This morning, I read an interesting article in the New York Times. The author, Jennifer Finney Boylan discussed that she “never knew how golden [her] summers were” and that we have a rather nostalgic view about past summers. I could very much relate to that. I often discussed with friends about “that year which was the absolute best summer,” trying to pin down one summer which has stuck in our memory as the best one.
This nostalgic view is most probably linked to movies and music. Think about “My Girl” when Vada and Thomas spend their last summer together. Or, “Dirty Dancing” when Baby meets Johnny during a family holiday in the Catskills. Bryan Adams sings about the summer of ‘69 when he met his love, Kid Rock about the summer of 1989 in Northern Michigan and Barry Manilow remembers the summer of 1978:
“It was one of those summer’s
Making the winter wait
A summer of music and passion
The summer of ’78.”
When you listen to the lyrics, some songs may be linked to a certain life-changing event, such as in Bryan Adams’s case. But all of them have one thing in common: small moments we all cherish and remember forever. “Nights were always filled with stars” (Barry Manilow), “sun kissed skin” (“California Girls” by Katy Perry) and “dance, sun and sea” (“Lambada” by Kaoma).
When I look back, I cannot say that I can pick one summer which was “the one”. There are so many beautiful moments across the years. One of my very first golden summer memories was when I was very little and the above-mentioned Lambada filled cars, the public swimming pools and ice cream parlors with so much joy. One day, we had to quickly leave the pool because a thunderstorm was approaching. We ran to the car and Lambada was playing while we drove to my grandmother’s house which was nearby. We had to run through the warm summer rain to her doorstep. I think it must have been the same summer when I boarded a plane for the first time for a summer holiday in Portugal. (This was also the first time I jumped into a pool from a trampoline – a major milestone in my life because it took me days to be convinced that I can do it.)
As a teenager, I especially enjoyed the summer season because I was allowed to stay up for much longer. When the sun only sets at 10pm, it does not really make sense to go to bed earlier, right? The eight-week summer holidays always seemed to last forever. Looking back today, I cannot believe how fast these eight weeks can fly by when they lasted so long as a child.
Another golden memory will always be the first time I went abroad entirely on my own. I was 19 years old and headed to Southern Spain for a language trip. Terrified and nervous at first, it kickstarted a series of trips and moves across the world. I made friends from all over the world, visited beautiful spots in Andalucía and danced many nights away.
There are many other beautiful summer memories – just to mention one last one: in 2014, just when I had quit my job and started my first business, I spent three weeks in Hong Kong and a few days in Italy. I was sailing, partying, but also working, and I met a very special someone.
Last but not least, even the years we would probably not have made it at the top of our “amazing years list” can have their beautiful moments: Last year, I was stuck in Austria due to the pandemic. While it was tough, it also meant that I could reconnect and spend more time with my family. I visited many beautiful places – from the “Sound of Music” film locations in Salzburg to hiking and walking trails very close to my hometown.
I guess what makes a summer “golden” is probably not the weather or the places where we spend them. It is the company and joy we share with our loved ones. Summer here is almost over. The “Altweibersommer” has started. I looked this term up and the dictionaries suggested “Indian Summer” as translation. But, in my opinion, Indian Summer is later, when the leaves start to change their colours. What it refers to is the time when spider webs are on the bushes in the morning, the grass is humid and it is significantly cooler in the mornings – the signs that another summer has passed.
I hope you all were able to make some golden memories this summer. Especially in times like these, these memories are essential, helping us to reconnect with the things and the people that really matter.
Have a golden late summer week ahead!