Life Lessons from Summer Days

Life Lessons from Summer Days  |  The Fresh Exchange

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!

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19 Responses

  1. Simply beautiful, Megan! I’ve really enjoyed all your summer posts and I can’t wait to see what you’ve got in store for us this fall. I love “jump off more often” and “focus on what really matters”. This summer, I’ve spent a lot of time with good friends. But I’ve also made it a priority to spend time with myself as well. I’ve spent a lot of time just being with me and trying to figure out what I really want out of life. It’s the best move I could have ever made!
    The major lessons I’ve learned are:

    1. To forgive others and especially myself quickly.
    2. To not beat myself up over anything.
    3. To just let go and trust that things will unfold exactly how they were meant to unfold.

    P.S. I pinned this post and shared it on my blog!

  2. I`ve learned to be truly okay with myself and forgive myself more. I used to beat myself up for being a booze-loving crazy weird artsy not-a-care-in-the-world kinda girl. But Im ok with it. Because being myself makes me happy. Thanks for the post. It was a great read.

  3. i’ve been wanting to stick all of my things in storage and practice living the “simple” life. so many little things bog us down and keep us so busy that we lose track of what’s really important. thanks for the reminder!

  4. Gosh your posts this summer have made me long for the lake like no other. This summer I have been working harder than ever before and have missed my time in the water. It’s such a innocently perfect place to remember who you are and what life is about. And now I MUST make it to Michigan. Your water is so clear!

    My mantra from here on out will be: GO OUTSIDE!

  5. I LOVE Houses! I saw them open up for another similar musician, Baths, here in Philly last year. While I wasn’t sure about Houses at first, they really started to grow on me. Now I’m hooked.

    I can definitely relate on your “focus on what really matters.” Family is very important to me. So, I never regret spending as much time as possible with the people I love most.

  6. Another beautiful post! I totally agree that it takes very little to be happy. Give me the beach and some sun and I’m good to go. I spent this summer embracing the time I had to myself – it was nice to spend the days how I wanted and just to have some down time to relax. I learned that you don’t always need people around to have a good time.

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Bringing us back to nature through the garden and community.

I’m Megan Gilger and I am glad to have you here growing with me as we garden, live seasonally, and pursue an eco-lifestyle.

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