though I was a bit raw, and considered staying home, I opted for the warm embrace of family. My two stepbrothers were in town, and I wanted to see them badly. I wanted to put the whole evening behind me. I managed to do it for the night, but I wasn’t able to shake it off just that easily. Tough breakups linger so much longer than you want them to.

With things now over, I was left with the task of figuring out what the hell I wanted to do this summer, and so I adopted an approach I’ve utilized before. I was going to get out of town as much as possible, and do some traveling. I thought about going abroad, but wasn’t sure about the restrictions. Instead, I opted for some well-known destinations, places that were each special to me in their own way. I chose Portland, OR, Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire, and New York City. I was also going to sprinkle in a few other locations along the way. I wanted to see people, friends that I never got to see. I also wanted to return to the places that stirred my soul.

It’s been a fun summer, and while fun was always the explicit purpose of my travel, I also knew I had some thinking to do. I was at yet another crossroads, and was just about out of ideas. It was time to reload. It was time to gain some new perspectives. My therapist pointed out that I tend to go to Portland when I’m not sure what to do next. Given that I’ve been there at three separate times in my life when I really had no idea what was supposed to come next, I’d say she’s spot on.

The traveling began, and with it came the realizations. Despite the fact that I’d been to all these places before, each location yielded some new piece of information that I didn’t have before. I have absolutely needed all of it. Each of these realizations have made me reconsider the way in which I live my life. One of the most significant of them was that during the four months that comprised my relationship, I had gotten distracted by something shiny, while very much letting parts of my life get away from me, and even deteriorate. It’s happened before. I need to get better at recognizing the pattern.

With the relationship no longer there to draw my focus, I realized that I had let some things go. After living in isolation for 1.5 years, I knew that it wasn’t okay anymore not to love every part of my life. My opinion of myself has improved. I realized that I deserved more. My state of affairs was no longer tenable, and I was finally ready to do something about it.


“So how’s the dating scene?”

I almost started another relationship about a month after my last one ended, but then I had a panic attack after a weekend in Connecticut. I realized that what I had really wanted was to not have a gap in my relationship history. I wanted to re-up. I wanted to feel those feelings of belonging to someone else. I didn’t want to be alone for the first time in as long as I can remember. It was a strange new feeling, but then I remembered that for the bulk of my adult life, that I’ve been alone, and I knew how to have fun with it. I was in a position where I could choose my own adventure, and I thought to myself that maybe, just maybe, I should take some time to be by myself before jumping back in. Being single gives me a sense of freedom that I crave, and so I pulled back. I was open and honest with the person I was seeing, and let her know of my intent to travel. This was going to be my summer. I was going to get out and do all the things I wanted to.

And yet, for dating, this has been a killer. Some of the women I want to date are consistently busy, or I’m on the move yet again. People in cities I’ve visited haven’t been too keen on dating someone who’s only there for a few days. I get it, kind of anticipated it, and yet, I’m not sure I would have done anything differently. I took this summer for me, to figure some things out, as I way too quickly approach age 34, totally unsure of what the next step is for me. It all feels daunting, but I realize now that I’m better equipped to handle these challenges than I’ve ever been. I know so much more now. I’m still learning, and I’m grateful for that every single day.

It’s been a mixed bag this summer, mixed to positive. I was kind of sick at some point with something I couldn’t quite identify. My body is a little bruised and a little battered. I know that I want to travel again internationally, and I can’t wait for the opportunity. This entire summer may have been inspired by a breakup, but I’ve done my best to live it well and keep a level head. In my worst moments, I experience feelings of missing the relationship I once had. I’m no longer hung up on her, but in my lowest moments, I still see visions of what it would have been like if we were still together. I’m getting better and better at coping in a productive fashion.

I don’t know what’s next, but as the summer charges hard into its final month, I know that I am getting new insights every day, that I am figuring out more and more what I have to do. I am excited, and also extremely nervous about what’s next. I’m terrified of getting old, as I like myself so much better when I’m young, when I can talk to older people at bars and wow them with my knowledge of older popular culture. Still, It’s been a good summer, and when the year kicks into full gear back in the fall, I’ll be ready to handle what’s next. Maybe this summer is one of revisiting familiar places, before charging headlong into the unknown. Thanks for reading.


2 thoughts on “Summer of Adam

  1. Adam,

    It is always good to read your thoughtful musings. Thanks for sharing.

    Relationships, love and growth can each be double-edged swords. I applaud you for acknowledging this. Equally important, I wish you well as you move forward with your positive perspectives and mindset.

    Stay well!


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