As summer comes to a close, my excitement for the incredible year ahead intensifies. While my heart is filled with a lovely longing for porches and sweet tea and Southern football, something is off.

The minute I began the drive back from Texas to California, I knew this summer would be a challenge. The drive took two full days; we drove through Texas and into New Mexico on day one, and through Arizona and into California on day two. On the first day of the road trip there was a small smudge of discontent in my heart, as I felt dispirited to be leaving behind an incredible, magical, novel-worthy school year. This small smudge propagated rapidly; this sort of cancerous negativity began to envelop my mind and my heart. On day two of the drive, each mile crumbled me. I cried the entire way home—11 hours.

While I was overjoyed to have such a precious opportunity to spend time with my darling puppy and parents, this was the first summer that I would not be going “home,” by its standard definition. In February my parents moved up the coast and settled into a new little town, far, far away from my gorgeous, sea salty, seagully, sunshiny San Diego. My summer in the new, fog-rimmed, dirt road-laden, cow-infested town would be filled by working 40 hours a week and taking the most boring and painful microeconomics course that this big world provides. While I feel uncomfortable commenting on my job at this point, these details are crucial to better understanding the monotony yet pure exhaustion of this summer—sorry to keep you in the dark. Professionalism holds firm.

I’ve obviously had ample time to consider (brood over) my summer in “farmland;” I finally understand why my delight at the thought of returning to Texas is being overshadowed by a heavy presence. I need to detox. I feel like I need to be cleansed of microeconomics, retail, annoying neighbors, brown hills, technology, etc., etc., etc. I am thrilled that I will have a few days between my last day of work (and the end of my summer school class) and my departure to Texas. It is in this sliver of time that I plan to unwind, soak up the sun, and savor the time I have with my family. It is then—with the negativity gone—that the excitement can rush in.

Texas bound.