The end of summer

I said goodbye to the last of my summer guests this weekend – bye Ma and Al! The week before it had been some friends, and the week before some other friends. They come and go in waves – you wave hello, you wave goodbye. Hence my absence the past few weeks.

Each year, it’s the same. A huge rush of people, friends & family arriving at all hours, from all places, a manic series of trips to countries, cities, islands, too much boozing and eating, laughing, screaming, arguments, seeing new places and revisiting old ones, getting anxious about what’s not getting done and forgetting to live in the moment, sometimes living too much in the moment, and then before I know it they’re all gone and the summer is over. I haven’t achieved anything and I’m exhausted, I’ve put on weight, my cupboards are bare and my life is in disarray – but I have at least had a lot of fun.

It’s almost a relief when spring comes, when the weather cools, and the parties end. Almost.

In many ways, the past five years in Croatia have been one long summer. I’ve been lurching from adventure to adventure with no clear aims, no sense of direction. It has been a lot of fun, for sure. But those heady days are over. Now, I’m in the land of goals and spreadsheets, to-do lists and milestones.

Yes, summer is definitely over.

But it’s so nice to have goals again. A budget, a sense of direction. It’s what started me on this silly enterprise all those years ago, applying for my Croatian passport, selling all my things, saying goodbye to (almost) all of my friends. As I like to say, right now, even my spreadsheets have spreadsheets.

So my goals for this year are these: complete three manuscripts. Yes, I know it sounds like a lot, but they are quite diverse. My novella is already done, and my novel is half way through. Next month I’ll be dedicating my time to knocking out a non-fiction short work that I plan to self-publish. In November, I have an idea for a YA novel (I know! How unlikely!) but that would make four manuscripts in six months and I don’t want to burn myself out completely, so I won’t commit to finishing that one.

The weather in Zagreb right now is nice – cool in the mornings and evenings and warm during the day. I’m getting out and about, I’m working hard, and I’m getting shit done.

As much as I love those long exciting fun summer days and nights (and years), it had to end eventually.

Happy autumn to my northern hemisphere comrades. May you find it the comforting transition you need going into the end of the year.

And happy spring to my antipodean friends – may you find it as inspiring, manic, frustrating and beautiful as I found mine 🙂

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Nat Newman

Nat Newman is an award-winning writer of short stories, content, podcasts, feature articles, drunk text messages and, soon, a novella.

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