Yeah, yeah, yeah. Summer’s officially over, now that Labor Day’s behind us. Time to turn our attention to all things pumpkin-spiced, right?.
Nope. Not for me. Here in New England, we should have another week or three — and, with any luck, one or two more beyond that, even — of summerish weather.
I love every moment of summer, but I think I might love this bit most of all. Because throughout the summer, there’s pressure: Have a great Memorial Day! Have a wonderful 4th of July! Enjoy your Labor Day weekend!
But in these waning weeks of summer, as many folks’ focus shifts forward to fall, I stay in a summery frame of mind, finding things all the more pleasurable for not feeling compelled to demonstrate to anyone, including myself, that I’m have a really good time — even though I am.
I think of it as my secret summer.
It feels even more special to me this year: In many ways, we all had to reinvent our summers, and I have to say I admire the way so many of my friends, particularly those with young children and teens, stepped up to the plate and seemed to craft really awesome experiences for themselves and their families. As I look back over the pool-less, Ocean-City-less, date-less, and so-much-more-less past three months of my life, I’m struck not by sadness or regret but by the recognition that this summer’s fun and happiness ended up all the more fun and happy for my having had to use my imagination and work a little harder to make them happen.
If COVID-19 has taught us nothing else, it’s been the value of living in the present moment. This surreal experience has delivered the most concrete and convincing evidence that living in the past is painful and futile, and living in the future is anxiety-producing and also futile. Making the most of the moment we live in, one moment at a time, is simply the only way to survive and thrive.
Still, I am acutely aware that one day soon summer, including my secret summer, will be over.
I honestly can’t bear to think about it.
So I won’t.
Stay gold, Ponyboy.