“Now that we’re all back…” That’s a common phrase around the office these days. Summer vacations are over, and as if we were all back at school (after all, our kids are now, too), the relative quiet of summer in the office is quickly becoming a memory. This is all in complete contrast with how it feels on island this time of year, which is more like “Now that they’re (almost) all gone….”
Since I don’t work on island, my summer is when I should be taking lots of vacation, and enjoying the beach, the ocean, and all the other special things that draw people to the island. But I really, really don’t like crowds or traffic, so I put a lot of energy into avoiding them - strategizing how to get to the supermarket, when to drive down 495, how to get to the beach when it’s not a zoo, etc. In general, I put my head down, and try to survive the summer, thinking of how I will enjoy the island “as soon as” it is at its best in September. I did take one week of vacation, but spent most of it avoiding the crowds or not quite letting go of work.
So this in between, not quite islander, but not quite tourist either, finds herself finally ready to take vacation on a quieter island, when everyone else at the office is ready to gear up. I live in one world, but have the rhythms of another. I’m now challenged to find a quiet week in a busy season.
I keep remembering my fourth son’s reaction to fireworks when he was three… He was overwhelmed by all the light and noise, and buried his head in my husband’s shoulder through the entire fireworks display on the Fourth of July. After it was over, he lifted his head and started crying, saying over and over again, “I missed it!”
I think I keep remembering that because that is exactly how I feel this September – I missed it! In avoiding the negatives, I’ve lost the summer.
I’ve learned to recognize the phrase “as soon as” to be a very dangerous idea. While carpe diem may seem like a frivolous or irresponsible attitude, maybe in this case it applies. Next summer, I resolve not to “miss it” – to enjoy the summer while it is there. And for now, to enjoy the relative quiet of September.