Prompt: go to dictionary.com, the word of the day is your writing prompt.
Summerize: (v) 1797 ‘to spend the summer’. From 1935 as ‘to prepare for summer’.
As the school year draws to a close, all I have been doing lately is organising and preparing for the summer, or to rephrase it according to the word of the day: I have been summerizing. I sit cross-legged on the floor surrounded by suitcases and boxes of possessions with Friends playing in the background, I just can’t help but reminisce about the ‘good old days’ when summerizing meant something completely different.
As a child, my six week holidays from school were crammed with playing as many games as possible and they would last from morning to sunset. On the rare occasion my mum would give in to me whining ‘just a bit longer’, I would join my friends and continue playing way past midnight. Like many others of my generation, I feel really blessed to have grown up in those sacred years before technology completely invaded our lives; my happiest memories are from the past.
I vividly remember the summer of 2001 when my brothers and I spent Every Single Day cooped up indoors trying to conquer the next level of Resident Evil or Sonic the Hedgehog or my all time favourite, Rayman Legends (I still play this and no I am not ashamed). Okay, maybe that one wasn’t a good example. But the summer of 2002 was a more active one, I spent every second day at our local park and developed quite the tan. One thing that remained constant in every summer was that I had a whole group of neighbours who were roughly my age and we were all the best of friends. Unlike the rest of our area we lived on a cul de sac so it was a very peaceful street and cars rarely drove past, making it all the more enjoyable to play our wide array of ball games: Kingy, Kerby (I was the reigning champion!), rounders, pittu garam, and every other game invented by 90’s babies!
The summer of 2003 was the one my parents were able to put aside their animosity and act like an ordinary family, attending weddings, going on road trips, and laughing at the beach. There was the summer my cousin and I climbed trees and rode bikes in our sharara trouser suits, and a later summer of climbing trees with a different purpose: to rescue my stranded kitten who loved to sit on a branch and cry until she was helped down. And even though I was gradually getting older and playing outside was no longer a priority, I still loved the summer vacations. My activities shifted each year: to brush up on my Urdu handwriting, to read more books, to dance more, to dress up in fancy clothes and makeup with my best friend, to record more home videos, to cherish each and every day…
I’m writing about this because now, as an adult, a great chunk of summerizing means sitting and decluttering the mass of ‘things’ I have accumulated over the previous academic year. I’m not talking about physical possessions because I’m not materialistic and my husband would vouch for me on this one, he says I’m the most low-maintenance wife there ever was. No. I’m talking about the clutter caused by technology. I’m talking about the blinking message that keeps coming up on my phone telling me the storage is full and I need to clear things to free up space. And the hundreds of USBs and portable hard drives I have invested in over the past 7 years of my teaching career, all of which simply make me more and more paranoid about losing my ‘hard work’. Don’t even get me started on the online spaces, google drive and one drive will just have to wait till I’m reborn before I can sort them out. So in order to maintain some sort of sanity and control over this clutter, my summerizing ritual involves clearing out the whole year’s media and documents.
I know, I know, I could just leave it and let the clutter file up but come September, I can’t face searching through countless files called ‘Y8 Lesson Tuesday Period 6’ at 1 in the morning simply because I must find that one particular lesson which I have to use the very next day. Pinterest teacher goals, not! On the plus side, every summer I take a trip down memory lane and relive the past: I come across photos that bring a smile to my face, home videos I’d forgotten all about and a flood of memories. Maybe this growing old malarkey isn’t so bad after all, maybe this hilariously worded non-apology from my 9-years-old-at-the-time brother perfectly sums up my feelings towards technology…