Summer turned me upside down | PostIndependent.com

Summer turned me upside down

April E. Clark
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
April in Glenwood
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Straight from the lyrics of the Cars song “Magic,” my summer was like a merry-go-round. There was some confusion when it first started. I found myself slowly going in circles, getting nowhere. But by the time the ride was over, I was ready to do it again.

Life is more like a Cars song than I ever knew.

I took this last Labor Day weekend to reflect on how much I’ve changed in these few short months. I know, the time span from Memorial Day to Labor Day is just three months out of the 485 months I’ve lived on this Earth. That’s just a blip in life’s radar, as people say.

But they were big months for me.

Coming out of spring, I was not myself. I had many stressors. From a career in the solar industry that would soon be cut short by layoffs to a tough go in March and April with some personal health issues, life was bringing me down to a level I’d rather not revisit. My car was broken down in Leadville (long story) and my young stepcousin back in Indianapolis, a mother of two small children, had died. I started to feel like life’s punching bag. I just couldn’t catch a break. And that was before I was diagnosed with walking pneumonia. Then, not long after, I got laid off.

That’s a merry-go-round straight out of a scary movie.

Sure, I tried forward thinking. I told myself everything happens for a reason. I had to believe that change was meant for me so I would come out of it a stronger person. I like to think that way. Unfortunately it’s not as easy as it sounds when the clouds seem to have thick black linings instead of sparkly silver ones.

I’d say my linings are more of a metallic gold these days.

I found solace in my writing. That may have been what helped me through the darkest of times, when I really just wanted to stay in bed in my pajamas with the covers pulled over my head.

Trust me, I had plenty of those days.

My best coping technique is to power through difficult situations. I’m not sure what a therapist would say about that, but it works for me. I knew that as soon as my summer began, it wasn’t going to be a smooth carnival ride.

Medical billing can be a real house of horrors.

There literally was a roller coaster ride that changed everything. My schedule had seriously opened up, so I was asked to cover the new roller coaster at the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park as a freelance assignment for the paper. I gladly accepted, because I love roller coasters. Now there’s a new series at the Post Independent called April Takes a Ride that has me pinching myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. In case there was a doubt, paragliding above Glenwood Springs has to be about the coolest thing I’ve ever done.

Stay tuned for that coverage.

Writing has been my saving grace. Most of my therapeutic writing sessions people may never see, but the process helped me release the sadness and frustration I was feeling. Humor has also been a best friend of mine. I need laughter like I need a job. Actually making laughter my job would make for a pretty sweet resume.

I’ll take funny over serious any day.

I also started the summer feeling discouraged about dating. My personal life was sad, to say the least. Love and commitment can be the last things on the minds of people who would rather be challenging themselves physically, say by climbing really tall mountains or spending multiple hours on a tiny bike seat. I am admittedly not what would be described as hard-core out there in Colorado. But I do like to ski, raft, ride on full moon bike cruises, and play around in the woods, so I’m not totally at a loss out here.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t need a blind date this summer to meet someone.

I usually shudder at the thought of blind dates. They can be awkward, and my friend Deja will be the first to tell you I can definitely do awkward. Knowing that I wasn’t doing myself any favors by setting my own self up for dates, I entrusted a sweet friend named Donna to help. She promised I would have fun, which is all that really mattered in hindsight. And fun has certainly been had.

Much to my surprise, the blind date opened my eyes.

The summer of 2012 definitely turned me upside down, just like the Cars lyrics. I thought life was supposed to turn out one way by the time I turned 40. I’ve learned planning life to follow a certain path doesn’t always mean it will. There are detours and roadblocks. There are new paths and wide open spaces to discover. And I’m all right with that.

Maybe upside down is how I should be.

– April in Glenwood thanks Tim and Rick for helping out when my gas ran low. Trust in fellow man is a good thing. She can be reached at aprilelizabethclark@gmail.com.


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