Summers growing up were, to quote Nat King Cole, lazy-hazy-crazy. Relaxing days filled with sunshine and the all-consuming joy that for three whole months, school was out. Sure, I might have a week or two of soccer camp or an art class once a week, but summers were not the time for hard work. My summer memories: Sleeping till noon. Sunbathing by the pool. Driving to the beach. Sprawling out on the warm grass at dusk listening to the hum of cicadas. Fireworks like champagne flowers blooming across the sky. Hot sweet corn and ice-cold watermelon. Reading deep into the wee hours simply because I could.
I haven’t been to school for years now. But for some reason, when the first week of June rolls around my work ethic just plummets. Rationally, I know that grown-ups don’t get summer vacation, but those three months of freedom have been so ingrained into my psyche that getting work done during the summer is truly a struggle. I try to lock myself away, to focus on my personal deadlines and goals, but I can’t quite shake the reality of beautiful weather and popsicles and bare feet waiting just outside.
That’s why I’m glad September is finally here. Sure, it’s sad to see summer end–it’s not always easy to say goodbye to beach days and tank tops and barbecues and day-drinking (oops!). But as the days begin to cool off and the breeze starts to carry the crisp tang of autumn, I breathe a small sigh of relief. Because just like the first day of June makes me feel like I’m on summer break, the first day of September makes me feel like I’m going back to school.
Yesterday I bought myself a brand new notebook and a nice pen. Today I cleared out my inbox and made myself a to-do list complete with personal goals for the autumn and winter. And tomorrow, maybe–just maybe–I’ll sit down at my computer and feel focused and motivated to get some real work done. Not the slow, tortuous slog of doing the bare minimum so I can justify going outside, but the quickening of heart and mind when I know what I want to get done and plan on enjoying the journey.
The excitement I always used to get on the first day of school, when I marched through those doors and vowed to work hard and do my best.
Productivity is, of course, a process. My creativity ebbs and flows with the seasons, with my own state of mind, and with the events happening around me. That won’t change. But sometimes knowing when to relax, and when to buckle down, is half the battle.
Do you have a summertime complex? Does September make you feel like going “back to school”? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below!