Saturday, September 1, 2012
The End of Summer
I’ve never really grown up when it comes to summer. Each summer I have the same issues with wanting to be out playing instead of inside working. Growing up, I never worked in the summer. A job might have been a good idea in high school, but my time was filled with looking after my younger brother, and a job just never fit it into the schedule.
Besides, I never had any skills and didn’t know how to get a job. Instead I took care of Jeff, picking him up from preschool, hanging out with him, answering his endless questions, hanging out by the pool with him (he was a much better swimmer than I by the time he was 3), and letting summer float by.
I still want summers to float by. When it was hot, really hot, I wanted the summer to fly by, the sooner the better. But when the temperatures go down into the 70’s and 80’s I just want it to float by, lazy days where I do what I want, a giant summer vacation. It doesn’t, of course, because I still have to earn a living, since money doesn’t grow on trees.
This summer I also tried to convince myself and others that I was a writer, and some people are still buying that lie. I’m still buying it myself, though I have certainly faced the subject head on and should, by all logical measures, abandon the idea and console myself with a life of being paid by the hour.
No such luck. I have faced really dark times. I have doubted myself, and I have been tired and frustrated. I have fought against encroaching depression, which is just something I have to do, no matter what I do with my life. I have wished for other skills and other knowledge, and I have wished to not care if I never write again. I have repeatedly dealt with the idea that I am not a special snowflake, that I may be more hype than substance, that writing will always be my “little hobby,” something which people think is cute in a sort of, “Oh, isn’t that cute that she writes those little books” sort of way.
I always wanted my family’s approval, and even though they like me well enough, it has occurred to me that it’s not that they don’t approve of me, but they’re just not that interested in what I do, and that we have no common ground. Also, it’s not that they don’t consider me good enough, it’s that I don’t. I will always wish they approved of me, and though people tell me it doesn’t matter in the slightest, it’s as if it’s built into me, and I can’t escape it.
I haven’t floated through this summer as gracefully as I would have liked. For that matter, doing anything gracefully isn’t my forte. I consider Labor Day weekend to be my last glimpse of summer, and once it’s over I can return to my real life of working on numbers and fitting in some writing when I can. Of course, that describes my summer also, but in summer it’s so much more work to get myself to sit down and do the work when the sky outside is so blue and I know, just know without even thinking about it, that I belong out there.
After Labor Day is when I restart, again, and hope I can do it better this time. Or at least do it without so much self-doubt. Or at least do it without banging my head against the wall wondering why I can’t do it better. Self-flagellation is not something I aspire to, though I am quite good at it. In summer I can excuse myself because it is summer, but this summer I have been very hard on myself. I hope to lessen it, though I’m not yet sure how that will happen.
Summer is coming to an end, and I am still fighting off this virus that makes me so tired, makes my throat hurt, make my chest feel like there’s a giant weight on it. Or maybe it’s hay fever. Or maybe it’s just the end of summer, barreling down on me like an out-of-control freight train. (An overused metaphor, but still useful now and then.) Maybe it’s just another stop on my journey to wherever it is I’m going.
This is why I put off scheduling a doctor appointment. “Doctor, I’m having problems, and I think it’s because summer is ending.” “Doctor, I feel like crap, but it’s probably just the freight train headed my way.” “Doctor, if I’m so healthy why do I feel so bad?”
“Doctor, it’s the end of summer, can you make it painless?”
I love fall, and I love winter, so I shouldn’t have a problem with the end of summer. But I do – new beginnings, the concept of change, the idea that another year is speeding by and I’m still looking for my place. I have all the pieces: a great husband, great dogs, a great place to live, work I’m paid for, daily gratefulness for everything that has brought me here, where my greatest joys are, and still, still I keep looking for more.
Now I need a nap. It’s the virus thing, of course.