Summer Anxiety


Living in the Midwest for the first 29 years of my life has left me with an anxious feeling on Memorial Day weekend. Enduring months (usually six) of cold temperatures, freezing rain, snowstorms, ice, and howling winds; and the activities that go with them: shoveling, scraping ice off a windshield, cautious driving and wearing multiple layers of clothing makes the arrival of summer the most anticipated event of the year for me.

But with good fortune also comes a big responsibility: USE SUMMER WISELY. For in 3 short months it will be GONE.

I used spend hours thinking about what I wanted to accomplish during June, July and August. Preparations involved making lists, scheduling appointments with family and friends and brainstorming suitable outdoor locations and menus (i.e. how can I fit watermelon into this meal?). Bikes, canoes and camping gear were readied so as to get maximum enjoyment of these items without wasting any time.

I have since moved to a more temperate climate, but I still get anxious at the start of the summer season. I hate being inside on a hot, sunny day for fear that I'm "wasting" an opportunity to be outside when it's warm and light until after 8pm. The most bittersweet day for me is the Summer Soltice -- the longest day of the year. There's a sweet anticipation as the days get longer all spring and then, like opening a beautiful package, it's over. We're on our way back to cold and dark days.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy winter. In fact I most enjoy extreme weather conditions (thunderstorms, blizzards, etc.) but summer saddles me with the obligation to live up to its potential.

Ann, May 29 2005 6:46PM

Since you grew up in the midwest, was it a long time before you saw the ocean? My summer memories for as long as I can remember involve going to the beach in SC. Luckily, back then waterslides were not outlawed for whatever safety hazard they impose now.

Sandie, May 30 2005 9:56AM

I didn't see the ocean until I was 12 or 13. Our family took a 2-week vacation to California and we spent a couple of days at Balboa beach. I remember being taken aback by the sensation of salty lips after swimming. And enjoying riding the waves.

As a kid, our typical summer acitivites were fishing, swimming, waterskiing and canoeing in freshwater lakes. There's nothing like coming out of the water smelling like fish and with an occasional leech on your foot but I have great memories of summer in Minnesota. I miss the lakes immensely!