Summer, Like Your Life, Is Ending. One Ends Today.

It’s the last full day of summer 2020, and so you know what this means. I’m going to force you to think about your death. I know, I know. This has the potential to be a total buzzkill, but you know by now that there is an uplifting, life-affirming moral to every demoralizing story I tell. Bear with me.

The changing of the seasons acts as a natural reminder that time charges forward, undaunted even in the face of a global pandemic that has blown everything else to smithereens around it. (Here is where I sheepishly share that I felt a wee bit startled in the spring when the tulip buds started to emerge, as though they too should have had stay-at-home orders from Mother Nature. “Didn’t they get the memo that things are dying?” I wondered, then snapped out of my stupor/ maybe sobered up.)

Nope, time is relentless in its passing; it stops for no one, it gives no second chances, it offers zero do-overs to do summer for real this time. At 10:31am CST (to be exact) tomorrow, summer will say sayonara. It’s shaking the sand out of its beach towels, packing up the beer koosies, battening down the hatches. Summer is submitting itself to autumn without so much as a fight to keep its leaves on the trees. It knows the fight is futile.

Regrets, Those Little Buggers

The “dammit” twingle we feel inside about summer saying “see ya” is more than just fear of frostbite on the horizon, isn’t it? It’s also a signal of mourning that we didn’t do summer justice, that we let it slip through our fingers and didn’t live our lives to their fullest while slathered in sunscreen. I feel those pangs too.

The Husband and I created the GTFO (Get the F*ck Outside) List of Things to Do for Summer 2020– Pandemic Edition* back in May when we had recently shed our puffy coats, eager to embrace what was surely going to be an enormously long summer. Fun was going to be had! Even in masks, while remaining largely antisocial! We were so young back then, so full of hope; summer held such promise of being everything winter wasn’t. We were game. And then life happened, as it’s inclined to do:

  • We got busy (“argh– no time to make gazpacho tonight”)
  • We got a little lazy (“let’s skip that drive to Michigan and just watch Columbo reruns all day”)
  • We literally acclimatized to summer (“yeah, it’s Tank Top Every Day kind of weather– so what?”)
  • Shit happened (“what? I can’t eat watermelon because it makes my stomach hurt? That’s like slapping summer in the face!”)
  • And then we took it for granted (“holy shizit­– it’s September 21st already? We only had one picnic in the park all summer, and it didn’t even count because it was Jimmy John’s and you forgot the wine.”)

So no, we didn’t nail the list. We did check several boxes (we ran 10k, in a row! And we consumed countless ice cream bars all summer long for running fuel!)– and although we might have squandered the season in possible totality without the list, there is still some wistful wondering that I could have done it differently, done it better.

Let’s not take the rest of 2020 for granted, too.

2020 has been a spectacular shit show in so very many ways. We owe it to ourselves now more than ever to live like we mean it, to not let the last three months end up passing us by and getting lumped in with The Year That Everyone Wishes Never Happened. Three glorious months are what you might be clamoring for on your eventual deathbed (like, eons away)… imagine almost dying, then being given three months to do life well? To make gazpacho? To drive along Michigan’s shoreline with the person you love? To celebrate some of the best holidays of the year?

I don’t know about you, but I’m motivated to not let the rest of this unusual year be a blur. Summer, it’s been good, but I have a Best Autumn Ever– Pandemic Edition list to write. See ya.

* We make countless lists to capture the Things We Want to DO With Our Lives, in an attempt to actually achieve some of those things (because if it’s not written down it’s just a dream without a plan.) (Among our pile of lists is a list of records we’ll buy when we get a country home with a record player one day, and yes, Fleetwood Mac is on that list.)

Jodi Wellman

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