Our Last Summer | Letter From An Editor

Image by WRITTEN CITIZEN Senior Photographer Noah Chiet
Dear Citizens,

It's July. Surprise, right? Char is already rolling off the barbecues, and the fireworks have been set off.
   For us Citizens in North America, July is the peak of our summer; we're at the height of it. No school, no stress, no worries. We're not looking back, yet we're not looking forward either. We're completely in the moment. And that's what July is: the middle moment. We're sandwiched between the June-shine and the August grass at midnight. It's the July light.
   Maybe it's because I'm a July baby (sixteen years-old on the 19th!), but July has always been my favorite month, and it never fails to be. It also happens to be one of the most nostalgic months for me. Somehow, my memories are even more lucid in July.
   I vividly reminisce over playing chicken on my neighborhood street with my best friends, even though we lived in a suburb. I also remember sticky hands with blisters from ice cream and monkey bars at the park down the street. Do I ever remember the days of chasing after the ice cream truck. I'd hear my feet steadily slap against the scorching pavement, as if in a race against my beating heart, and even though Philly was suffering from quite the heatwave, my legs would keep on surging forward, and I was somehow able to force air down my lungs. I remember panting hard from doing laps in green swimming pools. And fireworks and parades for fourth festivities (#alliteration). Traffic on the way to the shore in Jersey. I can still feel the soft texture of grass on the golf course at the local country club. I remember Sunday brunches there, and how everyone called my uncle the mayor because he knew everyone at the country club.
Director of Photography
Delaney Hoffman
   For me, July has always been the month for flinging my arms out and running around. It's for breathing in the Philadelphia humidity and being scolded by parents for hanging around the local Wawa. Sure, there were lots of bad incidents, but I'll always remember the good ends of it, like warm beer slushing around tailgates of Phillies games, or simply sunlight streaming through the old trees on the forest highway to King of Prussia. However, my favorite memory will always be of my best friend's cat (one of the many, if I do say so) slinking over and coming to cuddle with me on the porch while we stargaze and stare at the moon. Everything was simple and innocent. Of course, now things have changed. But why? Why have things changed? Is it because I'm older? But is youth not just a construct? An attitude?
   In the ABBA song Our Last Summer, they sing, "Living for the day, worries far away / Our Last Summer / We could laugh and play." The question is, why have we stopped? Just because time doesn't stop doesn't mean we should follow it and stop 'being young' either. From all of the nostalgia that washes ashore in my mind, I can definitely pull one major thing from younger self (besides the fact that my eyebrow arches were - and still are - on point): Truly being able to live for and in the day.
   So, Citizens: Use this month to reminisce and reflect, and then move forward from everything you've learned and experienced. Moving forward is a sign of maturation, but it doesn't mean you still can't 'be young'. You can both be youthful and mature. So yes, grow a bit, but stay young. You can't always worry, so reflect and move on to the present moment. Live in it. Pop a bottle of your favorite alcohol and live like you're the baby Prince George on a yacht in heaven. Youth is eternal, and we will always be cushioned and comforted by it through memories from the past. But, it's time to make new memories.

"I really ought to practice what I preach, I guess."
- Me, 
the biggest worry-wart #ever

Best vibes,
xx Zoe G.
Founding Editor-in-Chief + Creative Director

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