The shift happened. Did you notice?
After the heat wave where it took energy just to go out and pick up the newspaper.
(Yes, I proudly read and relish my physical copy of the newspaper. Saving longer articles to read later. Bringing recipes home, so sure I will be inspired to try something new over the weekend. Lugging entire sections around in my chaotic bag for days to share with anyone who is in synch with my sensibility: You have to read this – it’s funny, fascinating, horrifying! My energetic optimism for potential reading eventually ends up in recycling. Besides, I can always find it online.)
After the days and days of drenching rain where I actually took the subway across town (something I never do, preferring to walk), multiple times, because I was fed up with soaking my sandaled feet in the puddles and fighting with the other umbrellas.
After the June first-burst of roses faded and the black-eyed susans took over, the shift happened.
The sound changed. Did you notice? Last week. The cicadas are brurzing. (One of my father’s invented words.) The tree frogs are singing. I heard geese honking the other day. Flying south already? Too soon! I am not ready for September! It can’t be!
You see, I love August and can’t stand the thought of it ending. It hasn’t begun yet, but I am already preparing myself for August to be over. For the Summer to be over. Kind of like how I both love and dread Sundays. Or life. Instead of living it and loving it, I am anticipating my sadness at being at the end of it.
I love August. The anxious transition to Summer is behind us. The kids are settled into their Summer. There is no homework. Unless you count Summer Reading.
(Who thought Atlas Shrugged was a good choice for Summer Reading anyway? I am encouraging my daughter to read the Cliffs Notes and don’t care if anyone accuses me of being a bad mother and a defiant English Lit major who should be ostracized for disrespecting the canon!)
The days are still blissfully long. Minimal clothes. No shoes. (Well, I go barefoot year-round. Thank you Yoga.) Work slows, a touch. And we have our vacation week on the horizon. Resting, reading, writing, walking, cooking, connecting with my family and friends at the beach, free from routine. I can’t wait.
Then it is over. September. The relentless pace will be back. School, activities, deadlines, pressure to perform. The kids are in the next grade. I am another year older.
I get depressed in August.
Last year, I forbade myself to get depressed. As if by sheer force of will, I could control my mood. Deny my mood. Instead, I launched full tilt into two enormously demanding, challenging, and creative projects. I began teaching yoga consistently once a week. I started my blog, writing consistently once a week. (More or less.) Determined to not quit, I persevered even when my confidence waned and my enthusiasm was shaky. I find myself looking back on those early yoga classes, those early blog posts, with a blushing mixture of pride and embarrassment at their amateur quality. Because, you know, I am so sophisticated now. Beware the sophomore year. Beware the pressure to perform at a higher level. Hang on to beginner mind. I teach because I love sharing yoga and how it makes me and my students feel happy. I write because it is my way of understanding and revealing who I am in a way I have never had the guts to do before. It is not about how many students I have, how many followers I have. Process not results.
This year. What? What shall I do with this seasonal pause? The sabbatical before September. How can I stay in the present moment and enjoy every minute of this long wonderful month? I do think one can make choices about ones’ mood, or at least how one reacts. I can choose to be sad about Summer ending or I can choose to be grateful that my favorite month is here. I choose to be grateful. To live and love my life. Every moment of it. Every person in it.
It is tempting to set myself an assignment. To get through August with GOALS. I will begin to meditate! That’s it! I will meditate EVERY DAY in August. I will post something I am grateful about EVERY DAY in August. I will connect with one friend EVERY DAY in August. I will look at the moon EVERY NIGHT in August.
All worthy ideas, but the pressure to perform them makes me feel depressed. And anxious. Well, to be honest, the ideas kind of jazz me up to a manic achievement-oriented state. YES! That’s how I am going to handle August! I am going to do ALL of those things! The depression comes later. Either when I’ve done all those things and still feel sad or I haven’t done all those things and berate myself for failing. And still feel sad.
To hell with good intentions and impossible-to-achieve resolutions. Perhaps I should take a cue from the seasonal pause of nature. And let myself pause. Pause and breathe.
And maybe, just maybe, do something completely out of character, like watch Sharknado, with laughter instead of my customary derisive judgment. Laughter with my family.
August with my family. I can’t wait for it to begin.