A day in July

Adrian de León
3 min readMay 1, 2022

There was a time before July 2017 in which the world appeared to me in a certain way that is no longer true today. Before this day in July 2017, I saw myself in a different way that is true to me today.

Many things were different before that day; first of all, I was younger and I had experienced fewer things. Nevertheless, I had more conviction in the beliefs I had then, than I do in those I have today. When I see the photos taken around this time, I can notice the tail tale signs of a younger youth that aren’t noticeable in the everyday reflection one notices in the mirror.

At this time — halfway through between an innocent and naïve youth — I was, unknowingly to me, caught at a crossroads of my life in multiple ways. I had yet to enter into a professional career from which to extract my identity from. Quite the contrary, the identity I attempted to mould for myself was crafted from a supposedly anti-establishment, anti-mainstream and anti-conformist ceramic. Before this day in July, I had chosen to live my life through the prism of Romanticism. I was driven to pursue an ideal, an expectation of how life should be lived. I chose a hedonistic lifestyle, attracted by an uncertainty that I concluded could be nothing but exciting.

Therefore, I roamed across the globe, searching for a home far away from where I had grown-up. I shied away from the expectations of the society I had grown-up in. What I understand now, years after this day in July, is that I was escaping the sacrifices that life expected from me. I thought that if I could leave the shackles of the environment that spawned me, then I could ignore these sacrifices. I didn’t believed I owed anything to anyone, and especially not society. After all, I felt as if no one had owed me anything neither. I had been shun out from living a happy childhood, so why should I make any concessions in adulthood?

When I thought I was taking the path of my choosing, I was in fact choosing the path of least resistance. Naturally, as the years passed, and the romanticism faded, a void began to materialise. Slowly, I could feel the vortex pulling at the fabrics of the identity I had built. The affirmations I once held onto so tight, began to appear as nothing but a smoke screen for a reality I could not yet perceive.

Then, the day in July arrived, and my whole world changed. I walked into the room and saw the death of these values, I saw the withering of Romanticism. In those eyes, looking up into the sky, I saw the pain of a hedonistic lifestyle. I saw that in fact, all life is owed to someone else. Your actions do not live in a vacuum but permeate throughout your surroundings. In that dark lit room, on a hot July’s day, my priorities shifted. The values I once held to be true came to an end.

I left my old-self behind on that day in July.