Did I ever tell you that I went to summer camp last winter? That’s where my life jumped the tracks and changed direction, all because of the time I spent getting to know two sincerely genuine people, Mary and George “Santucky,” (a.k.a. Noodles and Texas Toast).

Summer Camp was how we referred to the time we spent together for four months over the recent winter in a temporary office space while our regular office was being renovated. The layout of the temporary building allowed the three of us to spend a lot of uninterrupted time together, as the rest of our office was housed a floor below us.

For the most part, we had the entire floor to ourselves, which allowed us to forge a very special and unimaginably fun bond. We laughed, we threatened to toilet paper each other’s cabins (offices), we would chat about life and trade funny stories as the sun blazed through our ceiling-to-floor windows and warmed us (our campfire), and every day, Texas Toast  and I would enjoy a “cold one” (Reese’s cups from the fridge, though I prefer mine frozen).

(Noodles is a clean-eater, so I would bring her clementine oranges instead of candy. One day, as a thank you, she blended me an orange-avocado smoothie.)

For us, Summer Camp didn’t happen over eight weeks in July in cabins by the lake. It was four months in the dead of winter in an old office building near a frozen, brown river. We traded in khaki shorts and craft day tie-dyed t-shirts for business casual. It didn’t matter that there were no canoe trips, hikes in the woods, ghost stories, summer loves, or bonfires. Experiences exist on more than just a surface level. There’s the concrete experience of having done something, and then, for a positive experience, there is the beautiful aftermath; the feeling you get when you look back, the nostalgia that washes over your body every time you smell a marshmallow being roasted over an open fire or when you hear a song that reminds you of that perfect summer.

That’s what Summer Camp is all about; being away from it all, having fun, and making lasting memories and friendships. And that is exactly what we did; we felt miles away from it all up there on the fourth floor. Every so often, someone from the third floor would pop by for a visit, but they’d soon be on their way and we’d be back to basking in the glow of the afternoon sun filtering through the windows, our own little beach by the lake. Texas Toast always managed to find a way to interrupt the heart-to-hearts that Noodles and I were having, but we didn’t care. There would always be time to pick up where we left off, as we’d never pass up an opportunity to compliment Texas Toast on his recent eyebrow trim or to lecture him about his food choices since he’d recently had to clean up his eating for health reasons.

Our cabin was the place to be, always decorated with inside jokes and fresh flowers. The laughter could be heard throughout the dense forest around us, the dancing of the souls and the aura of warmth and joy it emanated was intoxicating. Everyone was welcome and no one ever wanted to leave. But, like all good things, it too finally came to an end towards the end of February 2015. Now we’re back in the real world, and although we still keep in touch (hard not to since we work in same office), it will never again be the same.

But that’s okay; had it not been for Summer Camp, for Noodles and Texas Toast, my life would still be the same, following the trajectory of the gun from which I had been expelled. Summer Camp’s biggest lesson for me? You’re not only the bullet, Jen, but you also co-exist as the gun. And, when enough pressure builds behind you, you’ll point yourself in the right direction and burst forth, free from the confines of a predefined mold. And you’ll soar.