I should be happy. Strike that: I should be ecstatic! I am in my season.
As I write this in July, summer is here: No early morning kid wake-ups, no crazy late nights filled with homework. The pool is open and it is hot out. Evening lap swims that I’ve longed for all year are finally here. In Northeast Ohio, as our former beloved LeBron James said: Nothing is given. Everything is earned. We earn our summers.
Is Summer Over?
But when the (stupid) calendar says July 1, I get that sick feeling that it’s the beginning of the end. I wonder what’s wrong with me as I am overcome with sadness.
I have three theories behind my melancholy:
Theory #1: It’s my mother’s fault.
When we were young, my parents scraped together whatever they had to take us on a family vacation. We were excited to go anywhere—the location didn’t matter. Without fail, on the second day of vacation, my mom started talking about the trip home. I don’t think it was intentional, but she would say something like:
“So, I was thinking that on the day we leave…”
“I wonder how the traffic will be on the way home?”
Or, this doozie:
“Only __ days left.” Kill. Joy.
Fast forward about 40 years, and while my “affliction” isn’t as acute, my head goes there, too. (Thanks, Mom.)
It’s Only July! Summer Isn’t Over Yet
Theory #2: It’s the mall’s fault.
I enter the mall and I am instantly appalled. Apparently, retailers see July 5 as the official start of fall: Back-to-school clothing adorns the mannequins, boots are on full display. No boots for this girl. As the last firecracker is launched on July 4, I envision the retailers (two full months before Labor Day) looking innocently at each other, but a bit smug, too: “We got ‘em again!” with a loud high-five.
Theory #3: It’s my job’s fault.
As I write this piece, I realize this is for our Back-to-School issue—the very thing I am complaining about. I live in a business that is driven by deadlines—rolling the editorial calendar forward, planning for next year, talking to clients about the next school year already. I can’t get away from it.
There is no escape, so I must create one.
No More August
For starters, I am getting rid of August. I am going to call it July Part II. In my head, we are in the full swing of summer. No August = no sadness. Easy. Our August vacation will now be called July Part II vacation. Although I have to give some thought to my firstborn, who has an August birthday; hopefully, he’ll understand.
Two, no back-to-school purchases until the day school starts. They can tempt me all they want with their sales, adorable scarves, super cool boots, whatever. This girl will not take the bait. I am stronger than that.
Third, and toughest, is the work piece. There’s no getting around it. As I write this for our fall issue, I stare outside at the sunny 86-degree day, think about my lap swimming later today, and have a good laugh to myself—as you, the reader, are getting the school supplies and backpacks ready.
Last laugh: Me.