Man, it really feels like summer is flying by. My birthday (this Friday!) really snuck up on me. Didn’t I just get back from Austin?
This summer so far has been a series of highs and lows; lots of great food and drinks, sunny weather, and adventures. But I’ve also had two good friends move away (to LA and Denver, respectively) and work has had me stressed out lately. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love summers in Chicago. Like everyone else, I’m trying to make the most of the warm weather here while it lasts. Most of my weekends have been jam-packed with things to see and do, but a lot of it hasn’t really ended up on my blog or other social media channels. There’s a reason for this though and that’s because I’m trying to make a honest effort to enjoy the moment instead of being busy trying to capture it.
I can still remember my favorite summer to date: the summer of 2007. It was the summer before my senior year of college and when I turned 21. I lived in an apartment with four friends and no air-conditioning while juggling three jobs (working at my university’s summer newspaper, interning at a magazine, and working at a local cafe). It was also the first summer I spent in Chicago and it still feels like it’s been the best one so far. When we all weren’t working, my group of friends and I ran around the city in our free time, taking everything in. This was the summer they filmed The Dark Knight in Chicago, so I felt like we were always on the lookout for the Batmobile. On late nights when we couldn’t sleep, we’d drive down Lake Shore Drive and through the empty downtown streets.
While I have great memories of that summer and lots of pictures from it, we didn’t have smartphones back then. I wasn’t compelled to constantly check in on Foursquare, or check Twitter and Facebook, or perfectly style photos for Instagram. These are bad habits a lot of us have and because of them, we can miss out on a lot.
This past weekend, I had brunch with my boyfriend and friends at the Trenchermen and then headed to Wicker Park Fest. We topped off the afternoon with a pitcher of sangria at Black Bull Tapas. Not only was it fun and relaxing, it was also a phone-free day. I left my phone in my bag and instead paid attention to the people I was with and what was going on around me. While I didn’t capture any moments throughout the day, I realized I didn’t always need to. And imagine my surprise when I finally did look at my phone and my battery was only at 90%; if you’re like me, you’re used to see your battery at around 50% (or lower) by the early evening.
There’s nothing wrong with stopping to take a photo while doing something fun or memorable. The photos I’ve included in this post were from my friend Matt’s last night in Chicago; we bought drinks and snacks and hung out on his rooftop for hours. I knew it was an event I quickly want to capture (and ok, post to Instagram) before focusing on my friends.
So yes, take some photos. But after you do, put your phone away (or hell, even turn it off) and be in the moment. Enjoy what you’re experiencing instead of trying to get as many likes as possible. Summer, while fleeting, becomes much more memorable that way.
How’s your summer so far?