Life Lessons from Summer Days

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Life Lessons from Summer Days  |  The Fresh Exchange

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This last week we set a date to return to Raleigh and I felt this anxiousness in my soul that I felt coming on since we arrived here for the summer months. I knew at some point I would have to face the fact that my Northern Michigan life was slowly reaching a close for a little while. It made me realize that this last month we that we have left  needs to be taken advantage of in every way possible. I have a new appreciation for these summer days spent exploring the dunes that are just miles from our doorstep. The dips in the lake clear my head and make me feel alive in ways that only water can make me feel. I felt so many lessons arise while watching the sunset even on the cloudiest of days.

So, this weekend while we spent time escaping I wrote down some lessons that these summer days have taught me thus far.

Life Lessons from Summer Days  |  The Fresh Exchange

1. The quiet is nothing to fear: 
I sometimes get anxious when life becomes quiet, but this summer my favorite moments have the been the quietest. After a great weekend with family, there is a stillness the house has that feels amazing. The sound of the waves lapping against the shore on a quiet piece of beach can clear your head and make you sleep better than you ever thought you could. I too often try to fill all the holes in life, afraid that I am not sucking enough out of life. When in reality, sucking it all out of life is more about giving it room to pour out and surprise you with all it’s richness that can only come when it isn’t forced. Sometimes leaving room for the quiet is the best thing we can offer ourselves.

Life Lessons from Summer Days  |  The Fresh Exchange

2. Jump off more often:
The moment you dive head first into the lake for the summer is everything. I still get nervous everytime I do it because I am afraid of everything; how cold will the water be, what is below me, and what if I touch the bottom. There is no way to predict the outcome of jumping in to that deep crisp, clear water, but what I can predict is that it will feel exhilarating. You will feel alive, and you will want to do it all over again as many times as you can. That moment will steal your breathe, but it will make you present in that moment. So many times in life, I think to myself that I just need to jump. No matter how many times I have taken a risk, each one feels new. Thinking about the feeling that happens after the leap is why I continue to try and try again.

Life Lessons from Summer Days  |  The Fresh Exchange

3. Focus on what really matters:
I have had to come to realize that things change overtime. I can dwell on this or I can let go. This summer I have spent time focusing on establishing and renewing relationships that matter. Summer days are precious, choosing wisely who you spend them with is everything. This weekend I spent some much needed time with my younger brother and I remembered there is nothing more important than building relationships that truly matter in life. There is so much we let consume our heads, minds, and hearts that truly doesn’t matter in the long run. There is only so much we can control. That which we cannot control we need to let go, but what we can we need to make the most of.

Life Lessons from Summer Days  |  The Fresh Exchange

4. Imperfect is beautiful:
Wandering the dunes and hiking through the woods, I have found that these quiet days have left me enjoying what isn’t perfect. I have bruises from hauling my way up a dune with an 80 degree incline. My feet are covered in calluses from running, hiking, and being barefoot as often as possible. I love that it shows that I am living life. I love my tan lines as they speak of a day in the sun that reminded me that days in the water are the best days. Things don’t have to be perfectly arranged on white to be acceptable, and infact I am beginning to think that the most beautiful things are those that live and breathe as they are. Capturing beauty without adjustment is the true art and that is a challenge this summer has given me and I have been loving it.

Life Lessons from Summer Days  |  The Fresh Exchange

5. It takes very little to be happy:
Give me the windows down, Houses’ “Soak it Up” playing, sun shining, and my 5 everyday wardrobe essentials and I feel like the richest person on the planet. Living with so little this summer and all of our things in storage, I have realized how little it takes to feel happy. Life feels so simple and light lately. There is a beauty to it and a happiness. For me it has been less about the appearance and more about the experience this summer. I am focused on enjoying the moment more than worrying about if my outfit is cool enough. Sure, I love fashion, but I feel that I have slowly gathered a wardrobe that leaves me confident and carefree so that I can have less and live more. It is a good feeling as we come in to home ownership to take this mentality and have this reminder.

Life Lessons from Summer Days  |  The Fresh Exchange

Have you learned some majorly life lessons this summer? What have these sunny and warm days made you realize? I would love to hear!

Happy Tuesday friends!

Hello! I’m Megan Gilger,

A strong believer that nature and the seasons are our greatest teachers. We live on a hill in Leelanau County, Michigan just a stone’s throw from Lake Michigan. This land we are responsible for is where we are focused on building a life around the seasons and intention. We spend our days here building a regenerative model of living and focusing our garden on native plants and intensive polyculture planting styles. My focus is less on self-sufficiency and more on community-sufficiency through how we grow and connect through the seasons.
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