The Summer Blues

I don’t know if any of you out there have experienced what I have dubbed as The Summer Blues but it’s basically the three hottest months of the year just not turning out how you thought they would.

I have vivid memories of being a kid and having summers off, watching my mother go off to work and having absolutely no clue why she couldn’t take off the same amount of time. I remember thinking that it seemed so silly that everyone didn’t have summer vacation. It’s hot and icky out, who wants to go to work? Answer: no one. (I would probably be writing a different kind of post if I’d grown up in Europe, where traditionally many countries take off the entire month of August. Lucky ducks.)

The last time I was able to experience having three months off was in the summers between college years. Most students find jobs. I really did try. I applied for cashier positions at Bed Bath & Beyond and the like. Nada. Not one phone call. And I had retail experience and administrative experience. I was unemployable, apparently. Despite being flat broke and having nowhere to go, I made the best of it and enjoyed some lazy days off, looking forward by August for the school year to recommence. I didn’t know then how much I would later wish to have absolutely nothing to do or nowhere to be.

Despite not working from May to August, no two summers were ever the same. Some I spent at my mom’s house, visiting with my dad, some I spent staying with a then-boyfriend of mine. I don’t come from a family with a lot of money so luxurious vacations have never been a part of my life. When my brother and I were kids, we had the occasional road trip to see grandparents and my mom was able to give us a trip to Disney World once. I was around 17 and I got severely sunburned. It wasn’t pretty. Still, Disney means it when they say they provide you with some lifelong memories.

In the summer of 2003, I had a chance to do something totally different. I got to spend ten days or so in the south of France with a friend of mine from college and it was one of the best times I ever had. Lots of sun, beach, swimming, good food, laughs, French speaking, memories – no sunburns. I still have the unfinished scrapbook, waiting to be completed. I haven’t been abroad since I studied in Paris in the spring of 2004, either. I dream about traveling more, though. Visiting Seattle this year and going for almost a week was a Big Deal. I travel a lot in my mind and daydream constantly about places I’d like to visit.

In 2010, I moved out of New York City to where I am now in Illinois. Needless to say, that summer went by insanely fast because we were so busy with packing, moving, and getting settled in. This year, the summer is moving along at a brisk clip, as well, but less eventful since we’re all settled in. The things I look forward to most are having people come visit and enjoying two whole days off in a row (read: weekends) with Kevin, without one of us worrying about work/school/obligations. Once the school year starts up for him, the task of occupying myself falls to my feet once again.

This particular summer feels more “bluesy” to me because we’re in this odd transitional-yet-static place in life. We’re not planning a wedding, we’re not saving up to buy a house, we’re definitely not family planning (hell to the no).  It’s just insanely hot outside and I still have to go to work everyday. My best friend Helen always likes to say, “I survived childhood for this?” Haha. That’s a little dramatic but you get what I’m saying.

Oh, have I waded into the Pity Party for One at the end of the pool? I’m not trying to say life is bad or anything like that. For the most part, all is well. In this moment in time, there is stasis, and there is something to be said for that. But it will be short-lived and we’ll be moving towards the next goal, the next occurrence, the next thing, (the holidays? God…) really soon. I’m looking forward to autumn for many reasons – the weather, mostly – but also trying to slow down and enjoy each day for what it is without getting too impatient.

This is the first calendar year since 2001 that I haven’t moved. (I consider each move-in and move-out of college a move. Holy cow that was a lot of stuff.) And moving, as we all know, is a bitch. I moved so many times in New York City that I don’t think my brain has fully processed that in the year 2011, we’re not switching residences. Weird, but nice.

Just one more month left before it’s Labor Day, Back to School, football season, and the colors change. We’ll all be restocking on our cinnamon scented candles in no time. Well what do you know – I just cheered myself up.


  1. I know what you mean. I think any time that there’s pressure – “This is going to be SO GREAT!!!” and then when you get there and it’s not quite right you almost feel guilty, if that makes sense.

  2. I HATE MOVING! glad to hear that you don’t have to this year.

  3. Oh how jealous I am of your non-moving year, lol. Great post!

  4. I hear you on the ‘summer time blues’, where has our summer gone anyway? aye carrumba! Time only goes faster when you get older (lol).

  5. Alan King says:

    This summer is my busiest. First off, I had to prep for, and then fly out to Maine, for the summer residency of the Stonecoast MFA program for ten days of workshops, and then come back here for a month before I jump into the semester work. (I blogged about the residency in six posts).

    Secondly, my fiancee and I are planning a wedding for next summer. We got all the big things out the way. Now, it’s just the little things. She’s freaking out about the bridesmaids dresses and the flowers (which she decided to do on her own, convinced it’s crazy to pay someone else thousands of dollars to do them). Last night, in the midst of freaking out, she watched me sit at the laptop, laughing at one blog that cracked me up, and then serious with another.

    I guess the sight of my calm in the midst of her panic told her it wasn’t fair. She accused me of being too efficient. In the past, as well as now, we’d get into it about “tit for tat”. “No tit for tat,” she’d say, when I was only making an observation of the obvious contradictions in what she says and does. “It’s not nice,” she’d add. But here she was doing exactly what she said is “not nice.”

    But what was nice was the weather. Prior to last night, that’s been the source of my summer blues. While in Maine, I don’t think it ever got over 73 degrees Fahrenheit. I enjoyed the break from the 100-something-plus in DC.

    When I came back into it, the blues started where they left off. Thanks for this post, Zoe!

    • Thanks, Alan! I’m glad you guys only have little things to worry about, though bridesmaid dresses sound like a “big” thing to me. But I haven’t planned a wedding ever (someday?) haha. I hear you about the weather. I’m so over 100 degrees. Seattle was in the 60s when I was there, it was awesome. Let’s hear it for getting over the summer blues!

  6. Wonderful post! I feel the same way about summer – it makes me want to stay inside and hide in the A/C, but then I continue to be depressed because I feel as though I’m stuck in some sort of cave. It’s a lose-lose situation. BUT! I cheat, with a cinnamon-scented candle in the middle of August. It tricks my mind into thinking it’s already autumn. 🙂

    • Haha, I totally know what you mean Nicole! I cheat too by watching holiday movies in summer or like you, lighting a candle that inspires autumnal scents. I’m glad I’m not the only one!

  7. I still enjoy it and take every moment I get – even with the heat and humidity. I used to long for it as a kid and now it goes by SO fast. Summer break used to seem SO long. My friend was just saying to me “just think, in a few more weeks, we’ll be….” and I cut her off abruptly, as we were talking about the temperatures heating up this week. I knew what she was going to say. FALL! NO!!!!!!! It’s her favorite season. I love the spring, over fall, but summer by FAR is my favorite month. And it’s going by WAY. TOO. QUICKLY! BOOOOOO!!!

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